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Place of Changing Winds

“Something Special Here”—The Latest Grower Series Wines from Harcourt and Heathcote
Place of Changing Winds
Today, we offer the Place of Changing Winds (POCW) Grower Series wines, mainly from the cooler, later-ripening 2022 season. These wines are the product of more than a decade of experimentation and learning in both the vineyard and the cellar. The results are seriously impressive (if we can say that on the team’s behalf!) The Syrahs have fabulous intensity and structure. They’re savoury yet with excellent finesse. The Marsanne Roussanne is true to this estate’s deep, layered style.
 
The vineyards. These wines come from two very different single-vineyard sites. Harcourt is a small, unique sub-zone in the Bendigo G.I., at the base of Mount Alexander. The soils here are pure, granitic sands (old eroded granite)—very Northern Rhône-like—and the climate is cool, with harvest in March and often late March. This vineyard lies about an hour’s drive north of the POCW estate. Syrah, Marsanne and Roussanne come from this site. The second Syrah plot is found about 90 minutes further north, on the east-facing slopes of the Mount Camel Range in the north of the Heathcote G.I. Here, you find the famed red Cambrian soils, an alkaline soil shot through with jasper and greenstone.
 
The practice. This is not your average fruit purchase. In both cases, the team at POCW works extremely closely with the growers, being actively involved in the whole season, from pruning and shoot thinning, then agreeing on all vineyard practices throughout the season, right through to the picking, in POCW’s own, small picking crates that hold a maximum of 10kg of fruit. These vineyards are very different from the POCW estate, having been planted by these growers more than 20 years ago, but the viticulture and practice have been aligned completely to match the POCW philosophy. In short, the team allows competition in the soil, practises organics, adds compost (if necessary) rather than fertiliser, short prunes, uses hydric deficit, etc. This is all done with the goal of having smaller, intensely flavoured bunches and berries, and reaching full physiological ripeness at lower alcohols (the Syrahs below are around 13%).
 
The wines. The Harcourt 2022 is the finest and most refined Syrah we’ve seen from this site. The Syrah No2 is also markedly finer than the ’21. It’s the same for the Grower Series white, now labelled Harcourt Marsanne Roussanne, reflecting the 25% Roussanne included in the blend. Finally, the Heathcote Syrah, now released with an extra year of aging in large cask, comes from the 2021 vintage. It’s a deep, complex, savoury Syrah, as the notes below make clear.
 
The season. As for the 2022 vintage, Heathcote enjoyed a dream season with good winter and spring rains (rarely a given in this region), followed by a dry summer and ripening period. The grapes were harvested between 25th and 27th February (late for Heathcote) with perfectly ripe fruit at just over 13% potential alcohol. The Harcourt block, being in a considerably cooler place, was picked a full month later, on 26th March. Again, ripeness was perfect, with superb flavour and potential alcohols of around 13%. The POCW team harvested all the fruit themselves to ensure it was picked at precisely the right moment.

The Wines

Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Marsanne Roussanne 2022

Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Marsanne Roussanne 2022

This comes from the same vineyard as the Harcourt Syrah. As always, the grapes were picked flavour ripe, pressed gently and sent straight to barrel (500- and 228-litre) and 220-litre Wineglobe for fermentation and aging. Malolactic conversion happened naturally. After 12 months in cask and Wineglobe, the wine was racked to tank for an additional eight months’ maturation before being bottled at the end of November 2023. It has the power and richness of previous releases, yet with good vibrancy thanks to Harcourt’s soils, the cooler year and the inclusion of good levels of Roussanne in the blend. It will certainly age, gaining more honeyed characters, but it’s delicious now. 

“Some roussanne in the mix. The wine is matured in a mix of barrels and those alien-technology-looking, Wineglobe, glass, ovoid vessels. This is such a wonderful wine its success is in its concentration of flavour and texture (fleshy and chalky at the same time), its vivid sense of hallmarks of the variety (bitter lemon, preserved lemon, herbal detail, minerality) And a general sense of energy. It sits at medium weight. Its stains the palette gently, its perfume is inviting and ultra-pleasing, that it drinks with such ease belies its complexity. Wickedly enjoyable.”
94 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
"The 2022 Harcourt Marsanne contains Roussanne as well; they go together like tomato and basil. On the nose, the wine is discreet, almost hesitant, despite having been in the glass almost 30 minutes. In the mouth, it is ample, spicy and rich, with undulating fruit and phenolic weight, like a blanket. There is more texture than flavor here, as the varieties tend to lean on their phenolic structure for impact. Having said that, layers of cheesecloth, cantaloupe, white pepper, roasted star anise and flame-grilled pineapple make their presence felt. This is an intriguing wine, one that is demanding gentle coaxing; its stubbornness to yield is both infuriating and compelling. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under Diam."
93+ points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Marsanne Roussanne 2022
Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Marsanne Roussanne 2022 (1500ml)

Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Marsanne Roussanne 2022 (1500ml)

This comes from the same vineyard as the Harcourt Syrah. As always, the grapes were picked flavour ripe, pressed gently and sent straight to barrel (500- and 228-litre) and 220-litre Wineglobe for fermentation and aging. Malolactic conversion happened naturally. After 12 months in cask and Wineglobe, the wine was racked to tank for an additional eight months’ maturation before being bottled at the end of November 2023. It has the power and richness of previous releases, yet with good vibrancy thanks to Harcourt’s soils, the cooler year and the inclusion of good levels of Roussanne in the blend. It will certainly age, gaining more honeyed characters, but it’s delicious now. 

