"In true Giant Steps style, the 2022 Single Vineyard release walks the line with swagger and palpable energy. Mel Chester hits it out of the park." Shanteh Wale
Giant Steps is recognized as a global benchmark for cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery was established in 1998, one year after founder Phil Sexton arrived in the Yarra Valley in search of ideal sites to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of purity and finesse. The Giant Steps Single Vineyard range is produced from the most site-expressive fruit off the best vineyards in great years.
"This is a magnificent wine and the best Giant Steps chardonnay I've tasted. A stunning bouquet of orchard and stone fruits, grilled nuts, white jasmine and marine scents. Just as complex on the intense yet perfectly balanced palate before finishing spicy, chalky and very long. Worth putting some away and worth every cent and more of the asking price!" Philip Rich
The Applejack Vineyard, named after the Applejack eucalypts that surround the vineyard, is located at Gladysdale in the upper Yarra Valley. It was planted in 1997 by respected viticulturist Ray Guerin and is meticulously managed by his son Mark. This vineyard was purchased by Phil Sexton in 2013. Located at an elevation of 320 metres, the higher altitude results in a cooler and extended growing season (3-4 weeks later than central Yarra valley) and is ideally suited to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Applejack Vineyard is located on a dramatic, north-east-facing slope with close-planted vines.
"100% hand picked and whole bunch pressed. The juice was then transferred directly to barrel by gravity with no settling, taking full gross lees. Wild fermented in 500L French oak puncheons. No bâtonnage. Maturation for 10 months in new and used French oak puncheons – 15% new, 85% older, Mercurey, Taransaud and Dargaud & Jaeglé." Giant Steps
"Only 2ha of the Applejack vineyard's 11ha is planted to chardonnay. The vineyard, planted at Gladysdale by Ray Guerin in 1997, is named for the Applejack eucalypts that surround it. Whole-bunch pressed straight to barrel with full solids, matured in 15% new puncheons. This is a magnificent wine and the best Giant Steps chardonnay I've tasted. Bright green gold. A stunning bouquet of orchard and stone fruits, grilled nuts, white jasmine and marine scents. Just as complex on the intense yet perfectly balanced palate before finishing spicy, chalky and very long. Worth putting some away and worth every cent and more of the asking price! Drink by 2027." Philip Rich, Halliday Wine Companion - 98 points and Special Value Wine ★
"Directly fed to the barrel by gravity and fermented on gross lees in 500L French oak puncheons. 10 months maturation in 15% new french oak and 85% in older oak. Scented white lilies, geranium and apple blossom. Lemon skin, white nectarine and custard apple. A flicker of flint, blue stone and grated ginger. Hemp seed, cashew and oyster mushroom. This is all about the powerful fruit weight supported by generous oak and a tightly compacted flavour palate. There is a lot of Chardonnay for your money here. Acidity is elevated and you can almost feel the fracture of crushed shale and basalt. This is a very impressive Applejack vintage and I’m enamoured. Drink now and put some aside to drink over the next 8-10 years. Drink with Mudcrab linguine." Shanteh Wale, Wine Pilot – 98 points
"Well this is apple-like, it’s not just the power of suggestion, it’s like biting into something cold and crunchy, lemonade and frozen meal, backed by nectarines, backed by nuts and stones. This dials back the intensity slightly, lifts the elegance, splays the flavours into a complex carpet, and then stretches its legs fully through the finish. It’s a stunning wine, and my pick of this year’s releases (by a whisker). Drink: 2025-2030+." Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front – 96+ points
"Lifted aromas of melon skin, grapefruit pith, wet stone, nougat, struck flint and just-ripe nectarine. Really complex. Fine and focused flavours of white stone fruit, citrus, minerals and nutty oak. Long and layered, it unfolds on the palate and acidity is pin-point. Very smart gear. Drink: 2023-2033." Aaron Brasher, The Real Review - 96 points
"This is the other leader of the pack, with the Sexton Vineyard. Wow! A near-vertiginous site in the Upper Yarra, underlain by basalt. Tighter, compact and nervous. Wild fermented, albeit, without the subtle application of malolactic that softens the other expressions. Perhaps a little less complex in its youth as a result, despite its mid-weight. As with all of these wines, the oak handling is exceptional. A lesson for others. Pistachio, curry leaf, lime blossom and vanilla accents jitter long. This will age exceptionally well, at which point the wine may be deserved of another point. Drinkable now, but best from 2026." Ned Goodwin MW, JamesSuckling.com - 95 points
Special Value Wine - Halliday Wine Companion ★
Applejack Vineyard (Upper Yarra Valley)
Applejack Vineyard is a special site, located on a dramatic slope in the upper Yarra Valley and is closely planted and fastidiously managed. It was planted by respected viticulturist Ray Guerin in 1997. The basalt based underlying volcanic soil and rock produce a characteristically fine yet extended, spicy and firm palate. The higher altitude results in a cooler and extended growing season, ideally suited to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (3-4 weeks later than central Yarra Valley). This vineyard joined the Giant Steps family of Single Vineyards in 2013.
