Tag: Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir

May 05 2012

Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir: A Profound Expression of a Very Special Terroir

Posted on May 05, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In his review of the Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir 2010 The Wine Front’s Mike Bennie sets the scene: “One of those holy grail sites in the Australian wine landscape – half of one hectare, quartz riddled, sits the right way for sun, angels sing, dogs howl, a single dove rests with the weight of a feather, precariously on a vine, as a rainbow arcs across the sky and a unicorn appears. That kind of thing.” (The Wine Front, 13 September 2011)

Bennie’s description of Bindi’s Block 5 vineyard in the Macedon ranges reminded me of that famous photo of Burgundy’s Romanée-Conti vineyard with the old stone Cross on the vineyard wall. The Romanée-Conti vineyard originally belonged to the Abbey of Saint Vivant, and the medieval monks approached their vineyard lands as almost hallowed ground, believing each individual vineyard site was a unique expression of God’s handiwork.

Oh, the romance and mystique of the single vineyard! Bindi’s Block 5 is up there with Henschke’s Hill of Grace as one of Australia’s most famous vineyard sites. And just as the wine from Romanée-Conti vineyard is different in character from its neighbour across the road, La Tâche, according to Bindi’s winemaker Michael Dhillon, the wine from Block 5 is “always darker in fruit expression and immediately more spicy and earthy than [Bindi’s] Original Vineyard. It is less immediately perfumed and has more tannin and fruit power. The wines from this vineyard require more bottle ageing to develop the same suppleness and delicacy as the Original Vineyard but even in their youth these wines are more profound.” Yes, the analogy to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti does indeed seem apt.

In her review of the 2009 vintage of Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir, Jancis Robinson remarked that “you’d be thrilled by this … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

Cellaring Australian Pinot Noir: How long do they last?

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When I was researching my previous post on Australian pinot noir, Australian Pinot Noir: Coming into Its Own, I came across a list by Andrew Graham of the Australia Wine Journal entitled Australia’s 10 most ageworthy Pinot Noirs.

The list caused quite a bit of commentary and debate, and I have reprinted Graham’s recommendations here: Mount Mary Pinot Noir, Yarra Yering Pinot Noir, Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir, By Farr Sangreal Pinot Noir, Ashton Hills Reserve Pinot Noir, Bass Phillip Estate Pinot Noir, Domaine A Pinot Noir, Stonier Reserve Pinot Noir, Kooyong Ferrous Pinot Noir and Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir. You can read Graham’s very insightful comments for why each of the wines were chosen on his blog.

Graham defines ageworthy “as the ability to mature, and indeed improve, with cellaring times for 8 years plus.” Like many of the readers who responded to his post, I wouldn’t necessarily think of ageing Australian pinot noir for so long. One reader commented: “I suspect most people drink them too young and miss out on the aged versions. What do most folk think about optimal age for decent Pinot Noir? I’d say 5-10y which is medium term vs Shiraz / Cab Sav.”

I was curious what an esteemed, if sometimes controversial, wine critic thinks about the longevity of pinot noir. Here’s Robert Parker’s 1995 assessment of the ageability of American pinot noir: “Most American Pinot Noirs should be consumed within their first 5-7 years of life. As most Burgundy collectors sadly acknowledge (provided they can honestly accept the distressing reality), once beyond the wines of Domaine Leroy, Domain Ponsot, and ten or so others, great red burgundy is also a wine to drink young.” (Robert Parker, American Pinot Comes of Age, Wine … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

The Macedon Ranges: Small in Quantity but Big in Quality!

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Some friends of ours recently gave us a bottle of the superb Bindi Pyrette Heathcote Shiraz 2009. According to James Halliday “only a skilled pinot maker [ie. Michael Dhillon] could induce Heathcote to provide such an elegant shiraz.” (James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2011)

Indeed! Along with Curly Flat, Bindi is one of the icons of Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, the coolest wine region on Australia’s mainland. These two wineries have established the Macedon Ranges as one of the best sources in the country for pinot noir and chardonnay. The intensely aromatic yet elegant Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir is rated as “Outstanding” in Langton’s 2010 Classification of Australian Wine V, and the Curly Flat Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are both critically acclaimed, regularly featuring on the wine lists of Sydney’s and Melbourne’s very best restaurants.

The Macedon Ranges, the highest and coolest of the five wine regions surrounding Melbourne, is home to mountains and forests alternating with open, windswept slopes. It’s an unforgiving place where exact site selection is critical. The best sites are north facing to catch the last rays of autumn sunlight and are protected from the worst of the wind and the spring frosts. The well-draining, quartz riddled, grey sandy loam soil that overlays a clay base is ideal for varieties like chardonnay and pinot noir, which perform best when their roots are forced to dig deep to survive.  In most years moderate rainfall typically guarantees a long growing season but also naturally keep yields low. Consequently, most of the 40 or so vineyards in the region are small, family-run businesses.

Granite Hills and Hanging Rock Winery, two of the oldest wineries in the region, have also highlighted the region’s potential for sparkling wines. John Ellis, who founded Hanging Rock in 1982 with his … Read the rest