Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay 2010
Chardonnay from Yarra Valley, Australia
The nose offers aromas of fresh cream, white peaches, river stones, spearmint, curry leaf, and muesli. The palate is long and lush with beautiful chalkiness. Alongside a backbone of crisp and punchy acidity are notes of Granny Smith apple skins, green mango, and shortbread.
Australian Wine Companion - "Light straw-green; the Sexton Vineyard is estate-owned, planted on the slopes of the Warramate Hills (also known as Steels Range) with a northern aspect. It is a wine of intensity and complexity, the flavours rising in steps rather like the topography of the vineyard, each sip revealing a new flavour sensation."
James Suckling - "Natural yeast-driven aromas of curd, truffle and hazelnut. Mid-weighted and expansive, with a pliant texture. Sophisticated cool climate expression."
International Wine Cellar - "Pale yellow. Complex, intensely perfumed bouquet displays mineral-accented citrus and pear, with a strong iodine note and mounting spiciness. Juicy and light on its feet, offering energetic lime and orange flavors underscored by smoky minerality. Dry and focused, with excellent finishing clarity and persistence."
Wine Spectator - "Spicy, elegant and complex, this is refreshing for its pear, pineapple and citrus flavors, hinting at nutmeg as this finishes with refinement."
The Wine Advocate - "Coming from a single vineyard planted in 1997, the 2010 Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay received no malo-lactic, was fermented with wild yeast in barrel and matured 11 months in new (25%) and older French oak barriques. It offers pronounced aromas of ripe apricots and white peaches over green mango, oatmeal and honeyed toast. Medium bodied, it has a good concentration of stone fruit and toasty oak flavors with crisp acid and a long creamy finish."
Wine & Spirits - "Phil Sexton planted this vineyard on a north-facing slope in the Warramate hills, near Yarra Yering. He grew an elegant Chardonnay there in 2010, a cool, solid-infected wine with leesiness delivered through the spice, smoke and hazelnut tones of oak. The wine's fine acidity keeps it lifted and bright. For a heritage pork chop or other light, gamey white meats."
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Giant Steps Winery
Giant Steps is owned and operated by a small team - Phil, Allison and Harry Sexton. Their story starts 1600 miles and 23 years ago when Phil established the Devils Lair vineyard in Margaret River. He was joined there in 1990 by Allison, an American biochemist. Five years later, their son Harry was born. While they loved the wines they were producing, they dreamed of creating a small, specialized cool climate vineyard together, as a family, from scratch. In 1997, they sold Devils Lair and crossed Australia to a dream site on the slopes of Victoria's Yarra Valley, alongside benchmark cool climate vineyards they had long admired.
Great wine is made in the vineyard. At its best, it is like a fingerprint, inextricably linking the personality and mood of the land from which it has sprung. The Sextons feel their role as winemakers is to express the true character of the fruit, shepherding it through the winemaking process with minimum intervention. They seek to grow fruit and make wine that is less overt and obvious than is encouraged in Australia. They look for structure and length rather than breadth, finesse rather than largesse and above all, fruit rather than artifact. All work is done by hand, and they strive to grow the best fruit possible, whatever the cost.
About Yarra ValleyView a map of Yarra Valley wineries
A short drive from Melbourne, Yarra Valley is the oldest and most successful of Victoria's wine growing regions. The cool climate of the area makes it suitable for the popular varieties of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. Shiraz is also grown here and produces elegant and restrained wines, showing a different side to Australian wine.
Notable FactsProducers of the Yarra Valley have hit their stride when it comes to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Instead of striving to make wine like Burgundy or California, winemakers are crafting a Yarra Valley style, letting the grapes and the soil do the talking. Getting better each year, Yarra Valley is a region to watch.
About AustraliaLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.