Elevation: 320 metres
Size: 12.5 hectares
Soil Type: Grey clay loam
Chardonnay Clones: I10V1
Pinot Noir Clones: Abel, MV6, Pommard, 114, 115, D2V5, D5V15
About the winery
In 1997 Phil Sexton arrived in the Yarra Valley in search of ideal sites to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of purity and finesse. He was looking for sites with altitude, aged soils, slopes of exposure, regular rainfall and cool to cold nighttime temperatures and a gentle breeze off the protecting mountain ranges. The Giant Steps winery was established one year later in 1998.
The focus is on the production of high-quality, single-vineyard wines. The Giant Steps Single Vineyard range is produced from the most site-expressive fruit off the best vineyards in great years. Each single vineyard wine tells a story about the vineyard, vintage and variety. Production of these wines is very limited with some vineyards producing as little as 200 cases.
The single vineyards comprise the Sexton Vineyard in the Lower Yarra and the Applejack Vineyard in the Upper Yarra (both owned by Giant Steps), the Tarraford Vineyard in the Lower Yarra under long-term lease, the Primavera Vineyard in the Upper Yarra under long-term supervised contract and the Wombat Creek Vineyard owned by Hand Picked Wines. In addition, Giant Steps produce a Yarra Valley range of wines made from handpicked fruit from their estate vineyards. They are highly expressive wines, true to the regional characteristics of the Yarra Valley.
The Giant Steps wines have received global acclaim and are now recognized as a global benchmark for cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Since 2003 Giant Steps wines have been awarded 34 trophies and over 100 gold medals at major international and domestic wine shows and has been named one of the Top 100 Wineries in the World by US Wine & Spirits Magazine for each of the last six years.
Giant Step's success is due in no small part to Steve Flamsteed, Chief Winemaker since 2003. Steve had previously worked for Leeuwin Estate (1999 – 2002) and the Hardy Wine Company at their Yarra Burn Winery in the Yarra Valley (2002 – 2003). Steve was named Gourmet Traveller Wine 'Winemaker of the Year' in 2016. "Steve Flamsteed is a man of many talents with a finely tuned palate, an instinctive flair for winemaking and fastidious attention to detail. This shows particularly in the stunning single-vineyard chardonnays and pinots of Giant Steps: distinctive wines that reflect their sites and glow with impeccable finesse." Peter Forrestal, chairman of judges, Gourmet Traveller Wine Winemaker of the Year
Melanie Chester joined Giant Steps as Head of Winemaking and Viticulture in 2021. She came to Giant Steps from Sutton Grange Winery in Central Victoria, where she was Head Winemaker. In 2014, Melanie became the youngest ever scholar selected for The Len Evans Tutorial. In 2015, she was named Young Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine, and in 2018, Melanie was recognized by Young Gun of Wine as the People's Choice award winner for favourite winemaker.
Giant Steps was acquired by the Jackson Family in 2020. The Jackson Family own a vast stable of wineries in California (Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Monterey County, Santa Barbara and Oregon), Australia (Yarra Valley and McLaren Vale), Chile, France, Italy and South Africa.
Victoria is home to more than 800 wineries across 21 wine regions. The regions are Alpine Valley, Beechworth, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, Glenrowan, Goulburn Valley, Grampians, Heathcote, Henty, King Valley, Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Murray Darling, Pyrenees, Rutherglen, Strathbogie Ranges, Sunbury, Swan Hill, Upper Goulburn and Yarra Valley.
Victoria's first vines were planted at Yering in the Yarra Valley in 1838. By 1868 over 3,000 acres had been planted in Victoria, establishing Victoria as the premier wine State of the day. Today, the original vineyards planted at Best's Wines are among the oldest and rarest pre-phylloxera plantings in the world.
Victoria's climate varies from hot and dry in the north to cool in the south and each wine region specialises in different varietals. For example, Rutherglen in the north is famous for its opulent Muscats and Topaque and bold reds, while the many cooler climate regions near Melbourne produce world class Chardonnay and pinot Noir. Victoria is truly a wine lover's playground.