Trophy for Best Red Wine of Show - 2023 Global Fine Wine Challenge *
Trophy for Best Pinot Noir of Show - 2023 Global Fine Wine Challenge *
* The Global Fine Wine Challenge is an annual competition between five 'new world' winemaking nations - Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada. It showcases the best of the best of each country, with one leading wine writer from each country selecting 120 of its best wines to compete. Huon Hooke selects our wines.
Giant Steps have ventured to Coal River in Tasmania, almost as far south (and as cold) as you can go in Australia, to make this Pinot Noir. Despite the cool temperatures, the sunlight hours are long and intense, resulting in a powerful Pinot Noir of amazing density and concentration. The wine is named after 'The Fatal Shore', a historical novel published in 1986 by Australian author and art critic Robert Hughes, which delves into the dark history of Tasmania's colonisation.
"This leaps from the glass with its heady aromas of red raspberries, wild strawberries and redcurrant. Brightly fruited yet nicely balanced with gently persistent tannins and refreshing acidity, it's so delicious from the get-go, you really can enjoy this now but know that it will still be looking good 5-7 years from now." Philip Rich
Fruit for the 2022 Fatal Shore Pinot Noir comes from the Nocton vineyard in Coal River Valley and is farmed by Giant Step's grower partners in the Valley. The grapes are picked and shipped overnight to the Giant Steps winery in the Yarra Valley to be processed the next day. The Nocton Vineyard is located on a northeast-facing slope that is planted to three clones - MV6, D5V12 and G8V3.
"Hand picked, straight into a refrigerated container parked on the vineyard. The fruit is then immediately driven to Devonport and sailed across Bass Strait so we receive it at the winery the following morning. The fruit was destemmed and cold soaked for three–four days in open oak vats and open stainless steel fermenters. The MV6 (from the top of the hill) was fermented as whole bunches in an oak fermenter. Both parcels were matured in French oak – 25% new, 75% older – for eight months in 225L barriques D&J, Vicard and Taransaud. Racked to blend, no fining, no filtration. Bottled by gravity." Giant Steps
"Deep-ish red with a good strong tint of purple; very correct ripe cherry aromas, clean and bright. The wine is rich and ripe with abundant dark cherry flavours laced with subtle spices, and the palate is full, fruit-sweet and rounded, with ample soft fine tannins and highly appealing flavours that linger on well. This will reward some cellar time. Drink: 2024–2036." Huon Hooke, The Real Review - 96 points
"From the Nocton vineyard in Coal River Valley. Hand picked into a refrigerated container by 10.30am to make the boat to the mainland. The 60% MV6 clone is whole bunches and the 40% D5V12 clone is fully destemmed. All barriques, 20% new. A bright crimson red, this leaps from the glass with its heady aromas of red raspberries, wild strawberries and redcurrant, a little potpourri and spices such as mace and pink peppercorns. Brightly fruited yet nicely balanced with gently persistent tannins and refreshing acidity, it's so delicious from the get-go, you really can enjoy this now but know that it will still be looking good 5-7 years from now. Drink by 2030." Philip Rich, Halliday Wine Companion - 95 points
"The Tasmanian excursion for Giant Steps. Coal River Valley site. The grapes are picked, shipped straight over, and processed at the Giant Steps winery in the Yarra Valley the next day. 'All of the fruits', winemaker Mel Chester says. She's 100% spot on here. Fresh, bold, refreshing, floral, blue and red berries, lots of oak spice through the aftertaste, eager as all hell through the mid palate but then measured and controlled through the back half. 94 in a heart beat. Love pinot, buy pinot. It tightens and becomes smokier through the finish but there's so much flavour here, so much energy, and it's well sustained. This is a super release. Drink: 2024 - 2030+." Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front - 94+ points
Trophy for Best Red Wine of Show - 2023 Global Fine Wine Challenge
Trophy for Best Pinot Noir of Show - 2023 Global Fine Wine Challenge
Coal river vineyard
Nocton Vineyard (Coal River Valley)
The Coal River Valley lies over the Meehan Range East of Hobart and rolls down to the Southern Ocean; remote and wild are the images conjured up when visiting this pristine agrarian region, first farmed in the early 1800s. Our Pinot Noir is farmed by our grower partners in the Coal River Valley and made in our winery in Healesville.
In our obsession with Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs from great Pinot-growing areas around the world, we have gone almost as far south (and as cold) as you can go in this country. Despite the cool temperatures, the sunlight hours are long and intense and we are intrigued by the depth of palate and colour that is possible from this landscape. While it is made with the Giant Steps' gentle winemaking approach, the result is clearly a world apart in terroir. The Pinot Noir from the Nocton vineyard has amazing density and texture, with powerful weight and concentration.
Location: Meehan Range
Aspect: North-east facing
Size: 34 hectares
Soil Type: Calcareous and Triassic sandstone
Pinot Noir Clones: MV6, D5V12, G8V3
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.
Tasmania is a small island located below mainland Australia. It produces less than 1% of Australia’s wine but enjoys a global reputation as a leading producer of premium cool climate wines. It is prized for its top-class sparkling wine, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.
Tasmania is home to more than 230 wineries across 7 wine regions*. The reigions Coal River Valley, East Coast, Pipers River and Tamar Valley produce around 90% of Tasmania's wine, while the other three regions Derwent Valley, Huon Valley and North West produce the remaining 10%. * Please note these 7 wine areas are considered here to be subregions of Tasmania to aid site navigation.
Tasmania is the coldest wine State in Australia. Its climate is temperate, with a distinct maritime influence from the Tasman Sea to the east, Bass Strait to the north and the Indian Ocean to the west. Summer days are temperate while winter sees some of the coldest temperatures in Australia. It's unique climate and soils combine to create ideal growing conditions for cool-climate grape varieties.