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Garagiste: The 2022 Single Vineyards – The Penultimate Release from this Banner Year

Garagiste: The 2022 Single Vineyards – The Penultimate Release from this Banner Year

 

“All the [Garagiste] wines are exceptional.” James Halliday, The Australian

“Garagiste is a gem of a producer.” Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front

We’re heading towards the end of a trio of La Niña patterns, and Barney Flanders will be glad to see the back of them. Although quality has been, to quote the man himself, “bloody spectacular”, it’s been a real challenge when it comes to yields. Inclement weather at flowering played havoc with Garagiste’s volumes with some blocks down as much as 50 to 70%. Consequently, we have a considerably smaller single vineyard offering this year.

As most of you will know, the Balnarring site forms the backbone of the Stagiaire label and in 2022 almost the entire Balnarring crop went into this range. Luckily for us, there was a marginally better crop at the Tuerong site, so Barney was able to siphon off enough for a single vineyard bottling. As for Merricks, he always aims to make a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this flagship site and 2022 has gifted two brilliant wines, albeit in reduced quantities.

This year however we are pleased to be working with a little more volume of what has become a Garagiste cult wine, the Tuerong Aligoté. Barney made this first in 2017 from a mere three rows of 30-plus-year-old vines rooted in the sandy grey loams of the Aligoté ‘mother’ vineyard of Australia. Depending on vintage and yield conditions, he makes either a single 300-litre barrel or 500-litre barrel, so there’s only ever a pallet or less to go around. Proof that flattery will get you everywhere, this year we’ve convinced Barney to give us a little more.

As to the winemaking, the 2022 conditions required a gentler approach in the cellar. A low-yielding, intensely flavoured vintage like 2022 can “easily throw your balances out of whack”, so eternal equity-seeker Barney adopted a more subtle approach, which included a reduction in the whole bunch component in the Merricks Pinot Noir and a slight decrease in time in oak for the Chardonnays.

Despite the lack of bottles, today we offer a pitch-perfect release, perhaps one of the very finest, from a wine grower who goes from strength to strength. As such, our standard Garagiste advice applies: do not hesitate.

The Wines

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