Place of Changing Winds

“…Dreams and Best Practice…” [Bennie] - The Place of Changing Winds Estate and Tradition Wines
Place of Changing Winds

Today, we are delighted to present our offer of the limited Place of Changing Winds Estate and Tradition wines from the exceptional 2022 harvest. As the notes from James Halliday, Mike Bennie, Erin Larkin, Huon Hooke, and Campbell Mattinson hopefully make clear, there is some fabulous quality on offer. The quantities remain very small, but the quality is outstanding.

 

The vintage: The 2022 season demanded a huge amount of work from the POCW vineyard team. The long, slow ripening season was the second of three consecutive La Niña vintages, and harvest was even later than 2021, beginning in the third week of April (so, very late!). In the end, thanks to meticulous canopy management, very low yields and a few warm days at the very end of the season, the Place of Changing Winds team harvested a small crop of perfectly clean, ripe fruit.

 

The bunches were once again very small (average 46 grams—tiny!), and each parcel was picked separately as each arrived at maturity. In the end, 7.2 tonnes of Pinot and 2.2 tonnes of Chardonnay were harvested—at an average of just over 200 grams of fruit per vine. To give that very low number some context, when you convert these yields to hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha), you arrive at a figure of less than 20hl/ha—roughly half the quantity permitted in Burgundy’s Grand Cru vineyards.

 

The wines: In 2022, Place of Changing Winds made Larderdark Chardonnay and Between Two Mountains Pinot Noir. There is no High Density this year, nor will there be one from 2023. This is because the estate’s highest-density vines are always the last to ripen, and in the cool, late seasons of ’22 and ’23, the fruit from these vines did not reach the point where they justified a separate cuvée. The fruit, therefore, went into the Between Two Mountains blend. Remember, however, that all the vines at Place of Changing Winds are high density!

 

The Pinot Noir has wonderful finesse and perfume, while the Chardonnay is a powerful yet racy wine with a lot of character. Both are the product of the place, a no-compromise approach in the vines and cellar and, of course, the long 2022 season. This release also sees the return of the Tradition label. This includes the first release of the Tradition red since 2019 and the first ever white Tradition. These wines are released only in suitable years and blend estate and grower fruit. They represent fine value and are wonderful wines at the table. Both are superb.

The Wines

Place of Changing Winds Tradition White 2022
Added

Place of Changing Winds Tradition White 2022

This year, the POCW team decided to see if a blend of the three white grapes they have in the cellar might work as well as the Tradition red. They were blown away by the result, and so were we. This is one-third Chardonnay from a new Dominique Laurent Tronçais cask and two-thirds Marsanne and Roussanne. It has all the generosity of this producer’s Marsanne/Roussanne with the cut and thrust of the Chardonnay (not to mention some seriously classy oak). The first year of aging was in a mixture of 500-litre cask, Wineglobes and neutral barriques. The wine spent its second year in steel. It was bottled at the end of November 2023. 

“I tasted this at the work table and I also had a couple glasses with dinner, so it passed the initial do-I-want-to-take-this-home test. The texture is beautiful, the body too, it brings flavour and a level of panache. Almost anything with roussanne in it has me at hello and then there’s chardonnay, the charms of which precede it, so to speak. This is my kind of white wine, unafraid of flavour, unafraid of fullness, sparked with spice, slippery with sweet, integrated oak, the flesh of yellow stonefruit laid on. For all the time I spent with it, I kept wanting the finish to extend out a fraction further, and for there to be a fraction less warmth. An extra year or two in bottle will likely deal with the former, and possibly the latter too. Either way, it’s a classy white wine.”
93+ points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
“Mid-light yellow colour, forward for its age, but the bouquet confirms that it's been wood aged and this has also added smoky charcuterie, spices and honey to result in a complex nose. The palate picks up the thread and delivers a rich full-bodied mouthful with roundness and viscosity, well judged phenolics contributing to the structure and texture, the finish rolling long and satisfying. This is a smashing Rhône-style dry white of great character and texture.”
95 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
“So the wine is two thirds a marsanne and roussanne blend and the rest a considered portion of chardonnay. Fancy oak, as is often the way of POCW, is also applied. I loved this from hello. Texture, weight, a slice of fresh cut, just ripe stone fruit acidity, a fuzz to the overall feel with some dollops of nougat amongst it all. Fragrant, full flavoured yet refreshing, a saline trill that speaks of minerality. It’s a cuddly wine with enough zestiness to refresh with each sip. Delicious drinking ensues.”
94 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
"The 2022 Tradition comprises Marsanne and Chardonnay from Harcourt, Macedon Ranges. It's gently golden in the glass, and aromatically, it leads with pineapple and white rose, cumin, star anise, aniseed and curry leaf, with custard powder and sea salt. It is rich and undulating and sort of caresses the palate rather than sits atop it. The acidity regulates the density of the fruit and balances the opulent (almost fat!) capaciousness of the wine. It's intriguing and great and feels very much as if it would go down a treat at a summer seaside venue. Excellent. I like it more and more as it opens up in the glass. 14% alcohol, sealed under Diam."
94 points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
Place of Changing Winds Tradition White 2022
Added
Place of Changing Winds Tradition White 2022 (1500ml)
Added

