Winery to Watch 2016

Australia: Thistledown/One Chain

Trott Blewitt Springs old vine Grenache

Giles Cook and Fergal Tynan met 16 years ago at a bar while studying for their Master of Wine exams. Then they met again as MWs, when Cook, of Alliance Wines, and Peter Leske of Revenir, were working on a project to make house wines for high-end restaurants. Tynan joined Alliance, and the three started making One Chain (now about 8,000 cases), then added Thistledown as their top selections (about 2,000 cases). “The three of us have differing opinions about most things in life,” Tynan says. “The only thing we agree on is wine—the old wines of Maurice O’Shea, or Wendouree, those are the bottles we used to gather and drink.” They set out to make wines that emulate those classics, searching out old vines, ungrafted and unirrigated, focused on Barossa and Eden Valley south to McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. In addition to a delicious $17 Shiraz from One Chain, the wine that caught our attention was the 2013 Thorny Devil Grenache. Fermented as mostly whole berries without added yeast, then aged in old oak barrels, it’s the kind of fresh, powerfully structured red that defines what’s great about Barossa.