Sourced from the Merricks Grove vineyard, the fruit for this wine was hand sorted twice and produced in two ways; one fermenter of whole berries and another of 100% whole bunches.
The grapes were hand sorted twice - in the vineyard, and again in the winery on a sorting table. The fruit was then slowly destemmed into small open fermenters with wild yeast ferments and a reasonably long maceration (total time on skins is 23 days). The extraction process was gentle with light pump overs and a few plunges. The wine was then matured in 300-litre hogsheads (20% new François Frères) and spent ten months on lees before bottling, unfiltered.
This is a deep, lively and savoury expression of Mornington, dangerously drinkable from start to finish. Expect a wonderfully graceful, succulent Pinot Noir packed with red plum, spice and dark cherry notes before a lingering, perfumed finish that suggests amaro spice and offers a lick of fine, supporting tannins.
Barnaby Flanders created the Garagiste label following his amicable split with Allies co-founder David Chapman (who continues with the Allies label). ‘Barney’ now focuses on a snug range of small-batch wines from fruit sourced from the highly prized Merricks Grove vineyard, the Silverwood vineyard (Balnarring), and the Hugh Robinson vineyard in Moorooduc. Garagiste, the main label, is ably supported by delicious entry-level wines under the Le Stagiaire banner. Barnaby and Cam (Marshall) manage all aspects of the viticulture and winemaking themselves and a range of succulent, finely tuned and elegantly crafted cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is what results.
DAVID BICKNELL - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Upping the ante from Le Stagiaire Pinot. Deeper darker colour, with a brighter hue. More pronounced black cherry fruit that has brighter contrast. Deeper more persistent flavour plus superior mouthfeel, and structure. And succulence too. 25% new oak barely noticeable, the wine just coming into its own. The only down side is that only 255 dozen were made.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - THE WINE FRONT
Garagiste pinot noir is one of the safest wine bets going. This takes complexity in its stride. And complex it certainly is. It throws bunches of herb and spice notes at you but it does so on the wings of solid cherry plum flavour, verging on stewy and undergrowthy and yet remaining fresh, vibrant, indeed almost spritzy. It has beautiful flow, superfine tannin and succulent length. It's just exemplary all around. It's very young but the bottle disappeared all too quickly.