Giant Steps has taken its own giant steps, in this case from the Yarra Valley to New Zealand’s Central Otago, in pursuit of an entirely healthy obsession with single-vineyard Pinot Noir. The TOSQ Vineyard, certified organic, is tucked into a corner of the Pisa district, close to the Wanaka-Cromwell Highway. It is on sheltered river and glacial terraces and the rain-shadow effect of the Pisa Range means that the average annual fall of 400mm is one-third less than that of the Queenstown and Wanaka basins.
Small berries and small bunches lead to ‘incredible’ fruit intensity and purity. Vinification takes place in small, open fermenters with a high proportion of whole bunch inclusion. After four weeks of post-ferment maceration, and pressing, the wine is transported in bulk to the Giant Steps Yarra Valley winery for completion of malolactic fermentation and maturation in 228 litre barriques, 25% new, before bottling without fining or filtration. The vineyard name comes from the initials of the Thompson family -- Thommo, Oscar, Sue and Quinn -- who own and manage it.
Giant Steps via Central Otago? Giant Leaps, though Tasmania is under their charter now too of course. Produced at Maude winery with guidance from Steve Flamsteed. It’s 100% whole bunch, which is a bit wild for Central Otago. Tosq is also an organic (certified) vineyard, as is Maude production, as is Giant Steps winery, so organic appears on label with force.
Peppery/brambly characters seasoning ripe red cherry fruit – a pretty start. Lots of scent. Bright flavours, pretty here too, satiny texture with cool red cherry fruit characters, lick of cranberry, splash of tangy pomegranate, lively feel and a creep of firm tannins for shape. A vibrant and lifted CO pinot. It’s amazing how outsiders interpret the region and seem to excel. Really lovely wine, is the message anyway.
93 points, The Wine Front (February 2019)
Central Otago, located at the southern end of the South Island of New Zealand, is the world’s most southerly wine region. In a short amount of time, the area has established itself as a world-class region for Pinot Noir. The picturesque region is surrounded by mountains ensuring a cool semi-continental climate that experiences a large diurnal range contributing to the creation of intensely concentrated wines with perfume, and complexity. Central Otago’s vineyard area is divided into six distinct sub regions each with their own climate and wine style. Best known for producing intensely Fruity medium to full bodied Pinot Noir, Central Otago’s cool climate also produces outstanding Riesling as well as superb bottle-fermented Sparkling wines.