"Visionary self-styled revolutionary…the brilliant Englishman, Jonathan Maltus, has proven that he can turn quite a qualitative trick in Bordeaux". Robert Parker Jnr
Jonathan Maltus came to prominence during the ‘garage’ movement which grew up around the village of Saint Emilion during the 1990’s. Fuelled by the democratization of the Right Bank by Robert Parker Jnr, during that period, winemakers with lesser resources than the Cru Classés competed to make wines that were modern in style and yet heavily influenced by Burgundy rather than Bordeaux – particularly in relation to vinification. These techniques - including double sorting, lees utilization and gravity transfer - have become almost obligatory for any Estate nowadays wanting to produce Fine Wine.
The term ‘garagistes’ was never intended by Michel Bettane to be a positive statement when he coined the term. It described more the size of the room required to make such small amounts of wines – but luckily it became synonymous with artisanal quality.
Therefore Saint Emilion’s role in being an ‘engine for change’ in fine winemaking is something that is central to Jonathan and our Estates’ whole approach – in both Saint-Emilion and Napa Valley.
Jonathan and Neil, surrounded by other ‘garagistes’ insisted on using every possible piece of technology to create riper, more modern wines that were still representative of Bordeaux. Since 2008 and the arrival of Olivier with his vineyard focus, winemaking has seen a lighter touch, in terms of ripeness and oak, the resulting wines being modern, powerful, and yet elegant.
Winemaking is the centre and heart of both Estates.