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Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley, Australia
  • JH95
  • WS91
  • WE91
  • RP90
13.5% ABV
  • JH96
  • RP91
  • JH96
  • RP91
  • WS90
  • JH93
  • RP90
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Wonderfully intricate: powerful primary notes of wild blackberry, dried mushroom, mulberry bush with braised plum, cinnamon stick and sour cherry. Its focused and fine tannins are assisted by judicious Burgundian oak treatment.

Critical Acclaim

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JH 95
Australian Wine Companion
Very good colour, slightly deeper than Applejack; a vibrantly savoury pinot, with cherry-accented fruit woven through a spicy/foresty palate of excellent length and persistence. Will richly reward 5 years in the cellar.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Fresh and zingy, with a lively feel to the red berry and floral flavors, offering caramel and spice overtones that come together smoothly on the refined finish. Drink now through 2020.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
This north-facing slope planted to seven clones of Pinot Noir seems to produce better wines every year. The 2013 is medium-bodied yet creamy-textured and lush, with black cherry fruit framed by cedar and vanilla. It's silky and vibrant on the finish, making it a treat to drink already.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2013 Pinot Noir Sexton Vineyard is just a little reticent, offering subtle notes of black cherries, mulberries and wild thyme with underlying violet and black pepper hints. Medium-bodied, it offers plenty of pepper-laced black cherry flavor and a good grip from the chewy tannins and lively acid, though it's a little bitter toward the finish. Rating: 90+
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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.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

ULL576023_13_2013 Item# 142986