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Bindi Winegrowers

bindi-sign.jpgIn my opinion, one of the very best Australian producers - large or small - and one committed to absolute quality. Pristine, pure and complex Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are undeniably of world-class standard, and amongst the most age-worthy outside of Burgundy. Fine, elegant and fragrant Pinot Noir, almost ethereal in its styling and mineral-driven, complex, fresh and very fine Chardonnay of the highest, and most satisfying quality.

Although the Dhillon’s property is 170 hectares, a mere six are planted to grapes - approximately four hectares of Pinot Noir and two hectares of Chardonnay.  Initial plantings were in 1988 (just over two hectares of Chardonnay, P58 and 8129 clones), along with two hectares of Pinot Noir, predominatly MV6 clone but also a portion of ‘Maria Feldt’ clone, planted for its suitability for sparkling wine production. It is from these original MV6 plantings that the ‘Original Vineyard’ Pinot Noir comes.

bindi-vines.jpgIn 1992 ‘Block Five’ was planted, entirely to MV6 Pinot Noir, adjoining and uphill to the original plantings (next to the ‘Quartz Block’ Chardonnay). This is less than a half a hectare (1.4 acres). Final plantings occurred in 2001, when ‘Block K’, slightly further uphill, with around four acres (1.5 hectares) of Pinot Noir - MV6 as well as 114 and 115 - ‘Pommard clones’. At present ‘Block K’, along with the 1988 ‘Maria Feldt’ plantings comprise the ‘Composition’ Pinot Noir (along with any ‘declassified’ wine from the other two Pinot Noirs). Since 2009 the 'Block K' has been bottled separately and release is planned once it's had several years in bottle - probably 2014 for the debut release.

The vines are now grown following organic and biodynamic principles, yet Michael refuses to claim Bindi is ‘bio’. Although it’s six years since any systemic treatments were utilised, and preparations 500 and 501 are produced and applied, he feels it both premature as well as convenient to presumptive to consider Bindi a bastion of biodynamicism. This speaks volumes as to the integrity of the man, and the vineyard, to me.

It is worth noting the dramatic change in annual rainfall at Bindi in less than 20 years. Total precipitation has fallen from more than 700mm to around 400 to 500mm each year now. Frost fans are about to be installed, as the sprinkler systems can no longer be employed due to lack of water.

The vines are hand-pruned, grapes hand-harvested, and grown unirrigated each season.

bindi-barrels-with-michael.jpgSimplicity is the key to winemaking at Bindi. The grapes are harvested and brought to the winery within a short time to be processed. The Chardonnay is crushed and pressed and fermented in stainless steel vats prior to barrel ageing. The Pinot Noirs presently get approximately 5% whole bunches in the fermentation.  Oak influence is relatively minimal - the Chardonnays see an average of 25% new oak, whereas the ‘Composition’ Pinot Noir gets 20% new oak, the ‘Original Vineyard’ 25% and ‘Block Five’ about 40% new oak. The differences between different barrels (both cooperage as well as age) are quite profound, and it is difficult to ascertain a preference for any particular style or combination - a case of the sum being greater than the parts.

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