Thursday, April 25, 2019

Giant Steps 2018 New Releases

For some time, it has been difficult to know what you get in a bottle of Chardonnay you do not know. Is it crisp and refreshing or full-bodied, with butterscotch flavours? Similarly, with Pinot Noir, you may end up with a black fruit focussed wine or a more ethereal strawberry flavoured drop.

It is therefore good to know where different wine producers sit on the spectrum. This tasting of four Chardonnays and four Pinot Noirs gives clear answers for Giant Steps, and some insights into the terroir of the Yarra Valley.

The 2018 Giant Steps Chardonnay is Steve Flamsteed's entry level wine. It is a blend from his different vineyards.The wine is fresh, with green apple flavours, nicely balanced acidity, a bit on the lean side, but very agreeable (94 points). The Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay, from a warmer side on the valley floor, has a much bigger mouthfeel, but is a little broad (91 points). The Applejack Vineyard Chardonnay is from a site at higher elevation. The grey clay soil makes it hard for the vines. This a very lean and linear wine, with citrus flavours dominating (93 points). The Wombat Creek Vineyard Chardonnay is from a site a further 100m higher, and on deep red volcanic soil. Citrus and grapefruit flavours make this wine a bit more complex, with acidity playing a major role, too (94 points).

Clearly, Giant Steps Chardonnay is on the crisp and refreshing side. Interestingly, I found the entry level blend almost the best wine, as it combined the crispness of the altitude sites with the generosity of the valley floor. Single vineyard is not necessarily the best!

The Pinot Noir story is different. The entry level wine is a little soft, and a bit lean at the same time - the grapes not first rate (89 points). The Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir delivers dark cherry flavours, spice as well, and a generous mouthfeel (92 points). The Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir is more refined, with mushroom and forest floor flavours delivering complex and savoury sensations (94 points). The Wombat Creek Pinot Noir is quite different. The soil is probably responsible for the red cherry fruit, the altitude for a relatively lean, and perhaps too pretty mouthfeel( 93 points).

These Pinot Noirs are well made, but lack perhaps some impact on the palate.   

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