Technically there’s no cellar door at Garagiste, so if you want to stop here for a tasting you’ll need to make an appointment. But here’s why you should.
The name, ‘Garagiste’, is a reference to a group of winemakers in the Bordeaux region of France, who, in the mid-1990s, produced Vins de garage or ‘garage wine’ instead of the highly tannic styles of wines the region was known for. It’s a term that’s come to apply to a small-scale winemaker who doesn’t adhere to tradition.
The garage that Flanders makes his wine in is a glorified one – really, it’s a huge green shed, impossibly clean and neatly stacked with winemaking equipment, not the dusty, spider-webbed shack implied by the word. He’s been making wine here since 2006, putting down his roots after stints at De Bortoli, Métier, Moorooduc Estate, and more overseas.
Like many other Mornington Peninsula vignerons, Flanders specialises in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. All his wines are fermented with wild yeasts, and are neither fined nor filtered. Garagiste is the main label, but it’s supported by the entry-level but still excellent Le Stagiaire label, and also the Côtier label. Côtier is relatively new – in 2010 Flanders started experimenting with whole bunch fermentation, the results of which he used to add texture to his Le Stagiaire Chardonnay. In 2015, he decided to bottle these carbonic whites rather than blend them, and so Côtier (meaning ‘from the coast’) was born.
But whether Garagiste, Le Stagiaire or Côtier, “All the wines”, says James Halliday, “are of exceptional quality”.
Flanders and his business partner Cam Marshall (who joined Garagiste in 2010) also make a gin. They’ve called it Balcombe Gin, and it’s distilled with flavours found along the Mornington Peninsula including kelp, samphire, saltbush and wild fennel. It’s absolutely delicious.
51 Foxeys Road, Tuerong VIC
By appointment only – call Barney on 0439 370 530