Crazy rare, wicked little clay-fermented Chardonnay from
Steve Flamsteed, Phil Sexton
and the team at
It's the second ever vintage, and like the 2017, will surely sell-out within a matter of weeks. This is a wine that is very easy to dig and not just because its named after a peculiar and oft-overlook Jazz instrument (or could it be a nod to Zelda: The Ocarina of Time which is currently the #1 rated video game of all time). Given the Giant Steps moniker, and Phil Sexton's love of Jazz, we will go with the former.
Handpicked fruit from the Gruyere , Sexton and Applejack vineyard's is wholebunch pressed and then transferred on solids to a 650L clay fermentation vessel, where it sits through the cooler Winter months. This wine sees no oak, and is thus one of the most perfect expressions of site and style. It's ripping with flavour and texture ; the mouthfeel awash with creamy lanolin and milk solids , while the nose is all crunchy green apple and scented with mandarin. This wine will leave your mouth agape, and reminds us all just how throught-provoking and benchmarking Steve and Giant Steps can be. Bravo.
Good winter rains left the ground with good subsoil moisture resources. Canopies were large and healthy and the fruit set was extraordinarily successful. We did a "green" fruit thin back to one bunch per shoot and the vine/fruit balance was perhaps the best we have seen in years. After a warm January, the flavours and skin ripeness came on very quickly. Even though days were warm, nights were cool. We picked very early to maintain fresh natural acidity and the Chardonnay bunches were turgid and pristine.
Handpicked in the morning and whole bunch pressed without additions. Transferred without settling (with full solids) to 650L ceramic egg vessels.Indigenous fermentation. After fermentation was completed, the eggs were topped and sealed for winter. No malolactic fermentation. No fining, no filtration. Bottled by gravity.
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.
MIKE BENNIE - THE WINE FRONT
Produced in ceramic eggs. Fruit is sourced from three vineyards under the care of Giant Steps. More imagination and execution from Steve Flamsteed and team, a near indefatigable force. This wine hangs out in egg from harvest to after winter, then is pretty much decanted into bottle with nothing added aside a splash of sulphur.Textural white of high interest and compelling drinkability ' light chalkiness, faint stoney characters meshed to green apple, ripe citrus and white chocolate notes. So much going on. The wine slips over the palate with ease, finds some good concentration of flavour, delivers inherent freshness. Dials up the chardonnay fruit character yet holds such essential purity then, again, that texture is such a charm and so unique. A wonderful expression. I'm in.'
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Hand-picked from the Applejack and Sexton Vineyards, whole-bunch pressed with full solids to 550l ceramic eggs for wild fermentation (no mlf), then sealed for winter, bottled by gravity with no fining or filtration. As natural as you can get.
Light straw colour with a complex, smoky, oatmealy bouquet - cashew nuts and almonds, very fine and taut and restrained. Irresistibly complex bouquet, but fresh as well. Lovely wine, with a long, warming finish.'