There are those rare wineries that when you visit, there is an indescribable, yet palpable feeling that you are somewhere great. People who make wine that effortlessly tells you what it has to tell you. For me, there have been only a couple wineries on this trip that have had that comfortable confidence and air of next-level-ness. Bindi was one we were fortunate to even get past the gate, and we owe that foot in the door to Mark Davidson’s relationship with the owner/winemaker Michael Dhillon. Bindi doesn’t have a tasting room and, in fact, when you pull on to the property, you’ll find yourself at the house of Michael’s father, who owns the land. The small plot of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, on their own rootstocks and now farmed organically, were first planted in the late 80s. The winery produces an average of only 3000 cases per year (within the smallest of producers we’ve seen on this trip) – not nearly enough to meet demand. For anyone who sees Australia as hot beaches and arid outback, standing on the crest of the Bindi property with chunks of quartz at your feet, you’ll have little doubt that you are in a true cool climate region. The day we were there, we saw breaks of sun and later froze from gusts of wind and patches of pouring icy rain.
Quartz in the vineyard
Michael Dhillon reminded me of a Burgundian vigneron from a lineage of vignerons. He was soft spoken, engaging, contemplative, and humble. He had the hands of a farmer. While Bindi really isn’t organized for visitors (for obvious reasons), Michael and Wendy were warm hosts. Wendy had set her alarm for five forty-five that morning so she could begin slow cooking the lamb shoulder eight hours before our lunch. Accompanying were fresh and simply cooked vegetables with a Mediterranean feel and it was all spread down a long table temporarily assembled on the winery floor.
Michael’s wines are charming, elegant, perfumed, subtle and complete. The minerality and freshness will astonish you and, as we found out, they age incredibly well. They aren’t inexpensive wines, yet they achieve a level that isn’t ‘great for Australia’ but great period. I could keep going on, but my point is: if you encounter wines from Bindi somewhere in your travels, buy them.
‘Composition’ 2010 Chardonnay – we also tasted the 2005 which was unbelievably youthful and singing.
“Quartz’ 2010 Chardonnay and also the 2008.
‘Original Vineyard’ 2010, ‘Block 5′ 2010, and ‘Block 5′ 2006 Pinot Noirs.
‘Original Vineyard’ 2000 and ‘Block 5′ 1998 Pinot Noirs