Giant Steps, Yarra Valley
Giant Steps Sexton Pinot Noir, Giant Steps Sexton Chardonnay, Giant Step Sexton Harry’s Monster Cabernets, Giant Steps Sexton Pinot Noir Dijon Clones 114 and 115, Giant Steps Sexton Chardonnay Bernard Clones 95 and 96
Giant Steps was established by Phil Sexton, one of Australia’s great drinks entrepreneurs, the founder of Devil’s Lair and the owner of the cultish Little Creatures Brewery. The name Giant Step derives from the enormous stride taken in moving across the Nullarbor to Victoria and starting all over again. Or perhaps it’s after Coltrane’s album Giant Steps. It’s a good name.
The 115 acre vineyard which rises to around 335 metres is located in the Yarra Valley and lies on rocky gravel over clay. The vineyard is planted to around 8 clones on the cooler lower slopes. Yields are low at under 1.5 tonnes per acre. The Pinot Noir is hand picked and sorted. The fruit is de-stemmed and lightly crushed allowing roughly 25% whole bunches into the must. It’s then cold soaked and inoculated with cultured yeast prior to a very warm fermentation. Partial carbonic maceration occurs in the whole berries before they split resulting in more aromas and flavour complexity. Plunging down is by hand. The wine is generally batch vinified. 10% of the wine is allowed to complete fermentation in barrel to further increase textural and aroma complexity. The wine is matured in Barrel for roughly 11 months. The Chardonnay is barrel fermented, some components with wild yeasts, and aged in oak for 12 months before release.
Phil Sextons says, “We seek to grow fruit and ultimately make wine that is less overt and obvious than is encouraged in Australia. We look for structure and length rather than breadth; finesse rather than largesse, and above all, fruit rather than artefact.”
The hugely impressive and generously natured Steve Flamsteed co-makes the wine. The Giant Steps Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are probably the most evocative and stylish wines. However it also produces as a nice cool climate Shiraz and single variety Merlot. Under the Sexton label – a micro-cuvee type brand – it also produces the wonderfully named Harry’s Monster, a Bordeaux Blend named after Phil and Allison Sexton’s son Harry and special bottlings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Giant Steps has an emerging presence in the secondary wine market. But anything with Sexton’s name behind it guarantees something really interesting and worthwhile. All wines are sealed with screw cap.
Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's