Articles tagged with: garagiste

Garage Wines and Garagistes


From one extreme of the world of made wines to the other. the name vins de garage was coined by Michel Bertrane, the French wine consultant, to describe wines produced in Bordeaux in tiny quantities.The garagistes refers to a group of winemakers in the Bordeaux region, producing “Garage wine”. A group emerged in the mid-1990s in reaction to the traditional style of red Bordeaux wine, which is highly tannic and requires long ageing in the bottle to become drinkable. The garagistes developed a style more consistent with perceived international wine tastes. The essence of garage wines is that they are formulated around tiny yields, between 12 to 40 hectoliters per hectare, of the finest grapes from mature vines. The average is somewhere around 50 hectoliters per hectare. Meticulous care in the vineyard when harvesting ensure that only the best of the grapes survive to be picked at the optimum point of ripeness.

The first garagiste was probably Jean-Luc Thunevin of Château Valandraud. He was a bank employee before he set-up his winery; his first commercial vintage was in 1991. Such winemaking aims for maximum concentration and colour extraction while maintaining soft tannins. That means slow fermentation, lengthy skin contact and the pumping of oxygen into the must to accelerate its evolution. A minimum of 100 per cent new French oak is used. Le Pin, Valandraud, Mondotte, Marajollia and others pull in high Parker points and high prices. Many wine writers think that garage wines are a prime example of emperor’s new clothes syndrome, and the overpriced wines are charged for gullible collectors.