Log in for prices and ordering

Garagiste

Sublime Mornington Peninsula from “a gem of a producer”

Anyone with a passing interest in cool-climate Australia will already know that Garagiste is one of Victoria’s brightest stars. Barnaby Flanders created this label in 2006 following his amicable split with Allies co-founder David Chapman. Cam Marshall joined Barney in 2010, and together, they focus on a range of small-batch Mornington Peninsula wines with an emphasis on single-site, sub-regional expressions of his region.

Flanders’ goal is to work with high-quality, respectably farmed parcels from Tuerong and Moorooduc, in the North (sandy soils), to the more central Merricks and Merricks North (brown loam/red volcanic soils) and finally the more elevated and southern subzones of Red Hill and Main Ridge (vibrant red volcanic soils). Tuerong is the oldest site that Barney works (planted in the late ‘80s). The Chardonnay here is always picked first, providing a barometer for the progression of the rest of the vintage. The opportunity to work with the Balnarring site came up in 2012 and immediately “had a good feel to it”. It’s his ‘aspirational’ site, providing high-quality fruit that is elevated year after year.

While both the Tuerong and Balnarring sites play important roles in the Garagiste story, inevitably it is the Merricks Grove vineyard that stars as the headline act. It was here in 2000, that Barney Flanders first began to cut his teeth as a winegrower. Since day one, he has been in control of every aspect of the Merricks vines—with all the advantages that this brings—and today he governs each step from earth to bottle; still a relatively rare phenomenon in the Australian wine scene.

Merricks Grove was planted in 1994 and is the highest of Garagiste’s vineyards. Predominantly south-facing with undulations and variations, the grey sandy loams are marbled with red ironstone, giving Flanders more red dirt than can be found at Tuerong and Balnarring. The grapes also ripen later here, and so, most years Merricks is the last vineyard to be picked. All these factors (altitude, volcanic influence, length of season—and likely more) combine to create Garagiste’s finest, most linear and savoury expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The winemaking tenets here are quite simple: precise picking to capture acidity, whole bunch pressing (for the Chardonnay), natural ferments and a maximum of 20 to 35% new oak. Maturation is in large (300 to 500-litre) barrels to make fresher wines for keeping, and the wines are neither fined nor filtered.

Barnaby and Cam manage all aspects of the viticulture and winemaking themselves and a shining range of succulent, finely tuned and elegantly crafted cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is what results. Garagiste, the main label, is adeptly supported by delicious entry-level wines under the Le Stagiaire banner. Garagiste’s Pinot Noirs have gorgeous texture whilst remaining composed, fresh and absorbingly complex. The Chardonnays, taut and linear as they are, are also immensely satisfying wines from the top-drawer.

Currently Available

Garagiste Merricks Rosé 2022

Garagiste Merricks Rosé 2022

Barney Flanders grows and makes a mean Pinot Noir, so it’s no surprise he uses this grape to make his slinky and fleshy Mornington rosé. The fruit hails from a south-facing Pinot Noir block in Merricks. It was hand-picked, sorted and whole-bunch pressed on a slow, gentle cycle and then sent to old puncheons to ferment naturally, with no temperature control on full solids. The blend spent seven months on lees before bottling. The result is a delicious and immensely drinkable rosé that’s jam-packed with texture and summer-fruit freshness. Expect a wine with a beautiful light colour and a pretty, red-fruited, floral and spicy personality. A touch of grip on the palate and lively acidity adds depth and a serious edge to what is a mouth-watering and invigorating wine. It finishes crunchy and fresh and is destined for sunshine enjoyment.

The result is a delicious and immensely drinkable rosé that’s jam-packed with texture and summer-fruit freshness. Expect a wine with a beautiful light colour and a pretty, red-fruited, floral and spicy personality. A touch of grip on the palate and lively acidity adds depth and a serious edge to what is a mouth-watering and invigorating wine. It finishes crunchy and fresh and is destined for sunshine enjoyment.

