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Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

Chardonnay from Yarra Valley, Australia
  • JH96
  • RP92
  • WS92
  • WE92
  • W&S90
13% ABV
  • JH96
  • W&S92
  • JH95
  • JS94
  • WS91
  • RP91
  • 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 96
Australian Wine Companion
Light straw-green; has considerable attitude, with elements of grapefruit and a touch of Burgundian funk driving the palate through to a long, lingering and satisfying finish.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
e 2012 Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay has notes of ripe apricots, honeydew melon and guava with hints of cashews, meal and allspice. Light to medium-bodied, there is a pleasant suggestion of silkiness to the texture along with racy acid and some mineral layers in the long finish. Approachable now, it is best to drink 2014-2019+.
Rating: 92+
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Crisp, vibrant and expressive, layered with nectarine, grapefruit and white pepper flavors, finishing with intensity, length and deft balance. Drink now through 2020.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
The centerpiece of Phil Sexton’s current venture (he previously founded and sold both a brewery and a winery) is this single vineyard, from which he makes a Pinot Noir and this wine. The 2012 Chard is a bold yet elegant wine, filled with grilled pineapple and citrus fruit and framed by hints of toasted nuts, vanilla and graphite.
W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
The richest of the three Giant Steps chardonnays from 2012, Sexton grows at a vineyard neighboring Yarra Yering and Coldstream Hills. It’s more about roundness of texture than flavor depth at the moment. If you open it now, the light notes of ripe grapes and toasted grain will meld with roast fish in a cream sauce.
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Giant Steps

Giant Steps

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Giant Steps, Yarra Valley, Australia
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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 climate 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.

Chardonnay

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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 is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy 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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

PIN358501_2012 Item# 142983