Place of Changing Winds Tradition White 2022 (1500ml)

This year, the POCW team decided to see if a blend of the three white grapes they have in the cellar might work as well as the Tradition red. They were blown away by the result, and so were we. This is one-third Chardonnay from a new Dominique Laurent Tronçais cask and two-thirds Marsanne and Roussanne. It has all the generosity of this producer’s Marsanne/Roussanne with the cut and thrust of the Chardonnay (not to mention some seriously classy oak). The first year of aging was in a mixture of 500-litre cask, Wineglobes and neutral barriques. The wine spent its second year in steel. It was bottled at the end of November 2023. 

“I tasted this at the work table and I also had a couple glasses with dinner, so it passed the initial do-I-want-to-take-this-home test. The texture is beautiful, the body too, it brings flavour and a level of panache. Almost anything with roussanne in it has me at hello and then there’s chardonnay, the charms of which precede it, so to speak. This is my kind of white wine, unafraid of flavour, unafraid of fullness, sparked with spice, slippery with sweet, integrated oak, the flesh of yellow stonefruit laid on. For all the time I spent with it, I kept wanting the finish to extend out a fraction further, and for there to be a fraction less warmth. An extra year or two in bottle will likely deal with the former, and possibly the latter too. Either way, it’s a classy white wine.”
93+ points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
“Mid-light yellow colour, forward for its age, but the bouquet confirms that it's been wood aged and this has also added smoky charcuterie, spices and honey to result in a complex nose. The palate picks up the thread and delivers a rich full-bodied mouthful with roundness and viscosity, well judged phenolics contributing to the structure and texture, the finish rolling long and satisfying. This is a smashing Rhône-style dry white of great character and texture.”
95 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
“So the wine is two thirds a marsanne and roussanne blend and the rest a considered portion of chardonnay. Fancy oak, as is often the way of POCW, is also applied. I loved this from hello. Texture, weight, a slice of fresh cut, just ripe stone fruit acidity, a fuzz to the overall feel with some dollops of nougat amongst it all. Fragrant, full flavoured yet refreshing, a saline trill that speaks of minerality. It’s a cuddly wine with enough zestiness to refresh with each sip. Delicious drinking ensues.”
94 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
"The 2022 Tradition comprises Marsanne and Chardonnay from Harcourt, Macedon Ranges. It's gently golden in the glass, and aromatically, it leads with pineapple and white rose, cumin, star anise, aniseed and curry leaf, with custard powder and sea salt. It is rich and undulating and sort of caresses the palate rather than sits atop it. The acidity regulates the density of the fruit and balances the opulent (almost fat!) capaciousness of the wine. It's intriguing and great and feels very much as if it would go down a treat at a summer seaside venue. Excellent. I like it more and more as it opens up in the glass. 14% alcohol, sealed under Diam."
94 points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
Place of Changing Winds Tradition White 2022 (1500ml)
Added
Place of Changing Winds Tradition Red 2022
Added

Place of Changing Winds Tradition Red 2022

Made only in suitable years, this wine is inspired by the era-defining Syrah/Pinot blends crafted by Hunter legend Maurice O’Shea in the 1940s and ’50s. This release is a blend of 40% Pinot from estate vines and 60% Syrah from Heathcote and Harcourt. It spent the first year in a mix of large and small oak barrels, mostly neutral, with the last phase of aging in steel tank and 600-litre Stockinger cask. It was bottled at the end of November 2023. The result is a bright, perfumed, juicy wine. Although delicious now, it will certainly age well. 

