2014 Giant Steps "Sexton Vineyard" Chardonnay Yarra Valley Victoria (Elsewhere $40+)

SKU #1275879 96 points James Halliday

 You can't make great wine by numbers, but the seamless balance of the wine stems from the perfect ripeness linked to its alcohol (or vice versa). Having taken on board the complex white flowers bouquet, it flows across the palate like a shower of confetti, dispensing stone fruit, grapefruit and splashes of balanced acidity.  (9/2015)

92 points Vinous

 Light yellow-gold. Complex scents of pear skin, peach pit, tangerine, chamomile and iodine, with a smoky mineral flourish building in the glass. Supple and expansive on the palate, offering intense, mineral-tinged citrus and orchard fruit flavors and hints of fennel and buttered toast. Shows a suave blend of richness and vivacity and finishes smoky, minerally and very long, leaving poached pear and Meyer lemon notes behind. (JR)  (3/2016)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 A firm, luscious Chardonnay from a hot, dry year in Yarra, this needs air to integrate its alcohol into layers of complex flavors, transforming that warmth into an overtone of sweet orange, while scents of pear skin and earth deepen the finish. The wine has enough intensity to match a veal roast.  (10/2015)

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "The nose offers aromas of grapefruit, dried apple, blanched almonds and struck flint mineral notes. The palate is long and lush with beautiful creaminess. Alongside a backbone of crisp and punchy acidity are notes of Granny Smith apple skins, stonefruits, citrus and shortbread. A luscious and complex wine from an excellent, low yeilding vintage. Natural winemaking philosophy, while making quality the priority. Minimal intervention in the vineyard. 100% hand-picked fruit. 100% indigenous wild yeast fermentation in 500L French puncheons 20% new and 80% older. Batonage for the first two months. No malolactic fermentation. 11 months in new and used French puncheons. No filtration at bottling. 430 cases total production." 94 points Wine Front: "Overt oak but not overwhelming - nougat, halva-sweet-nuttiness, raw tobacco scents coupled to mixed citrus peel and bruised apple scents. Still, holds a lofty, bright, vibrant perfume. Clatters across the palate with delicate acidity and a sheath of subtle, vanillin oak character. The freshness and friskiness of the fruit character is notable, it skips and twists through the mouth with a lacy, frisky feel, almost gossamer in texture and finishes mouthwatering and refreshing, fruit pure and crisp. Almost like you need to concentrate. Flighty and delicious for it."

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By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/19/2016 | Send Email
I think it puzzles our customers every now and again when I head to the Australian wine section after getting asked about white Burgundy recommendations. Ryan Woodhouse is almost single-handedly redefining the wines of the Southern Hemisphere for both us and our clientele. This incredibly crisp and refined Chardonnay from Giant Steps is yet another example. It's super clean (like clean as a whistle) and it's remarkably vibrant and zippy with a sheer minerality that cuts like a laser through the palate. Never in a million years would someone guess Australian Chardonnay in a blind tasting, but that's because they haven't gotten to know the Yarra. This is right there with Oakridge for me as a total game changer.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/18/2016 | Send Email
I have long been a fan of the Giant Steps wines but this 2014 Sexton Vineyard Chard might be the best yet I have seen from them. It combines the typical flinty mineral tones I expect from the wine but also seems to have an extra textural element and concentration to the fruit. There is a real drive and persistence to the wine's flavors of golden tree fruits, baked pear, toasted barley, tangerine peel and wet stone minerals. Fluid and assertive on the palate with real presence and verve; it goes on and on. Seriously good stuff.
Top Value! Drink from 2016 to 2020

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

Australia

- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.
Sub-Region:

Victoria

Specific Appellation:

Yarra Valley

Alcohol Content (%): 13.5