Place of Changing Winds Heathcote Syrah 2019
SPECIAL BUY 6 or more. Rhone-like, bright, elegant and supple.
WINNER: Best New Winery of the Year – 2022 Halliday Wine Companion
“Place of Changing Winds – the place and the vineyard – may well be the most exciting ‘new’ development in Australian wine. It will jump straight on to elite lists of Australian wine producers. You could describe this endeavour in one word: uncompromised.” Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront
Place of Changing Winds is the vineyard project of Bibendum’s founder and owner Robert Walters. It is a single site in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria where Walters and his team began planting in 2012. The POCW site is very close to Bindi and lies on the same geological belt with a proven track record for quality Pinot and Chardonnay. The vineyard is in a little hamlet called Bullengarook, between Mount Bullengarook and Mount Macedon, about one-hour north-west of Melbourne.
To understand how to establish and manage this kind of vineyard took a lot of research and has been the result of some 25 years of engagement with the best European growers. By the time the project was established, Rob, with his viticulturist and friend Tim Brown had visited Europe together five times, in order to meet with many of the most inspirational growers Rob knows, and finalising the planning of the vineyard.
Place of Changing Winds is a super-high density, organic certified, no-compromise vineyard, focused exclusively on producing the highest quality wines with the maximum expression of their quartz and sandstone riddled soils.
The vineyard lies in an area that was called Warekilla by the original inhabitants, the Wurundjeri people. In their language, Warekilla meant “Place of Changing Winds” – a characteristic of the site that still holds true today.
In addition to the vines they grow themselves, they also produce some Syrah and Marsanne from vines further north of their base, in the warmer and dryer climates of Heathcote, and, from 2021, Mount Alexander in Harcourt North. Both these sites are superb places to grow Rhone varietals, and in both cases they work very closely with the vineyard owner, who works to their organic specifications -they choose the harvest dates and all picking is done by hand.
The soils here are the famous ‘Cambrian soils’—red dirt made up of eroded basalt over limestone, shot through with greenstone and jasper. The wines were grown organically, without any chemical inputs, and with minimal irrigation.
2019 was a warm, dry and fast-ripening vintage. It was a relatively easy year where the only critical decision for the team was getting the picking date right. The ferments were full of energy and flew through without incident. The Syrah was fermented naturally with varying levels of crushing and time on skins, including some full carbonic. The logic was to use whole berry and whole bunch fermentation to bring perfume and finesse to the natural power of Heathcote. Fermentation was in stainless and concrete tank and the aging was mostly in large, neutral oak (Stockinger), and some older barriques (from a range of coopers).
The wine speaks for itself–it’s bright and juicy with good depth and excellent freshness. Jamie Goode’s note captures it well enough. Unfined and unfiltered, and SO2 was kept to a minimum.
93 points, Jane Faulkner for 2022 Halliday Australian Wine Companion “Robert Walters had been making this wine for nearly a decade under the Graillot label. In 2010, he collaborated with Crozes-Hermitage growers, father and son Alain and Maxime Graillot, to produce Heathcote syrah. Walters imports their wines, in turn, the Graillots’ distribution arm now imports Place of Changing Winds into Europe. Today, they are no longer directly involved but Walters continues with the wine under his label. 100% whole bunches, some carbonic maceration, fermentation in stainless steel, concrete tank and aged mostly in large Stockinger casks and used barriques. This feels great. The fuller-bodied palate is glossy and smooth, threaded with ripe, polished tannins. A melody of dark fruit with woodsy spices and some green (albeit ripe) whole-bunch flavours, but its tune is savoury and complexity its riff.”
94 points, Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak “This wine is a product of a long running collab with Alain and Maxime Graillot, initially made by Luke Lambert, and is where Rob Walters began his wine producing journey. Today it’s the team at Place of Changing Winds who make the wine. There’s an amazing elegance to the palate, which is soft and smooth, without being jammy. It’s a ripe, luxurious wine showing great promise, with a hint of meat and pepper savouriness alongside the ripe fruit. There’s a sleek ripe side to the wine but also some good definition and focus. Very fine, doing a really difficult job of balancing ripeness and freshness really well.”
94+ points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front “It’s an incredibly fresh wine, both in style and in presentation. It’s juicy and refreshing, and for that alone it feels very different to the Heathcote norm. Intricate, lacy, fine-grained, grapey; all these words apply. Cherry, plum, sultana and boysenberry are all evident, as is earth, sweet spice, tobacco, meat and stem. It’s a wine with many positive but its best aspect is its finish, which curls out like smoke rising from an intensely defined source. We’re in good days now but better days yet are ahead. This is an elegant, intricate, filigreed delight.”
93 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review “Deep purple/red brilliant colour, with a powerfully spicy bouquet that recalls pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and red and blue berry fruits beneath. The wine is elegantly framed and medium to full-bodied, with supple, balanced tannins and easy accessibility despite its youth. Plum stones on the finish. A shiraz in a more Rhône-like, un-Australian cast. It’s different–and appealingly so. “
RRP $46 **Our Special Price when you buy 6 or more of this wine $35.99**
Place of Changing Winds
|Region or Country||
Australia, Heathcote, Victoria
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