Giant Steps is a privately owned, estate based, Yarra Valley vineyard and winery. Over the years, Giant Steps has forged a reputation for delivering some of Australia's most consistent, over-performing, varietal wines. As such, they have received global acclaim and established a strong reputation in restaurants and fine wine stores around the world.
Wombat Creek Vineyard is the highest altitude vineyard in the Yarra Valley, making it an ideal location for the production of extreme cool climate wines. The vineyard was originally planted in 1988. The underlying ferrous (red) based volcanic soil and rock produce a distinctively soft yet long and firm palate
Good winter rains left the ground with a healthy amount of 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.
Hand picked and whole bunch pressed without additions. Course settled to 500L French puncheons. Indigenous fermentation. Batonnage for the first month, then topped and let rest (maturing) for a further 8 months on lees. New and used tight grain French oak – 20% new, 80% older. Coarse filtration only. Bottled by gravity.
A restrained nose, then leading into a palate of fine white peach, lightly grilled macadamia and sprightly acidity.
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.
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
At 420m Wombat Creek is the highest vineyard site in the Yarra Valley, with a gentle northeast-facing slope of volcanic red soil. The vinification sees the wine bottled by gravity, not fined and only coarse-filtered, as is the case with its siblings. Although the acidity is not adjusted (like its siblings), it feels softer and fruitier, pink grapefruit at work.
Super fine aromas of limes and chamomile with hints of beeswax, apple pie crust, pears and white-almond paste. The palate has a very sleek, steely and resolute line of mouthwatering fruit, cast in the lime and white-peach zone. Super fine and long. Wow! Drink or hold. Screw cap.
MIKE BENNIE - THE WINE FRONT
Planted in 1988, it makes it one of the older vineyards in the program of Giant Steps. This used to be fertile ground for sparkling wine, particularly Yarra Bank (Yering Station) fizz, but the vineyard has been changed up for table wines. This vineyard is one of, if not the highest vineyards in the Yarra at 405-plus metres above sea level. This was my favourite chardonnay of all the 2018 releases (well, alongside Ocarina) though I saw it as level-pegged to Sexton Vineyard. It had the most je ne sais quoi. Scents of flint and wet slate, wet fern, green apple. Nice start, says something about restraint and minerality in its way. Crisp and cool in the palate, transparent, light but steely and assertive in texture and pristine. The wine develops some juiciness after time, green apply sort of feel, a touch peppery, saline, flinty finish maintains as a strength. A quiet power here, lots of character and architecture, and, importantly, sense of deliciousness and refreshment. Super individual and super. 95+ Points.