“It’s not heavy but there’s impressive intensity of flavour here. It tastes of sheer plum, dark chocolate, roasted nuts and sweet cherry, with woodsy spice and cedarwood characters as part of the veneer. There’s texture, there’s twigs, there’s pure, perfectly ripened fruit, and there’s a firm stamp of integrated tannin. There’s some char to the aftertaste, which is not a distraction and is not a negative. There’s a lot to delve into here. It’s excellent.”
95 points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
“Deep red-purple colour; fresh and clean aromas, herbal and lightly peppered, a slight bunchy touch, the palate firm, medium-bodied and grippy, with a little bitterness. There are subtle red fruits too, in trhe background. Pleasant medium-full weighted red, the shiraz tending to run the show. (60/40 shiraz and pinot noir).”
91 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
“Here is 60% syrah from Heathcote and Harcourt with a bolstering remainder of pinot noir. A variety of vessels cajole the wine to bottle. This feels meaty and sleek in the same breath. A whiff of woody spices and undergrowth before a compote of forest berries with a high note of tart cherry. Similar to taste, a sluice of fine, grainy tannin in tow, on medium weight and very persistent. It’s a slurpier red with plenty of charisma and high drinkability.
93 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
“There’s a lot to consider and enjoy with this blend. A wonderful garnet-purple hue; aromatic with pepper and spice, charry oak and plums. Fuller bodied but, in a way, not a weighty wine as there’s such a brightness of fruit and a general vivacity throughout. Loads of tannins, textural and drying, with a hint of green walnut, yet all guided by tangy acidity en route to a fresh finish. And what to consider? The best food match.”
95 points, Jane Faulkner, The Wine Companion
Place of Changing Winds Tradition Red 2022
Added
Place of Changing Winds Tradition Red 2022 (1500ml)
Added

Place of Changing Winds Tradition Red 2022 (1500ml)

Made only in suitable years, this wine is inspired by the era-defining Syrah/Pinot blends crafted by Hunter legend Maurice O’Shea in the 1940s and ’50s. This release is a blend of 40% Pinot from estate vines and 60% Syrah from Heathcote and Harcourt. It spent the first year in a mix of large and small oak barrels, mostly neutral, with the last phase of aging in steel tank and 600-litre Stockinger cask. It was bottled at the end of November 2023. The result is a bright, perfumed, juicy wine. Although delicious now, it will certainly age well. 

“It’s not heavy but there’s impressive intensity of flavour here. It tastes of sheer plum, dark chocolate, roasted nuts and sweet cherry, with woodsy spice and cedarwood characters as part of the veneer. There’s texture, there’s twigs, there’s pure, perfectly ripened fruit, and there’s a firm stamp of integrated tannin. There’s some char to the aftertaste, which is not a distraction and is not a negative. There’s a lot to delve into here. It’s excellent.”
95 points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
“Deep red-purple colour; fresh and clean aromas, herbal and lightly peppered, a slight bunchy touch, the palate firm, medium-bodied and grippy, with a little bitterness. There are subtle red fruits too, in trhe background. Pleasant medium-full weighted red, the shiraz tending to run the show. (60/40 shiraz and pinot noir).”
91 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
“Here is 60% syrah from Heathcote and Harcourt with a bolstering remainder of pinot noir. A variety of vessels cajole the wine to bottle. This feels meaty and sleek in the same breath. A whiff of woody spices and undergrowth before a compote of forest berries with a high note of tart cherry. Similar to taste, a sluice of fine, grainy tannin in tow, on medium weight and very persistent. It’s a slurpier red with plenty of charisma and high drinkability.
93 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
“There’s a lot to consider and enjoy with this blend. A wonderful garnet-purple hue; aromatic with pepper and spice, charry oak and plums. Fuller bodied but, in a way, not a weighty wine as there’s such a brightness of fruit and a general vivacity throughout. Loads of tannins, textural and drying, with a hint of green walnut, yet all guided by tangy acidity en route to a fresh finish. And what to consider? The best food match.”
95 points, Jane Faulkner, The Wine Companion
Place of Changing Winds Tradition Red 2022 (1500ml)
Added
Place of Changing Winds Larderdark Chardonnay 2022
Added

Place of Changing Winds Larderdark Chardonnay 2022

At this stage in the vineyard’s evolution, the estate’s close-planted Chardonnay vines have only given tiny yields. This has resulted in terrific concentration and power, while the climate has delivered mouth-watering freshness and drive. These two factors make for something unique. The wine was fermented and aged in Wineglobe (glass), one older barrique and one new 500-litre Dominque Laurent cask. It underwent malolactic fermentation and was bottled at the end of November 2023. 