“Cherry, blood orange, green pear and fennel, lovely chalky texture and grip, bright acidity, a bit saline and savoury, kind of earthy, very dry, with a crisp finish offering crunch and length. Complex. Great to drink. Tops.”
94 points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
"Surely the only thing to say is, grab a bottle and head to the beach with friends armed with paper-wrapped fish and chips. OK, a bit more. Its pale bronze hue is alive with red fruits and spice but the palate is the clincher: textural, creamy, zesty with superfine acidity to close and hence, dry. A proper pinot noir rosé, and charming at that."
95 points, Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2024
Garagiste Merricks Rosé 2022
Garagiste Le Stagiaire Pinot Noir 2023

Garagiste Le Stagiaire Pinot Noir 2023

Merricks North again takes a lead role here, accounting for 33% of the blend, with the balance Balnarring (40%), Red Hill (17%) and Merricks Grove (10%). In previous years, the Stagiaire Pinot Noir has been all MV6 clone. The inclusion of the Merricks North site brings Dijon clones (114 and 115) into play, which lend a distinct, pretty plushness and perfumed nuance to MV6’s natural structure and power. The Merricks Grove site, Barney’s flagship, contributes bright fruit characters and a signature savoury quality. The Balnarring site, which Barney has farmed for 12 years, adds shade and spice, while the higher, cooler, more southerly site in Red Hill contributes linear drive. After sorting in the vineyard and winery, spontaneous fermentations took place in concrete and stainless steel with whole berries complemented by a 15% whole-bunch component. The fruit spent 23 days on skins, with gentle pumpovers and a small amount of plunging towards the end. The wine matured for seven months on gross lees divided equally between 300-litre hogsheads and foudre, with just 5% new oak. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered.This is the very model of Mornington Pinot Noir: pretty fruit, bright perfume, brown spices and subtle stem influence allied to vibrant freshness, juicy weight and soft round tannins. Magic. There’s satisfaction in every sip. 

Garagiste Le Stagiaire Pinot Noir 2023
Garagiste Le Stagiaire Chardonnay 2023

Garagiste Le Stagiaire Chardonnay 2023

Merricks North forms the backbone of the 2023 release, weighing in at 45% of the blend, followed by Balnarring (35%) and Tuerong (20%). The fruit was sorted in the vineyard and winery before being pressed as whole bunches directly to 500-litre puncheons. The fruit fermented with indigenous yeast with no temperature control, followed by a seven-month maturation on gross lees to build richness slowly. A couple of barrels went through malolactic conversion, and the nicely integrated new oak component stands at 15%. In the words of Barney, the 2023 is “just as delicious as the 2022. There’s a touch more freshness due to the cooler season, but overall, there’s a great balance between fruit weight and structure.” The hallmarks of the season—freshness, finesse and potent flavour—are clear and crystal in the glass. Teeming with citrus, flowers and stone fruits, and balanced by round texture and snappy acidity, there’s linear drive and a savoury, salty close. It’s a smashing release, on equal footing with the brilliant 2022. At a time when we are calling out for great value, this wine delivers in spades.

Garagiste Le Stagiaire Chardonnay 2023
Garagiste Merricks Pinot Gris 2023

Garagiste Merricks Pinot Gris 2023

Barney Flanders has the touch with Pinot Gris, delivering mouthwatering pure wines with texture, structure and balance time after time. He’s the first to admit that this grape can tend towards the one-dimensional, but “it’s a variety that’s open to manipulation”, he tells us. “If you play around with skins and lees, it can be pretty exciting.” From a north/northeast-facing site in Merricks with 25-year-old vines, Barney sorts first in the vineyard and then in the winery. Three-quarters of the fruit was pressed as whole bunches to old barrels with full solids and kept on lees while the remaining 25% fermented on skins for three weeks. Maturation was in old oak for seven months. The 75% whole bunch method plays to the variety's strengths, capturing stone fruit and floral perfume, whereas the time on skins contributes spice, red fruits, colour and a detailed tannin structure. It’s not an easy balance to strike, but Barney does so with aplomb. In terms of style, it would do the wine a disservice to categorise within the generic Gris/Grigio frame; suffice it to say, it’s made in a pure-fruited, medium-bodied style that takes its inspiration from Burgundy rather than northern Italy or Alsace. Again, terrific value here.

