The 8.5ha Tarraford Vineyard is planted on grey clay-loam soils across north, south and east-facing slopes in the Tarrawarra area of the lower Yarra Valley. It was planted in 1988. The sheltered location is in a warmer part of the valley but enjoys a microclimate cooler than neighbouring sites. Chardonnay grown here has natural high acidity and typically shows persistent flavour, tight, fine structure and a zesty, lemon/grapefruit finish.
The grapes for this wine are picked early, by hand, for freshness, whole-bunch pressed and then fermented in 500 litre French oak puncheons using natural, indigenous yeasts. The wine spends another nine months on lees, in oak (20% new) with lees-stirring in the first month only. The wine undergoes a light filtration prior to bottling.
"This is the lowest altitude vineyard (100m) and the warmest site for Giant Steps chardonnay. The winemaking is almost a ‘control’ as described by Steve Flamsteed, winemaker. The gist is uniform application of winemaking. Vineyard planted 1988, which might be a thing too.
Delightful wine, cool and refreshing, slippery texture, pristine green apple, sweet lemon and green pear flavours, little puffs of talc-like texture in the midst, a bit of pleasing width here, you could call that quiet generosity. Drives beautifully across the palate, exceptional length, verity of grape flavour, purity in feel but depth. Sheesh, this feels great. Thing is, almost a touch too encyclopaedic, if anything!"
93 points, The Wine Front (May 2019)
Yarra ValleyThe Yarra Valley was first planted by the Ryrie brothers who explored a way through the Snowy Mountains to the Yarra Valley, planting grapes in 1838 just three years after the foundation of Melbourne. A wine industry (developed by Swiss Settlers particularly Hubert de Castella and Baron Guillaume de Pury in the 1850s) thrived during the gold rush era and heyday of the 19th century. However, the end of the gold rush brought the wine industry into decline and it was not until the 1970’s that the modern wine industry started up again. The region is probably Australia’s best-known cool-climate area, yet it is really a patchwork of meso-climates. This varied topography creates an incredible set of variables. Vineyards are planted on elevations of 50 to 400m on varying aspects and management programmes. The more exposed sites are subject to severe spring frosts and winds. Overall, the area experiences a relatively high rainfall pattern and is known for its temperature extremes during ripening. Site selection is crucial, with the best vineyards often located where the original vines were once planted, generally on sandy clay loams and gravels. The Yarra Valley is well known for high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Blends with Shiraz increasingly garnering attention. Sparkling wine production is also extremely important, with many of Australia’s finest examples produced in the region.