“Close-planted vines. The wine rested in glass Wineglobes, the sentient alien looking pods that they are, and two oak casks. So elegant, so refined, poise and precision yet with flavour and depth. It opens with flickers of flinty mineral elements, toast and woody spices, sweet spice too, sugared almond, green apple, stone fruits and alpine herbal elements. The palate a good reflection of this, quite notable concentration and depth, a plushness trimmed with talc-like mineral pucker and a long, palate-staining, sweet spice finish. One of those wines you shake the last drops out of the bottle onto your tongue, or is that just me?”
96 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
“Low yields this vintage, which is a bummer, so not much made but great concentration of fruit weight and power the positive outcome. However, just when you think all the spiced stone fruit, citrus, nougat-like lees and cedary oak will add up to a weighty wine, it does an about-face. The acidity kicks in, reining this in beautifully. It is a distinctive wine and one day, will emerge as a wine of place.”
96 points, Jane Faulkner, The Wine Companion
“The Place of Changing Winds 2022 Larderdark Chardonnay is a beauty. I was struck by how it eschewed the perhaps trendier reduction and toasty oak-framed narrative and instead observed a more earth-based principle of fruit, open sky and soil… The 2022 Larderdark Chardonnay is pure and slippery: it exudes an unfettered fruit profile and a splay of glassy phenolics. The wine is glossy and mineral, with star fruit, shaved fennel, white pepper, sea salt, pink grapefruit, scratched citrus and crushed nuts. The wine is wide without being broad, and it provides textural support upon which the fruit relies. This is a remarkably beautiful wine, but it is quite distinct. It doesn't go down the reductive, oaky path; rather, it adheres to ground-based principles of fruit, vast sky and earth. It's a beauty. 13.5% alcohol, sealed under Diam and wax.”
96+ points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
Place of Changing Winds Larderdark Chardonnay 2022
Added
Place of Changing Winds Between Two Mountains Pinot Noir 2022
Added

Place of Changing Winds Between Two Mountains Pinot Noir 2022

Place of Changing Winds is roughly equidistant between Mount Macedon and Mount Bullengarook, hence the name of this cuvée, which is essentially the most representative Pinot of the season. It’s a fine, textural Pinot produced from all the estate’s plots (including the highest-density vines), save what went into the tiny Beyond the Forest cuvée. It spent 18 months maturing in Stockinger casks with 50% new oak (although this new component was a 1,000 cask, so it has very little impact). It’s a wine that will drink well young and has significant cellaring potential. It was bottled in January 2024. 

“Good depth and hue of colour, with a sandalwood aroma, liberal oak evident, over dark cherry fruit which built in fragrance with time in the glass. The palate is elegantly structured and refined, with intense and focused flavour augmented by fine and firm tannins, the finish extending very long. A tensioned pinot, rich in sweet cherry fruit, that is excellent now but promises more in the future.”
96 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
“The 2022 Between Two Mountains Pinot Noir is spicy and fine on the nose, with cherry pip, raspberry leaf, crushed rocks, pumice stone tannins and black tea. In the mouth, the wine is all about rose petals and iron, silty tannins and lashings of blood plum skin, with violets and Pink Lady apples, rosemary, blood orange, arnica and a very gentle amaro persuasion. A light finish is made persistent by enduring tannins that chew and sway. It's so nice. Distinct. It's easy to swoon somewhat over the packaging, which is not important to wine quality but an indication of aesthetics. It matured for 18 months in Stockinger casks (50% new) and was bottled in January 2024. 13.2% alcohol, sealed under Diam.”
94+ points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
“Named for its more or less equidistance between Mount Macedon and Mount Bullengarook. Produced from all plots on the estate. Matured in 50% new and old Stockinger casks. Svelte and sleek with distinct succulence and pucker. A sheath of lacy, granitic tannin over dark cherry, tumbles of dried herbs, woody spice, some nori and truffle-like characters in the mix and a general sense of ultra pure, tart cherry juice and flecks of dried currant and cranberry. A real feast for the senses here. Incredible extension of flavour and an almost unnerving consistency to texture in all that – a long and exacting ride of character and charm. Loads of evocative perfume too. Wonderful, all up.”
96+ points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
“A blend of all the estate sites, except the small parcel making up the Beyond The Forest pinot. This needed a lot of time to unfurl, so best to decant it. It’ll then reward you with morello and sweet dark cherries, warm earth and sumac aromas. Full bodied, savoury with pleasing supple tannins.”
95 points, Jane Faulkner, The Wine Companion
Place of Changing Winds Between Two Mountains Pinot Noir 2022
Added

“You get the sense that Place of Changing Winds is not only an artistic and pragmatic wine project but… a thing to be inspired by and perhaps see what is possible from dreams and best practice.” Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

“This extraordinary high-density vineyard is slotted between Mount Macedon and Mount Bullengarook. A high-density site of pinot noir and chardonnay, ranging from 12,500 to 33,000 vines/ha: there is nothing like this in Australia, or even in Burgundy (where 10,000 vines are deemed high density). No expense has been spared and the level of detail is nothing short of extraordinary.”★★★★★ 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 Wine Front

“Robert Walters has, in a manner of speaking, gone where angels fear to tread.” James Halliday, The Weekend Australian

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