Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Garagiste Current Wines

Garagiste is a relatively new project on the Mornington Peninsula (less than 10 years). I am amazed the EU intellectual property nazis have not come down hard on this name, given it characterizes the right bank of Bordeaux movement, meant as an antithesis to the large chateaus on the left bank. In any event, it relates to small scale low budget winemaking, which it is for this Victorian winery.

I am tasting current releases. The first wine is the 2016 Stagiaire Chardonnay. This is the entry level label with fruit from several vineyards. The wine is made using wild yeast, no fining and filtration, I think. The wine is citrus driven, quite fresh, a bit simple, but well made (89 points). The 2016 Merricks Chardonnay, from 20 years old vines is from the home block. It straddles the two dominant Australian Chardonnay styles, the fresh and crispy and the fuller more oak influenced style. Not sure that this works, but I like the minerality in this wine and the more intense fruit. 50% new oak in this wine (92 points).

The 2016 Stagiaire Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir fruit. It comes from a block where the skins of the grapes are quite thin, well suited to this wine. The wine is clean and crisp, but a bit fruity (89 points). 

There are three Pinot Noirs in the range. The 2016 Balnarring Pinot Noir is from the warmer flats of the Peninsula. The fruit includes 50% whole bunch. The fruit is good, but the wine is a bit broad with a soft bland finish (89 points). The 2016 Merricks Pinot Noir is a more impressive wine, with darker cherry fruit and more driven on the palate. It is balanced with solid acidity, but overall, the wine is a bit fruity (91 points).

The flagship wine is the 2015 Terre de Feu Pinot Noir. The name 'land of fire' relates to the ironstone in the soil of this single block wine. Smaller grapes deliver more fruit intensity, and 100% whole bunch provides more savoury complexity. This wine is quite stalky on the nose. I find this wine still a bit soft and lacking some energy (92 points).

I noticed that Campbell Mattinson and Gary Walsh of the Winefront, who I respect a lot, give these wines much higher scores. Does the catchy name have a supple influence here? I find these wines average to good, but there are much better producers on the Mornington Peninsula.

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