Introducing a new kid on the block for Barnaby Flanders and Garagiste: a concrete fermented and raised Pinot Noir from his Merricks Grove vineyard. With the stability of concrete providing the platform, this wine has a notable difference to the other Pinot's in the Garagiste stable. Hyper crunchy tannins, spice drenched and with a superbly vibrant core of red fruits on offer, it's a nimble, sappy Pinot with oodles of character and textural craft.
In his early days, Baranby set out to readjust the expectations around terroir in the Mornington, and now his keen eye is paying dividends with a little viticultural experimentation. Bring on more, we say.
Cuve Béton means concrete tank and this new bottling was fermented and raised in a single, sealable 5000-litre concrete vessel from the Italian tank maker Nico Velo. Barney first experimented with this tank in 2017, finding a noticeable difference in the finished wine--the concrete-raised Pinot displayed more freshness and a different tannin profile. Obviously the vessel's gentle transfer of oxygen and the cooler thermal mass of the juice during fermentation makes a difference. The fruit comes from a key parcel of Merricks Grove, and the fruit was entirely destemmed and fermented wild, spending four weeks on skins. It was bottled unfiltered.
This is a noticeably more structured, minerally tasting wine that Flanders has produced with deliciously crunchy red fruits and loads of spices that leap from the glass and flood the palate. There is impressive structure from the long maceration but it's oh so fine with powdery, talc-like tannins running the length of the palate. Super, super impressive.
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.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
Fermented and aged in concrete, instead of oak. Rosy perfume, spice, red fruits, as little sap and crunch, with charm laid on and a fine fluid line from front to back. Fine tannin, a sort of ash 'minerality' too. It's light but long, brightly lit, and flat out fantastic to drink. Strange to say, but it's a little like a wine from Etna.
NED GOODWIN - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
A lightweight frame belies an intensity of flavour and a grippy, spindly firmness. The extraction is gentle, ethereal even; obviated by well appointed tannic latticework to which notes of sour cherry, logan and cranberry cling. The finish is attractively bitter, crunchy and long. A balletic, extremely elegant pinot.