'Garage wine' stands on the Bordeaux divide

'Garage wine' stands on the Bordeaux divide News Wine News
  • Thursday 12 April 2001

Bordeaux is eagerly awaiting the verdict on the first garagiste wine to arrive on the so-called 'Left Bank' of the region.

As American wine guru Robert Parker releases his Bordeaux scores for the 1999 vintage later this month (April 00), the eyes of many top Chateaux owners will be focused on his appraisal of a wine from Marojallia, a two-hectare property in Margaux.

Until now, garage wines - a derogatory term given to a growing crop of new wave wines usually made in chai the size of a large garage - has been very much a Right Bank phenomenon.

Although jealous of their high prices, most traditional Medoc winemakers have accepted their presence on the condition that they (les garagistes) stick to their own side of the river. Marojallia has just broken that rule.

The wine is made by Murielle Andraud - the partner of Valandraud main man Jean-Luc Thunevin (above) – and is a 50:50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot made from four different plots of very low-yielding, high-density vines.

'I'm 100 per cent sure that whatever Parker says, the price will be high' says Jean-Guillaume Prats of Cos d'Estournel. 'I am sure it will cause a reaction - the First Growths will probably get together and ask each other what they should do,' he adds.

Yet according to Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux, a reaction (of the price-raising variety) would be a mistake. 'This wine (Marojallia) is part of a very specific phenomenon that is a completely different market to ours. Frankly, I am not worried by it at all,'he says.

Should Marojallia receive the thumbs up from the world's most influential wine critic, it is likely that more garages will be popping up in the traditional heartland of Bordeaux.

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