BINDI WINE GROWERS

Macedon Ranges

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The Australian wine world, unlike most of Europe, is based upon regional blends as wines. In the past ten to twenty years, a few remarkable individuals started the trend of making individualistic wines from specific sites. Such examples are Henschke's Hill of Grace Shiraz in the Eden Valley, Jasper Hill's Emily's Paddock in Heathcote and the Wendouree wines of the Clare Valley. These are wines that come from a certain site, terroir driven wines made by terroirists.

Michael Dhillon from Bindi wines is also an example of how well certain varieties can be grown on sites which happen to be perfectly suited for those varieties. In the case of Bindi, the varietals are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The Bindi winery was established near the town of Gisbourne in 1988 by Michael's father Bill Dhillon. The name Bindi came from the meaning of the word which is the ornamental dot worn on the foreheads of women in India, Bill Dhillon's native home. The cool climate of the region made it clear to the Dhillons that the only thing that could possibly ripen on their property would be Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The first vines planted were Pinot Noir and the wine from these vines is now called "Original Vineyard" Pinot Noir. In 2005, the Original Vineyard Pinot Noir was acknowledged in the Langton's  Classification of Australian Wines. The vineyard is made up of quartz with a thin layer of volcanic topsoil that makes these wines instantly recognizable.

Bindi's original winemaker was Stuart Anderson, the man responsible for much of the resurgence in the area, who planted the Balgownie Vineyard in 1969. Michael Dhillon served as assistant winemaker until 1998 when he took over the reins. Michael learned his craft working vintages in Europe, where he spent time with the Champagne house of Jean Vesselle in Bouzy, with Allain Graillot in Croze-Hermitage and in Tuscany at Tenuta di Valgiano. He also did a stint in Amador Country with Shenadoah Vineyards.

There are five wines in the Bindi portfolio, and a Shiraz produced from purchased fruit from the neighboring Heathcote region. There are two Chardonnays, one called 'Kostas Rind', the other "Quartz Vineyard." The Quartz Vineyard Chardonnay is from a small specific part of the vineyard that has the highest concentration of Quartz in it and is consistently superb every year, displaying racy acidity and an almost nervousness to it that needs a few years to soften out.

There are three Pinot Noirs, the first being the 'Dixon' Pinot Noir, which is comprised mostly of juice from the newest block, called the K Block. In time, Michael feels that this block may yield the best fruit on the estate. In the meantime, it is blended with juice that does not make the cut for the other two pinots to make a wine representative of the entirety of the Bindi estate. The other two wines are named for the blocks: "Original Vineyard" and the "Block 5" vineyard. Each vineyard yields two entirely different wines. The "Original Vineyard" is more about perfume and soft fruit, whereas the "Block 5" Pinot is usually a bit more dense and structured.

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