Bindi Chardonnay “Quartz” 2006

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I’ve been looking for this wine for nearly half a decade. It is not easy to find in North America as most of it is purchased by avid collectors in Australia. Bindi is one of Australia’s top producers and its Quartz Chardonnay is considered one of the very best in the country.

Enough “Burgundian”

The classic superlative for new world Chardonnays is “Burgundian”. But I think this misses the point. Great wine should not remind you of somewhere else, but be entirely distinctive. I also imagine that this complement is made mostly by those who throw the word around easily without thinking deeply about the distinctions between Burgundy and elsewhere (and even within Burgundy itself). Which is why this wine is so grand. It is not Burgundian. It is Australian (or, more precisely, Victorian), in a manner distinct from any Chardonnay I’ve had from Europe.

From the Hottest to the Coolest

Bindi is located in the Macedon Ranges in the Australian province of Victoria, and is not too far away from Melbourne. The Macedon Ranges are a unique region, having the coolest climate of any Australian region and sparse soils composed of granitic sandy loam. The special block from which this extremely rare Chardonnay is made holds a high concentration of quartz – hence the wine’s name.

Bindi was founded in the 1980’s by Bill Dhillon, who emigrated from India in 1958 (the winery is named after the ornamental dot on Indian women’s foreheads), and in a testament to his personality and sense of respect, who put one of his grammar school teacher’s portrait on the wine label. His son Michael Dhillon now runs the place.

The vines for the Quartz Chardonnay were planted in 1988 in what is now known as the “Original Vineyard”. This is an indigenous yeast only operation that eschews enzyme additions, fining and filtering. Bindi is now also moving towards biodynamic farming.

The Wine

This is a Chardonnay of place. It is singular. A big, rich wine that is driven by minerals rather than fruit. This unusual potency underlies further contrasts – tartness with chalky dry extract against ease and purity. A remarkable achievement in Chardonnay and further proof to me that Chardonnay is, when great, a terroir grape, not a cellar grape.

Excellent+
~$60 USD

Comments

  1. Edward
    February 17, 2013

    Shea,

    I’m always impressed by the wines you manage to locate and track down. This one must have been hard to come by. Even in Australia it’s not easy to find. Bill Dhillon passed away a few weeks ago, it’s often the singular and driven who leave behind something wonderful. . .

    Cheers,

    Edward

  2. Shea
    February 17, 2013

    That’s sad to hear about Dhillon.

    It was a challenge to find this, and I was pretty shocked to see it when I did. Though relentless dedication and much traveling can lead to exciting discoveries. Given the uniqueness of this wine I’m very glad I went through the effort.

  3. Henry
    February 20, 2013

    Hi Shea,
    Remarkable find..was it intentional to omit exactly where you found it? Certainly on my wish list for Australian wines. Now if only you could find the 2008 Block 5 Pinot Noir…and tell us where! Great point about always having the need to compare to Burgundy.
    Henry

  4. Shea
    February 21, 2013

    Henry,

    I didn’t include where because there isn’t any left. I got it from Garagiste.

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