Garage Wines

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

garage wines, unofficial, late-20th-century term for wines made with ambition in such small quantity that a garage would suffice as winery. Their makers have been known as garagistes. Although the term is now used globally, the phenomenon was first observed on Bordeaux’s right bank, with miniature wine estates producing ultra-modern, deep-coloured, early-maturing, often sweet, oaky, flattering reds typically produced in quantities of a few hundred cases from low yields, careful selection, malolactic conversion in barrel, 15 to 18 months of 100% new barrel maturation, minimal filtration, and, often, Michel rolland as consultant oenologist. Le pin in Pomerol was the archetype, and is the only one to have experienced sustained demand. As Le Pin’s prices soared in the 1990s, a host of garage wines appeared in St-Émilion (where there is more available land than in most smart Bordeaux appellations) in the late 1990s. Demand for such wines waned considerably in the 21st century and prices continued to slide in the mid 2000s.