From a single vineyard in the Clarendon sub-region of McLaren Vale comes Thistledown Wines Charming Man Grenache. It is named for vigneron Bernard Smart (the ‘charming man’ in question) who has long tended the vineyard from which this muscular yet elegant wine comes.
Fruit is handpicked, with 20% retained in whole bunches. It is wild fermented and hand plunged twice daily, then pressed to hogsheads of which 25% are new. The result is a Grenache vibrant with red berry fruits (cherries, raspberries), spice, and a lick of vanilla, with a savoury and saline element and surprising freshness. Mid-bodied, refreshing.
This is sourced from the Smart Vineyard, up on the ridge at Clarendon and has a very singular, powerful expression of raspberry and red-plum aromas, as well as some bracken and forest-wood notes. Very pure. The palate has a succulent feel with acidity that enlivens the rich, powerful, red-berry flavors. The tannins round the flanks, providing a crescendo feel to the long, fresh and upbeat finish.
97 points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2020)
Top 100 Wines of Australia 2020, JamesSuckling.com
Sourced from a high-canopied plot of 100 year bush vines, deep rooted and sturdy. Hand harvested, fermented wild and plunged regularly in an open-top vessel, with 20% whole bunches. Pressed off to 300L oak (25% new). The result, more muscular than its svelte Blewitt sibling. The fruit, warmer: kirsch, Seville orange, tangerine and black cherry. Lilac lift. More overt and impactful. Mineral force, over sandy detail. But it makes me no less happy!
96 points, (January 2020)
How’s the purity? Crisp and clear red fruit, mint and liquorice root perfume, a dusting of exotic spice. It’s light and fresh, rings like a well struck triangle, fine emery board tannin, cool and calm, vanilla and juicy raspberry on a long and precise finish. Fine wine, no doubt.
95 points, The Wine Front (May 2020)