Garagiste Merricks Pinot Gris 2023
Garagiste Terre Maritime Chardonnay 2022

Garagiste Terre Maritime Chardonnay 2022

The Terre Maritime is drawn from several rows of Chardonnay in the top corner of Merricks Grove. Barney Flanders has always felt this parcel could result in a superb and unique Chardonnay—in this part of the vineyard, the 26-year-old vines are rooted in brown soils rather than the more common reddish dirt of the area. The parcel also faces slightly east, offering the vines a cooler, more sheltered aspect. There’s therefore less vigour here than in the rest of the vineyard and the bunches are a touch smaller. As a result, the fruit from this parcel tends to make a wine that has real intensity without forgoing the finesse we associate with Garagiste Chardonnay. It was raised in large, seasoned oak. This is another fabulous Chardonnay, with a captivating bouquet of orange citrus and orchard fruits, chalky minerality, white florals and perfectly pitched smoky reduction. The palate has a potent core; power, density and fleshy weight are matched by coiled acidity, phenolic grip and a long-reaching, spicy, savoury finish. In a word: exceptional.

This is another fabulous Chardonnay, with a captivating bouquet of orange citrus and orchard fruits, chalky minerality, white florals and perfectly pitched smoky reduction. The palate has a potent core; power, density and fleshy weight are matched by coiled acidity, phenolic grip and a long-reaching, spicy, savoury finish. In a word: exceptional.

“Tight, zesty, firm flinty texture, tangerine and lime, apple, aniseed and cedar. It’s dry and crunchy, with a firm core of acidity, juicy flavour, a saline edge, with a slight struck match complexity, and a long intense finish of vigour and grip, green apple and raw almond to close. Intense. Excellent.”
95 points, Gary Walsh, Wine Front
"First day open, very good. The next day, whoa, even better. So decant, please. It’s super funky with fine flinty sulphides and a crunchy, minerally sensation across the palate. Citrus and white stone fruit, lightly spiced, creamy lees yet so moreish and savoury. Compelling and stylish."
96 points, Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2024
Garagiste Terre Maritime Chardonnay 2022
Garagiste Merricks Chardonnay 2023

Garagiste Merricks Chardonnay 2023

The Merricks Chardonnay, from 27-year-old vines on soils of grey loams and red ferrosols on south- and southeast-facing slopes, was harvested and sorted by hand before being pressed as whole bunches. Fermentation was spontaneous with high levels of solids in 500-litre François Frères puncheons. A small portion went through natural malolactic conversion, and the wine rested on full gross lees for nine months before bottling. Barney seeks slow and long lees interaction, choosing extended, gentle contact over stirring. He has now entirely shifted his Chardonnay vinification to thick-stave, large-format wood, with new oak playing an increasingly limited role. “I see a slower evolution with the thicker staves,” he told us. “Things are more subtle, and it allows me to get closer to my ideal style.”It’s a knockout: punchy, pure, intensely flavoured and wildly delicious, with serious horsepower impressively contained. This is a Chardonnay of great pedigree and substance, and as good a Merricks as we have tasted (with all this entails). Another don’t-miss.

Garagiste Merricks Chardonnay 2023
Show All

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

“After working at vineyards in the Rhône and US, Barnaby Flanders founded Allies wine with David Chapman while they were working at Moorooduc Estate. The Garagise label fell under this banner, and when the two parted ways, Barnaby took Garagiste with him. He makes a concise range of Mornington Peninsula classics with fruit from Merricks, Balnarring and Moorooduc. The Le Stagiaire wines are multisite blends, whereas Côtier focuses on smaller expressions of place, even down to the half acre.”
Lopes and Ross, How to Drink Australian

Country

Australia

Primary Region

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

People

Winemakers: Barnaby Flanders, Cam Marshall

Availability

National

Most Recent Offer

  • Garagiste
    Garagiste
    “The quality of the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs on offer here are exceptional,” wrote C...
    “The quality of the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs on offer here are exceptional,” wrote Campbell Mattinson in Halliday’s Top 100 Wineries published l...

    Read more

While you're here