2014 Giant Steps "Applejack Vineyard" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria (Elsewhere $45)
The relatively light color and perfumed bouquet are typical of this Upper Yarra vineyard, as is the understated elegance and finesse of the palate, spicy/savory red fruits and silky tannins in a back-up role. If 250 dozen had been made, not 245, it would have won the Jimmy Watson Trophy.
Vivid red. Vibrant, spice-accented red and dark berry scents pick up notes of succulent herbs and minerals with air. Juicy, focused and energetic on the palate, offering sappy black raspberry and cherry-cola flavors with hints of five-spice powder and mocha. Closes very long and spicy, with resonating red fruit character and silky, late-arriving tannins. (JR)
To judge by the aromas - a complex herbal mélange containing hints of cabbage leaf, tea and acacia blossom - this includes a healthy proportion of stems. On the palate, the black cherry and plum fruit asserts itself, while the texture is crisp and silky, lingering through the finish. (JC)
Winemaker's Notes: "It has a good intensity of redcurrant and cranberry aromas plus whole bunch notes of Mediterranean herbs and moss, over subtle hints of beetroot and rhubarb. Medium bodied, it has great concentration in the mouth with plenty of ripe berry flavors. The ample tannins are soft and fleshy giving texture to a seamless flow. The finish is long and delicious and the wine will only improve over the next several years. Fruit was hand-picked and sorted then chilled overnight. 60% was kept as whole bunches. The remaining fruit was de-stemmed, but not crushed. A significant portion of the whole bunches were closed up in a vat and not manipulated in any way. The must was cold soaked for three days and then fermented with indigenous yeast for three weeks in oak vats and small open fermenters. Drain and returns and plunging was minimal. The fermented must was gravity transferred into an airbag press and pressed into tank. The wine was racked off gross lees to oak for indigenous malolactic fermentation. Unfiltered and bottled by gravity. Applejack Vineyard is 80 acres and was first planted in 2001. It is located on a dramatic east-facing slope, at an elevation of nearly 1,000 feet. The vines are close planted in red/brown clay loam soils and meticulously managed."