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93pt Thistledown Thorny Devil Old Vine Grenache 2015

£17.50 £14.45
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Australia's Barossa may be famous for rich, powerful wines but a new wave of producer is proving that there is more than one string to the Barossa bow!

Aiming for elegance and purity, whilst still respecting the wonderful concentration and power that the Barossa brings, they are using the region's unique heritage of extremely old vineyards to great effect.

Chief amongst this new wave are the wines of Thistledown, made by British duo Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan, who met on the notoriously challenging Master of Wine course.

Joined by a love of Australia and in particular, Grenache, they make small batches of great wines using pristine fruit sourced from iconic vineyard sites.

Their 2015 Thorny Devil is a Barossa wine made a grenache vineyard on the edge of Tanunda that is reputed to be over 100 years old!

Dry-grown and meticulously managed, the site yields prime fruit that Thistledown turn into a wine with a healthy dose of Barossa punch, but is nonetheless elegant and vibrant with ripe, juicy summer berry fruits, notes of spice and a velvety-smooth texture. 

At just £14.45, it is quite unbelievable value and a great introduction to the new style of Barossa wine!

About the wine

Packed with benchmark Barossa punch, this delicately hued red is full of vibrant plum and wild strawberry fruit on the nose that follows through onto the palate. An alluring, silky texture, good power and concentration, combines with fantastically pure fruit to create a beautifully elegant wine with a balance that is reminiscent of great pinot noir. With fine tannins, touches of spice and a savoury note to the long finish, this is a hymn to the fantastic fruit that old Barossa vines can produce!

Giles and Fergal have always made it clear that their aim is to maximise fruit purity, texture, and finesse rather than making “a.n other rich red wine”. The Thistledown team have always had a vision of making wines with the purity of the best pinot noir, but using the best of old vine grenache.

For Thorny Devil, the grapes were gently crushed, to retain as many whole berries as possible before a cold soak prior to a natural fermentation. The wine was gently pressed off skins before being aged for ten months in old oak hogsheads.

Winemaker: Giles Cooke, Fergal Tynan & Peter Leske
Appellation: Barossa Valley, Australia

- 93pts, James Halliday
- 93pts, Wine Front
- 3.9/5 Stars, Vivino Rating

Grapes100% Grenache
Vineyard: Various
Cooperage: 10 months in oak

About the winery

Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW met over a beer, on the eve of the first year of their Master of Wine studies. They say there was a certain inevitability that they would, one day, make wine together. 

From a base in the Adelaide Hills the duo, along with Peter Leske, make wine from pristine fruit sourced from iconic vineyard sites across Australia. 

In their own words, they love, “hand-making delicious, joyful wines – all sourced from amazing vineyard sites… It’s no secret that our real love is grenache!” 

About the vineyard

In 2015 the fruit for Thorny Devil came from a vineyard on the edge of the Tanunda. Estimated to be over 100 years old, this historic vineyard was dry grown and has been lovingly tended for all that time.


93 points - James Halliday
“The mid-palate bursts with raspberried sweetness, pure and exuberant. Outriders of earth, crushed dry spices and liquorice add both complexity and breadth. In the end it cuts a fine figure.”


93 points - Wine Front
“I can’t recall where the old vine single vineyard is, but let’s just assume it’s somewhere nice. Spice with a distinct top note of shrubbery and stalk, some floral notes, juicy cherry and raspberry flavour. Medium bodied, attractive grainy tannins and balanced acidity keeps it all trim, and the finish is firm, long and punctuated with a pleasant twist of stalkiness. Certainly has some of that pinot noir of the Barossa about it, which is nice.”


90 points - Wine Spectator
 “An elegant, juicy mix of raspberry, cherry and pomegranate flavours that are pure and bright, with details of fresh earth, pepper, citrus peel and spice.”


"Great and versatile red. Depth and great fruit flavour"  4/5 Stars

"I'd usually associate Barossa with full bodied overpowering reds but this Grenache is quite the opposite. Star quality of this wine is the superb structure and complexity. Beguiling texture with a mineral purity and freshness - nothing clumsy about this wine. Pleasantly perfumed nose of dark fruits and spices. Medium tannins medium acidity. Rhône Grenache with a dollop of Australian terroir.4/5 Stars


Other Details

Power & Elegance! New wave Barossa red "pure and exuberant"
New wave, old vines! Fantastic value Barossa red from Thistledown
2018-07-15 23:59:59
#review=James Halliday:
#review=Wine Front:
#stars_review=Vivino Rating:
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