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 with the intention of producing base wine for sparkling production but over the years has been gradually transitioned to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for table wine. The underlying ferrous (red) based volcanic soil and rock produce a distinctively soft yet long and firm palate that contrasts with the finer palates seen from the nearby Applejack Vineyard (basalt based volcanic).
A fantastic Spring with highly successful flowering allowed us 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. The resulting wines have lower alcohol, but similar acid levels to the 2017, but with a little more tannin structure.
All the 18 Pinots have lovely perfume, colour and a very generous mouthfeel. Hand-picked without additions. Picked in 2 parcels, in both cases 20% was destemmed to the base of the vat to commence a "pied de cuve" ferment. The vats were then filled to the brim with whole bunches and closed up to allow a semi carbonic maceration to occur. After the vats were clearly fermenting a small amount of juice from the base was splashed back over the top of each vat.
Occasional foot stomps were done to release a little more juice into the ferment and extend the time on skins. Pressed after 2 weeks to new and used 228L tight grain French barriques for 10 months – 18 % new, 82% older. Bottled by gravity with no fining or filtration.
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.
Wow. This is complex and structured with dried strawberries and fresh flowers. Full body. Wonderful depth and intensity. The texture is so impressive. Give it time, but hard not to drink it. Screw cap.
MIKE BENNIE - THE WINE FRONT
Whoa, hold onto your hat here, powerful whiffs of green herb, white pepper, faint mezcal, just ripe red cherry. Palate is light, glossy, silky but defined with talc-like tannins, sour-sweet flavours, green herbs, pepper again. Strong whole bunch kind of character, refreshing, fine, tat-work-lacy, sleek. Sheesh, this is a good and unique feel.