Really first-rate Chard and terrific value to boot.
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.
Where this wine comes from - Mornington Peninsula
Another gem that’s part of Melbourne’s ‘Dress Circle’, the maritime climate of Mornington makes it Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Paradise. Sea breezes ensure the vineyards remain cool, ideal for producing styles with elegance and finesse. Red Hill, Merricks and Balnarring is where the main action is, enjoying the see breezes coming off Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. There’s also a vast array of alternative varieties that enjoy the peninsula’s maritime climate. Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris certainly has made its presence felt, producing both clean crisp, easy drinking Grigio styles, as well as richer, riper Gris styles. The whites are made for seafood, while Mornington Pinot Noir is a must with traditional duck dishes – either Chinese style or French.