Garagiste Merricks 2019 Release

FIVE STARS – JAMES HALLIDAY
All the wines are exceptional. JAMES HALLIDAY, The Australian

the consistency in quality terms is remarkable. We have a top-notch producer on our hands here. CAMPBELL MATTINSON, The Wine Front

I really love the watching the rise and rise of Mornington over the last period. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of a lot of what was coming out of the region, that may not be a popular statement, but today it’s as an exciting a region as any in Australia and a lot of that has to do with people like Barney Flanders.

Barney has been producing some of the region’s most compelling wines now for quite some time, quietly going about his business of crafting Chardonnay and Pinot (plus aligoté for some unfathomable reason) of absolutely the highest quality. He is a thoughtful fella, quietly spoken and a little reserved at first, I think that is also reflected in his wines. They aren’t the bombastic fruit bombs you see at times from down that way but rather they are polished and refined wines that that require a little coaxing before they open up but they are worth the time and effort. Wonderfully aromatic and gracefully proportioned Pinots. Chardonnay that is precise and immaculately crafted. Without question he is one of Mornington’s top producers and one of the region’s best blokes.

While he makes a range of wines, all of them excellent, it is his Merricks vineyard bottlings that seem to always shine brightest for me and there is no reason to change my opinion there in this release. His site in Merricks is the highest he works with. The latest to ripen and also with more red dirt and ironstone which lends the Pinot, I think, some of its darker nuances.

My notes for the two wines read “The 2019 iteration is a brooding and deeply pitched expression of its site with wafts of incense and perfectly measured tannins, the bunches adding gravitas. A bit more muscular than usual but also with the depth of fruit to carry it the. Lovely”. For the Chardonnay I note “reserved, shy even. Needs air but it open up wonderfully and there is a lovely cut and thrust to the fruit. Precise and beautifully composed. Wont last long at home but would do well with a few years in the cellar”.

I think the reviews below from Campbell Mattinson are spot on. This really is a superb pair and another stellar offering from Garagiste. If the gargantuan response we got to his Le Stagiaire Pinot release earlier this year is anything to go by these will be gobbled up quickly. People really have caught on to these wines in the last five years or so. Fortunately there is a little to go around so I hope no one misses out on them, they are too good to pass up.