Place of Changing Winds’ Rhône-inspired Heathcote venture is anchored in syrah, but – even though it’s just the first release – marsanne is certainly not taking a backseat. A textural, flavour-intense but light-footed wine, this is loaded with orchard fruits, smoky minerals and waxy notes.
Golden in colour, the nose opens with ripe orchard fruits, rich golden apples, poached pears, roasted nuts, waxiness, honey and smoky mineral notes. This has a saline slip to the texture, with a generosity of flavour and texture that reads as neither big nor broad, just loaded with mouth-filling flavour and a silky gliding quality to the way it drinks, acidity a gentle but present guide.
Themes of this wine
A grape most commonly associated with the Northern Rhône, though it features in the south, marsanne has also carved a small be significant niche in Australian wine folklore. With vines planted in 1927, Victoria’s Tahbilk lays claim to some of the oldest, if not the oldest, marsanne vines in the world. And the wines have proved to age incredibly well, as they can in the Rhône. Flavours can range through pear, apple and citrus, with nutty and toasty development over time, as well as a varietally distinctive honeysuckle character.
Heathcote is rugged country, a tinder-dry landscape of rusty iron-rich soils littered with sculpturally stacked granitic boulders. It’s mythical territory, ancient land, and home to some of the world’s oldest viticultural soils. But as a wine region, it is a relatively young one, which saw an explosion of growth in the 90s. Shiraz led the charge, and it became Victoria’s answer to the Barossa or McLaren Vale, producing wines of significant power. But Heathcote is very different to both those places, and it is not that easily defined. Today, shiraz finds myriad expressions, and many other varieties are taking a firm grip, especially those suited to dry and warm climes.