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Giant Steps `Sexton Vineyard` Chardonnay

Yarra Valley, Victoria

Giant Steps

While the Innocent Bystander wines are made from grapes grown across the Yarra, the Giant Steps wines are produced exclusively from single vineyard sites...

Grapes are selected from estate-owned and leased vineyards, as well as from long-term contracted growers. Head winemaker Steve Flamsteed and his team are making some of the best wines in Australia from these sites. Their aim is to express in each wine the character of the site, grape and vintage, and this they achieve by meticulous work in the vineyard and minimum intervention in the winery. Wines from their three main vineyard sites (Sexton, Tarraford and Applejack) have won 12 trophies and 27 gold medals across all wine shows in the last four years.

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Located on the steep north facing slopes of the Warramate Ranges, alongside the vineyards of Yarra Yering and Coldstream Hills, the Sexton vineyard is exposed and demanding. Being well up the slopes, topsoil is thin and root systems have established themselves in shallow gravelly loams above a tough rocky clay base. Vigour and bunch yields set naturally low in this environment, facilitating a low intervention approach to what is otherwise hand tended viticulture. Biodynamic vineyard management principles are being introduced with the purpose of further distinguishing the site and improving grape and wine quality.

Vintage information

2013 was an exciting vintage in the Yarra Valley. The entire vintage was harvested in just 35 days – the quickest ever. Excellent weather at flowering led into cool, mild growing conditions, with an accelerated final stage of ripening due to some warm nights. The estate vineyards produced small crops with intense flavour and solid natural acidity – critical to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wines are all very strong in primary fruit and possess a generosity and mouth feel not seen since 2010.


The fruit was hand picked. Upon arrival at the winery, it was lightly pressed to tank, and the juice transferred to puncheons with no settling. Fermentation took place with 100% indigenous yeast in oak at 18 - 24°C. The lees were stirred twice only, between May and June. The wine spent nine months in French Burgundy coopers, 20% of which were new, 20% one year old and 60% older. No malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was transferred to tank in January for a light chill and coarse filtration before bottling in February 2014.

Tasting Notes

Light yellow-gold in the glass. Floral scents of honeysuckle, jasmine and chamomile, along with hints of orange and melon. Silken, lengthy and elegant at the same time, the palate combines nectarine, cream, touches of fennel and lime with a steely character. The wine finishes sharp, with a subtle toastiness.

Vintage information

Vintage 2013
Grape varieties 100% Chardonnay
Region Yarra Valley, Victoria
Winemaker Steve Flamsteed
Consultant Winemaker Tim Shand & Phil Sexton
Alcohol (ABV) 13%
Acidity 6.4g/l
Wine pH 3.21