Giant Steps Yarra Valley

News, Reviews

Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

2017 Single vineyard reviews

2017 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Chardonnay
Rated : 95+ Points
First Applejack chardonnay that Giant Steps has done. Isolated for its personality. It’s been seen as a single vineyard wine, but normally blended into the ‘Yarra’ wine. Steve Flamsteed et al saw that something special, and they weren’t wrong. How good is intuitive winemaking? Numbers can go hang, here. What a belter. Phwoar.
Parisian almond, lemon rind, grapefruit juice, faint wet slate notes. Saline tang to acidity, some light creaminess of savoury nuttiness though the mainstay is a core of blisteringly fresh tart fruit flavour underlying. Incredible velocity and freshness, character, complexity, nerviness. Beautiful, super thing.

2017 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay
Rated : 93+ Points
Mendoza clone here. A fuller figured wine typically. Applejack’s stout but jolly friend, and just as well groomed. Great to hear of the winemaking practices applied to these wines from Steve Flamsteed, winemaker of Giant Steps. Universal application, minimal intervention, natural fermentation, left alone save topping up and some lees stirring. Definitely broad minded approach to wine, not following a dogma of science lab numerics to find the lit path to fine wine.
Smoke, almonds, flint, spice, ozone character, tropical lemon-lime citrus character, green apple whiffs. Light creaminess, has a fuller figure yet that’s all corseted together with chalky puffs of ‘mineral’ feel and the belt of green mango acidity. Generous flavours, you could say, certainly stains the palate well, perhaps needing some time to all come together completely. Still, has mojo. Good chardonnay here.

2017 Giant Steps Tarraford Vineyard Chardonnay
Rated : 94 Points
Warmest of all the sites of Giant Steps coterie of vineyards. Shows in the extra generosity in this wine, but it’s by a degree, and you’d likely have to be tasting them side-by-side as myself and GW had the pleasure of doing. Still, it’s got some pep. Get up and go chardonnay.
Ripe apple, lemon curd, scents of faint, wet stones. Palate is ample, juicy, almost fleshy but for the licks of minerally tartness of acidity. Has some white chocolate notes, almost the texture of just melted chocolate bar, soft and long, stains the palate gently, the finish perky and fresh. It’s one of those lip-licking, moreish chardonnays, and will be hard to put down. Yep.

2017 Giant Steps Wombat Creek Vineyard Chardonnay
Rated : 94 Points
Pack a few drongos into the bunged up ute, mate, we’re sucking back tinnies all the way to Wombat Creek, ya flamin’ galah. Almost the last fruit that comes into the Giant Steps winery. Altitude, age of vines, new vineyard, all conspiring here. Stellar new release. Chardonnay looks tops from 2017.
Flint, halva, faint wet stone notes, some green apple, some faint buttery notes. Clatters through the palate, lively and refreshing, shows some leesy nuttiness, cool acidity staying perky and alert through the wine. Finishes with incredible velocity of acidity, tart and citrus rind feeling, with a faint stain of malty-nougat stuff. Live wire, interesting, good.

2017 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir
Rated : 96+ Points
“I reckon a really good year for Applejack”, says winemaker Steve Flamsteed, “rain came every ten days and just kind of kept everything very fresh”. He isn’t wrong. Such a lovely, thoughtful, progressive thinking human too. No wonder Giant Steps is at top of their game.
Acid driven, light and fragrant style, has that sense of sleekness from fine pinot tannins yet is tightly wound, coiled and precise as it rolls through the palate. Red currants, cranberry, smoke and sweet earth to sniff on. Savoury edged red fruit to taste. Balanced, lithe, very finely wrought. Such elegance, and, importantly, incredible sense of energy in the wine. Now we can use the word outstanding.

2017 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir
Rated : 93 Points
Warmer site, about 180 metres above sea level. One of the ‘classic’ Giant Steps sites. Steve Flamsteed says the 2017 vintage is one of his favourites, though that’s kind of a silly word. It’s a very good year for his hands-off mode of winemaking, is more the point.
Ripe cherry, red berry, faint meatiness, rose hip tea. Sets itself off on a darker, fuller path for pinot. Plush in the palate, dark chocolate and amaro, red berries, fine bitterness to finish with a smudge more bitter-dark chocolate. Mouthwatering, hunger-setting stuff. Fuller figured here. Breathy even. Nice though. Real nice. The ‘generous one’.

2017 Giant Steps Wombat Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir
Rated : 95 Points
Gladysdale vineyard, originally for sparkling though the clone is MV6. Some whole bunch in the mix too. One of the more mature vineyards in the Yarra, early 1980s planting. Wombat Creek sounds like something off a 1980s Australian soap opera.
Pretty, voluminous perfume, loaded with sweet red berry fruits, spiked with green herbs, undergrowth, briar, touch of truffle/mushroom. Silky in the palate, great volume of flavour, squeakiness through the finish, mouthwatering too. Has good concentration, mouth perfume even, floats through its long finish. Superb wine, delicious drinking.