“Some roussanne in the mix. The wine is matured in a mix of barrels and those alien-technology-looking, Wineglobe, glass, ovoid vessels. This is such a wonderful wine its success is in its concentration of flavour and texture (fleshy and chalky at the same time), its vivid sense of hallmarks of the variety (bitter lemon, preserved lemon, herbal detail, minerality) And a general sense of energy. It sits at medium weight. Its stains the palette gently, its perfume is inviting and ultra-pleasing, that it drinks with such ease belies its complexity. Wickedly enjoyable.”
94 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
"The 2022 Harcourt Marsanne contains Roussanne as well; they go together like tomato and basil. On the nose, the wine is discreet, almost hesitant, despite having been in the glass almost 30 minutes. In the mouth, it is ample, spicy and rich, with undulating fruit and phenolic weight, like a blanket. There is more texture than flavor here, as the varieties tend to lean on their phenolic structure for impact. Having said that, layers of cheesecloth, cantaloupe, white pepper, roasted star anise and flame-grilled pineapple make their presence felt. This is an intriguing wine, one that is demanding gentle coaxing; its stubbornness to yield is both infuriating and compelling. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under Diam."
93+ points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Marsanne Roussanne 2022 (1500ml)
Place of Changing Winds Syrah No.2 2022

Place of Changing Winds Syrah No.2 2022

This wine is a blend of Heathcote (66%) and Harcourt (34%) Syrah. Although this is the “entry-point” red, it gets the same attention to detail as the other cuvées, and even here, it has serious intensity, good tannins and ageworthiness. About 70% whole bunches were used, and the wine matured in a range of casks (primarily large Stockinger) for the first year before resting in tank for the rest of its maturation. It was bottled in late December 2023. It’s a spicy, cool Syrah/Shiraz that will drink well young but can be aged with confidence.

“‘Vibrant and lifted fresh red berries and purple flowers,’ wrote [Ben] Mullen, giving this a top-six result. ‘Medium bodied on the palate, it had flow of tannin from fruit and oak with the fruits flowing to great drive and tension of acidity. Had some real savoury elements to the wine also, fresh crushed leaves and autumnal vibes to it showing from the whole bunch. Good weight, texture and length. Such a well balanced rendition of style of syrah. Lovely.’”
Young Guns of Wine, younggunsofwine.com
“This is a combo of the Heathcote and Harcourt vineyard sources. There’s around 70% whole bunch used. It feels friendly and easy drinking in its way, despite also holding a sense of inkiness and depth. Dark cherry, ripe plum, choc-liquorice with swathes of eucalyptus, dried green herb, pepperberry, lifted myrtle-like pungency – all attractive, all just so. A smooth ride, a pleasure zone red of evenness and general syrah-isms. Cool as.”
92 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
Place of Changing Winds Syrah No.2 2022
Place of Changing Winds Syrah No.2 2022 (1500ml)

Place of Changing Winds Syrah No.2 2022 (1500ml)

This wine is a blend of Heathcote (66%) and Harcourt (34%) Syrah. Although this is the “entry-point” red, it gets the same attention to detail as the other cuvées, and even here, it has serious intensity, good tannins and ageworthiness. About 70% whole bunches were used, and the wine matured in a range of casks (primarily large Stockinger) for the first year before resting in tank for the rest of its maturation. It was bottled in late December 2023. It’s a spicy, cool Syrah/Shiraz that will drink well young but can be aged with confidence.

“‘Vibrant and lifted fresh red berries and purple flowers,’ wrote [Ben] Mullen, giving this a top-six result. ‘Medium bodied on the palate, it had flow of tannin from fruit and oak with the fruits flowing to great drive and tension of acidity. Had some real savoury elements to the wine also, fresh crushed leaves and autumnal vibes to it showing from the whole bunch. Good weight, texture and length. Such a well balanced rendition of style of syrah. Lovely.’”
Young Guns of Wine, younggunsofwine.com
“This is a combo of the Heathcote and Harcourt vineyard sources. There’s around 70% whole bunch used. It feels friendly and easy drinking in its way, despite also holding a sense of inkiness and depth. Dark cherry, ripe plum, choc-liquorice with swathes of eucalyptus, dried green herb, pepperberry, lifted myrtle-like pungency – all attractive, all just so. A smooth ride, a pleasure zone red of evenness and general syrah-isms. Cool as.”
92 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
Place of Changing Winds Syrah No.2 2022 (1500ml)
Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Syrah 2022

Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Syrah 2022

This is the second release from Harcourt. It comes from a very specific plot in Victoria’s Bendigo G.I., on the foothills of Mt Alexander. With its pure granite soils and mild climate, the POCW team believe that Harcourt is one of Australia's most exciting terroirs for Syrah. 50% whole bunches were used, and the wine underwent almost two years’ maturation. The initial period was in older 600- and 1,500-litre Stockinger casks, with the final eight months in 2000-litre Stockinger. It was bottled in late December 2023. It’s a wine that combines lifted perfume and finesse with excellent depth and fine structure.

