Giant Steps in the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2017
97 points. 2015 Giant Steps Lusatia Park Vineyard Chardonnay
A great Upper Yarra Valley vineyard now owned by De Bortoli. Lifted fruit blossom aromas with a wraith of barrel ferment; the palate is exquisitely balanced, with the classic white peach / grapefruit duo filling the mouth without even trying.
97 points. 2014 Giant Steps Tarraford Vineyard Chardonnay
The bouquet is arresting in its complexity, with a faint echo of funk, but the palate defines this wine, with its ripples and whirlpools of white peach, grapefruit and creamy cashew, all brought to a driving finish thanks to its natural acidity.
97 points. 2015 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir
Significantly deeper colour than prior vintages, likewise depth of fruit; the bouquet and palate are driven by black and red cherry fruit of exceptional generosity but teasing with an unusual touch of dark chocolate. Small wonder Giant Steps says this is its best vintage yet.
97 points. 2015 Giant Steps Lusatia Park Vineyard Pinot Noir
Superb colour; the ultra-fragrant/scented bouquet is picked up unceremoniously by the brilliant palate and dispatched to the boundary. Takes the concept of elegant generosity to another level with more movement in the chorus of red fruit flavours than you might think possible. This combines elegance with spicy, savoury intensity.
97 points. 2015 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir
Shares the superb colour of its siblings; here, generosity takes the stage with richness and tannins woven into the superabundant red and black fruit by invisible mending. A brilliant wine, by whatever standards you may choose, the lower Yarra Valley refusing to take a backwards step.
96 points. 2014 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay
You can’t make great wine by numbers, but the seamless balance of this wine stems from the perfect ripeness linked to its alcohol. Having taken on board the complex white flowers bouquet, it flows across the palate like a shower of confetti, dispensing stone fruit, grapefruit and splashes of balanced acidity.
96 points. 2015 Giant Steps Primavera Vineyard Pinot Noir
Another take on this great vintage, with savoury, spicy aromas and flavours surging over the bouquet and palate alike, putting whole bunch fermentation up in giant neon letters. The tangy, herbal, forest floor characters will always be the raison d'être of the wine, and I hope I’m around to see how this evolves over time.
95 points. 2015 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay
A complex, multi-message bouquet hinting of the (relative) richness of the palate; unashamedly lower Yarra Valley with layers of grapefruit and white peach flesh and skin.
95 points. 2015 Giant Steps Yarra Valley Chardonnay
An intense blend of grapefruit pith/zest/juice is coupled with shiny acidity on a palate that is a great example of the Yarra Valley’s ace in the hole with chardonnay: extreme length.
95 points. 2015 Giant Steps Yarra Valley Pinot Noir
Matured in French oak (25% new) for 11 months. Bright, full colour; the wine progressively shifts and builds ground from the bouquet through to the palate, finish and – in particular – the aftertaste, by which time the sheer power of the dark red/purple fruits takes hold. Balance in a bottle.
95 points. 2014 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir
The fruit profile of the Lower Yarra Valley is distinctly different to that of the Upper Yarra, but Flamsteed's touch is gentle in each case. Here the tannins are a little more evident, underpinning the savoury/spicy nuances to the fruit, oak less important. The strength of the wine is in its length and balance.
95 points. 2014 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir
The relatively light colour and perfumed bouquet are typical of this vineyard, as is the understated elegance and finesse of the palate, spicy/savoury red fruits and silky tannins in a back-up role.
95 points. 2014 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Merlot
Warmed for fermentation to start, once complete the fermenter sealed with water bags for three weeks maceration on skins, matured in French oak (40% new) for 17 months. This is near the very top of the merlot tree in Australia, needing no apology of any kind. Excellent colour, a come-hither bouquet and a palate alive with flowing cassis and plum fruit; the tannins are A-grade, the oak providing the frame for a perfect portrait of an oft-maligned variety.
95 points. 2014 Giant Steps Harry’s Monster
50% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon, 10% petit verdot from the Sexton Vineyard, fermented separately, then treated à la Sexton Merlot, blended Jan ’14 and matured in French oak (40% new) for 18 months. Pussyfooting with cabernet and merlot doesn’t pay off, especially where you have the depth and varietal clarity of the grapes here, the petit verdot providing a rock solid bridge between the two varieties.