"In our obsession with Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs from great Pinot growing areas around the world, we have gone as far south (and as cold) as you can go in this country. Despite the cool temperatures, the sunlight hours are long and intense and we are intrigued by the depth of palate and colour that is possible from this landscape. While it is made with the Giant Steps gentle winemaking approach, the result is clearly a world apart in terroir."
Welcome to the old 'south-of-the-border' experiment from Steve Flamsteed and the team behind the Yarra Valley's ultimate terroir custodians, Giant Steps. Except, this ain't any old experiment, and this ain't any old wine to slap onto the portfolio. This is, objectively by sheer weight of score and positive reaction, the best ranked Australian Pinot that has come across the MWG tasting bench.
If you can imagine the detail and purity of fragrance and mouthfeel of the Giant Steps single vineyard Yarra Valley range wines, and extend that across the deeply cold and challenging conditions of the Nocton vineyard in the Coal River Valley in Tasmania, then you are getting somewhere to understanding what a revelation this wine is. It's gobsmacking. So much flavour and persona.
With the 2019 Awards season and Wine Show line-ups just starting to roll out, you can expect to hear alot more about this wine. It's already been awarded 4 trophies at the Royal Queensland Wine Show, including a whopping 98 point score from the judges, but we feel that might just be the beginning. Get on this wine as the allocations are going to be TIGHT.
Both clones were fermented separately in small open oak vats. 100% whole bunch, Indigenous yeast. Daily drains by gravity were splashed back onto the cap to maintain a constant ferment. Some pigeage (foot stomping) towards the end of ferment. Matured in 228 L barriques, 25% new. Coopers D & J and Taransaud. Bottled by gravity with no fining or filtration
Vintage Conditions - Southern Tasmania also had a fantastic Spring with highly successful flowering so again we were able to shoot thin and cluster select down to one bunch per shoot. The whole ripening season was a little earlier than average and despite some good January rain, the overall growing season was relatively dry. We picked fruit with lower sugars but with beautiful flavour and stem ripeness. This allowed us to go for the maximum whole bunch inclusion in our ferments. The 2018 Nocton Pinot fruit was highly perfumed and delicate (the D5V12 clone was an important component of the blend) and the flavours are rich and long .
Giant Steps is an independent winery in Healesville, Victoria, owned by Phil Sexton. Phil first made his name in establishing some noted micro-breweries, such as Little Creatures, and later established Devil’s Lair in Margaret River. First released in 2001, Giant Steps focuses exclusively on the distinctive expression of single vineyard sites in the Yarra Valley. Grapes are drawn from estate and leased vineyards, as well as a selection of long-term contracted vineyards. Giant Steps wines are produced fastidiously in the vineyard and vinified with minimal intervention so that each is a faithful expression of site, vintage and culture. Giant Steps focuses on restrained Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and cool climate Cabernet/Merlot blends. These single vineyard wines are sourced from five different vineyards throughout the Yarra, so each is a fingerprint of location and site personality. The name Giant Steps comes in part from Phil’s love for jazz and John Coltrane’s album of that same name, and in part due the Giant Step Phil took in relocating with his family from Margaret River to the Yarra Valley. Giant Steps wines are always exclusively single vineyard Yarra Valley wines. They are hand made in small batches using gravity flow principles. Production of the Giant Steps wines is very limited with some vineyards producing as little as 200 cases each vintage – some wines are not produced each year if vintage conditions do not allow. These wines are often hard to find in retail outlets as they are mainly sold through the cellar door and through selected restaurants.
KEN GARGETT - EXPLOREDRINKS.COM
Made from a mix of MV6 and D5V12 clones, this is a stunning wine, but a rather deceptive one. First whiff, first taste, and nothing really jumps out. A few moments later, all manner of complexities and characters start to filter through. An array of perfumes emerge. Dark cherries, plums, warm earth, tobacco leaf, beetroot and more. A wine which manages to offer depth and gravitas at the same time as it sings like a Disney classic. This single vineyard wine is utterly seamless, hedonistically textured and has great length, throughout which the intensity never wavers for a moment. A Pinot which will undoubtedly age, but it really is hard to imagine that many bottles will get that opportunity
RALPH KYTE-POWELL - THE REAL REVIEW
The quest for the best sources of Australian pinot noir sometimes leads winemakers well out of familiar territory. This is a case in point. Top notch Yarra Valley pinot producers Giant Steps crossed Bass Strait to create this outstanding young wine from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley, and the result is superb. It’s a deeply coloured drop, very perfumed with floral and forest herb touches to a core of red berry and plum fruit. It has lovely flow in the mouth, plump feel and superb poise, with excellent balance and a deliciously sustained finish.
HUON HOOKE - THE REAL REVIEW
Deep red colour with a good tint of purple, and a lovely aromatic bouquet which frames raspberry, dark cherry and herbal whole-bunchy nuances. The wine is fleshy and supple, with lovely texture thanks to its fine, glycerol-enhanced mouthfeel. The wine is intense and deep, beautifully balanced and long, with an utterly delicious array of flavours. (Top wine, 2019 Queensland Wine Show, Brisbane)
Medium in weight, smooth and supple, it’s scented with rose petals, red cherries, raspberries and a musky hint of potpourri. Silky and seamless, gently oaked and shapely, it finishes with freshness and a hint of licorice.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
With Tasmania and Central Otago in the bag, surely it can’t be too long until there’s an Oregon or Pommard Giant Steps. That’s one small step for Flammo, one giant leap for mankind. Plum jam, cherry, perfumed and floral, spice, smoke and clay. It’s juicy and bright, no shortage of flavour, yet keeps itself neat and spicy. Tannin is fine grained, tight and sweetly stalky, acidity like fresh raspberries, and a fresh and flavoursome finish of very good length. Beautifully made. Fun to drink. 93+ Points
ROYAL QUEENSLAND WINE SHOW 2018
97 Points - Champion Wine of Show
Trophy - Best Pinot Noir of Show, Royal Queensland Wine Show 2019
Trophy - Best Single Vineyard Red, Royal Queensland Wine Show 2019
Trophy - Best Red Table Wine of Show, Royal Queensland Wine Show 2019
Trophy - Champion Wine of Show, Royal Queensland Wine Show 2019