Yarra Valley based vineyard owner Phil Sexton breezed through Brisbane with a swag of single vineyard wines under his prime brand Giant Steps.
Phil’s story goes that now he has vineyards or vineyard sources with mature vines (planted 1976-1997), or plants in those places were the winemaking team have a handle on the way the wines are expressed.
But it all seems relative; we had Bruce Tyrrell through last week showing his centurion Hunter Valley wines-semillon and shiraz from plants 100 years or more.
The other interesting issue is that the company has now focussed strongly on single vineyard wines; and I was attending a pre-release party where guests bought in advance.
As chef cum winemaker Steve Flamsteed exclaims “in 2008 it was an era where we were grounded with these grapes, but from this great year 2010, we are flying”.
2010 was a year when ripeness came at quite low sugars so that these wines have little or no mouth hotness-say yes to lower alcohol here.
Chardonnays came from three sites: Sexton, Tarraford and Arthurs Creek.
Giant Steps Sexton Chardonnay2010; 13% (USD 36.75); ++++; lovely complex nose mixture, oak char, aroma power, taste has tempered richness, enjoyably a great creamy texture leading into fineness, lovely final tastes. 230-310m.
Steve notes this vineyard is on shallow, sandy soil over clay, and roots have now settled through that lower layer to give the vine balance he wishes. Note the low alcohol.
Giant Steps Tarraford Chardonnay 2010; 13% (USD 42); +++++; wow, restrained nose, lemon fruit, understated feral bits, palate is what does it for me-longer finish of the three, dries but holds on so long, that’s what full body is about. 100m.
Giant Steps Arthur’s Creek Chardonnay 2010; 13% (USD 47.25); +++; big nose which mutes, palate very fine and very drying, probably a young wine very closed up (should not be scored); tastes simple but is just backward, will aged well until 2020. 170m, only two harvests in five years.
Pinot noirs come from Sexton, Tarraford, Gladysdale and Applejack vineyards.
Giant Steps Sexton Pinot Noir2010; 13% (USD 42); +++; meaty ferment aromas, sliver of new oak, top fruits, very closed and tight, best not scored due to is backwardness, not fleshy, more linear.
Giant Steps Tarraford Pinot Noir2010; 13% (USD 47.25); ++++; lots of whole bunch maceration aromas, wine with muscle, yet aromatic and sweet fruit on front of the mouth, lots of weight and extract; great flavours to muse on and very defining.
Giant Steps Gladysdale Pinot Noir2010; 13%; (USD 47.25);++++1/2; great aromatics meet the nose, very fruit sweet at first taste, lots of work with stalks and quite tannic, has the weight to carry the dryness, high on acid, stiff on oak; good little monster. 320m.
Giant Steps Applejack Pinot Noir 2010; 13.5%; (USD 52.50); ++++; very elegant, roses, perfume, raises the taste expectation, has style though very light bodied yet the high acid sustains the funk and the fruit flavour lift; extremely fine wine. 330m.
In conclusion owner Sexton said his main aim is a vineyard relationship-to have a continuum of grapes to make the types of wines that 2010 produced from these single origins.
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