“50% whole bunch; two years in oak. An intense and utterly compelling wine, driven by the spice and outright perfume on the nose; then the elegant and medium body, with a minimum of 30 years riding on its superfine tannins and balance; the rare granitic sands are the key. 2642 bottles, 60 magnums produced.”
96 points, James Halliday, The Weekend Australian
“Deep and bright purple-red colour, with nutmeg and assorted spices on the nose, the palate medium full-bodied and smoothly textured, with a slight ferrous bitterness on the aftertaste, and a slight dip in the middle, accentuated by the grip on the finish. This is young and somewhat undeveloped: it promises more if cellared a while.”
94 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
“From a vineyard in Harcourt North which is in Bendigo wine region. Wild fermentation, spends time in Stockinger, larger format barrels, gets 50% whole bunches in the ferment. The site is specified for its sand and granite soil profile. Highly perfumed, red berries, some cranberry zestiness, wild scree and herbs in a pepper-meets-alpine greenery kind of whiff, some aniseed, touch of clove. It sits at medium weight, slinks along all pretty within a web of lacy, talc-like tannin and finishes with lightly puckering dryness. Almost dart-shaped and feels good for it. Flavours match the bouquet, per se. It’s delicious, fine and right.”
93 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Syrah 2022
Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Syrah 2022 (1500ml)

Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Syrah 2022 (1500ml)

This is the second release from Harcourt. It comes from a very specific plot in Victoria’s Bendigo G.I., on the foothills of Mt Alexander. With its pure granite soils and mild climate, the POCW team believe that Harcourt is one of Australia's most exciting terroirs for Syrah. 50% whole bunches were used, and the wine underwent almost two years’ maturation. The initial period was in older 600- and 1,500-litre Stockinger casks, with the final eight months in 2000-litre Stockinger. It was bottled in late December 2023. It’s a wine that combines lifted perfume and finesse with excellent depth and fine structure.

“50% whole bunch; two years in oak. An intense and utterly compelling wine, driven by the spice and outright perfume on the nose; then the elegant and medium body, with a minimum of 30 years riding on its superfine tannins and balance; the rare granitic sands are the key. 2642 bottles, 60 magnums produced.”
96 points, James Halliday, The Weekend Australian
“Deep and bright purple-red colour, with nutmeg and assorted spices on the nose, the palate medium full-bodied and smoothly textured, with a slight ferrous bitterness on the aftertaste, and a slight dip in the middle, accentuated by the grip on the finish. This is young and somewhat undeveloped: it promises more if cellared a while.”
94 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review
Place of Changing Winds Harcourt Syrah 2022 (1500ml)
Place Of Changing Winds Heathcote Syrah 2021

Place Of Changing Winds Heathcote Syrah 2021

This wine is now released with an extra year’s aging. It comes from an east-facing plot of 20+-year-old vines rooted in the red Cambrian soils of the Mount Camel Range in Heathcote’s north. Although this sub-region can produce some of Heathcote’s most refined wines, it is still an area that lends itself to growing powerful Syrah, so it gets an additional year in cask. The 2021 spent its first year in a range of Stockinger cask and concrete tank before being blended to one 2,000-litre Stockinger cask for the remainder of its maturation. It was bottled at the end of November 2023 after 33 months’ aging. It is a gorgeous, dark-fruited expression of this famous region. At 13% alcohol, it is in no way heavy and, in fact, is quite the “refreshing” contrast to many wines released from the area. Only around 10% new oak used.

“There’s a deal of oak flavour here but it combines well with the bold nature of the fruit. Toast, cedarwood and cream characters wrap around black cherries, plums and peppercorns, the (assertive but integrated) tannin then threaded finely. The finish is impressively prolonged, and while it feels ripe and flavoursome it’s also juicy; refreshing even.”
93+ points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
“Larger format Stockinger barrels and concrete make up a lot of the wine’s vessel maturation profile. The vineyard from northern climes in Heathcote. It spent nearly three years resting before bottling. A wild card, a surprise package. A wine of energy, febrile tension, freshness and drawl. It’s all wild, brambly red berries, dusty, fine tannin, blood orange (pleasing) sweet-bitterness, fine, dark chocolate mellow qualities and faint game meat savouriness. It feels decidedly light and bright, sure, complex, layered, some intensity, but the vim and vigour here is undeniable. This will slake a thirst.”
94 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
Place Of Changing Winds Heathcote Syrah 2021

“We’re onto something special here. The wines are wonderful, complex and considered, mostly made with chardonnay and pinot noir but also with (Heathcote) shiraz. And while they are made in such limited quantity that finding them is difficult, the hunt is worth it, the crusade.” Campbell Mattinson, Halliday Wine Companion Top 100 Wineries

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