Garagiste Le Stagiare Chardonnay
Current Vintage: 2019
From a vintage that yielded particularly bright and fleshy wines, this is another top drawer, pristine Mornington Chardonnay from the Garagiste stable. As is customary, Le Stagiaire Chardonnay is drawn mostly from Garagiste's Merricks vineyard, with the balance coming from Balnarring and Tuerong. Barney Flanders doesn't make these wines specifically for this label-all his ferments start out as potential single-vineyard wines, so the single-site wines are barrel selections, with the remaining wines bottled under Le Stagiaire. This gives us some idea of how this label is able over-deliver, year in year out.
The winemaking: all fruit was hand-sorted in the vineyard and winery, then whole-bunch pressed, with the cloudy juice transferred to a mixture of 500-litre puncheons to ferment wild. The wines were matured on their lees in barrel for eight months before blending. Barney's wines have gotten finer and finer, and this is a terrific example. Plenty of pulpy fruit (nectarine, peach, citrus pith) but also loads of driven freshness and just enough complexity from the lees. Really first-rate Chard and terrific value to boot.
It is not really summer in Melbourne until you’ve packed up the car and crammed every living friend and relative into the car for a day/weekend trip to the Mornington Peninsula. On the tail end of the Eastern Bay of Melbourne, you can expect to find a dynamic range of beach side living. From the low key, sleepy beach towns to bustling coastal communities - packed with arriviste private schools, cafes, boutiques, competitive polo and some of the most expensive strips of holiday home real estate serving some of the richest people in the nation. You might even catch a glimpse of Lindsay Fox landing his helicopter on his Portsea front beach mansion.
Unlike the pretences of its holiday makers, the region packs a punch now that wine making has returned to favour in the area after a period of decline. You can expect to find high quality, cool climate wines that deliver fresh, smooth mouthfeel and a sense of wanting more. We can’t get enough of summer in the peninsula, and the cracka’ selection of winemakers are a perfect pairing.