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Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay 2010

Chardonnay from Yarra Valley, Australia
  • JH95
  • JS94
  • RP91
  • WS91
  • W&S90
13% ABV
  • JH96
  • W&S92
  • V92
  • JH96
  • WS92
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • W&S90
  • RP91
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13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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JH 95
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.
JS 94
James Suckling
Natural yeast-driven aromas of curd, truffle and hazelnut. Mid-weighted and expansive, with a pliant texture. Sophisticated cool climate expression.
RP 91
Robert Parker's 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.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Spicy, elegant and complex, this is refreshing for its pear, pineapple and citrus flavors, hinting at nutmeg as this finishes with refinement.
W&S 90
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

Giant Steps

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Giant Steps, Yarra Valley, Australia
2010 Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay
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.

Yarra Valley

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As the most important area of wine production in Victoria today, the Yarra Valley is most popular for its Pinot noir and Chardonnay, which account for over half of vineyard acreage. A gentle, rolling and rural region alongside the Margaret River, the Yarra Valley has a cool maritime with a lengthy growing season, perfect for these cool-climate varieties.

The warmer, Lower Yarra Valley in the north has sandy loam soils and produces a plush and fruity Pinot noir. The cooler, higher-elevation Upper Yarra Valley in the south has the soils composed of younger, red basalt and produces more angular and mineral-driven Pinot noir.

Yarra Valley Chardonnay is among the best in Australia. The modern style is stony and flinty rather than fat and tropical. Malolactic fermentation is rare, but while barrel fermentation is common, barrel maturation is restrained to preserve the floral aromatics and fresh citrus flavors for which this area’s Chardonnay is so appreciated. The best Yarra Valley Chardonnays display brilliant acidity, leesy characteristics, sweet citrus, stone fruit and flavors of ginger and spice.

Shiraz and Cabernet find success in parts of this region as well.


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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

YNG293124_2010 Item# 118466