2014 Giant Steps "Applejack Vineyard" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria (Elsewhere $45)

SKU #1275881 95 points James Halliday

 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.  (9/2015)

92 points Vinous

 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)  (3/2016)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 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)

K&L Notes

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."

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By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/19/2016 | Send Email
A wonderfully wild and aromatic Pinot Noir. There is a deliciously intriguing underbrush or briary note to this wine that transports it to realms of complexity and depth uncommon for this price point. Every swirl of the glass bring out new characters: bramble, sandalwood, sage, forest berries, some savory smoky notes and a hint of gaminess. Then come toasted spices, riper red fruit and some lifted whole cluster ferment notes. Really complex, fascinating wine. On the palate it's energetic, lithe and polished; an elegant wine with lovely natural acidity and refined structure. This is delicious now but I think it will only get better with time and I wouldn't mind betting this will be a top-notch 10-year wine. Not a blockbuster fruit bomb style; rather a wine that really evokes the true nature of Pinot Noir with all of its complex facets and dimensions.
Top Value! Drink from 2016 to 2026

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/19/2016 | Send Email
You can smell the whole-cluster fermentation right on the nose here. When a winemaker chooses to drop whole clusters of grapes into the fermentation it lifts the aromatics into something in between strawberries and bramble brush. That freshness persists here on the palate, but it alternates in between juicy and savory without skipping a beat. This is Pinot lover's Pinot. This is something quasi-Burgundian here, but the wine is more approachable in its youth than a village red Burgundy would ever be. How much more great stuff like this are we going to taste before we recognize that the Yarra Valley is making some of the most affordable, high-quality wines in the world?

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.
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