Giant Steps

Victoria, victoria Australia

Giant Steps was founded by Phil Sexton in 1997. It has since forged a reputation for making some of the Yarra Valley’s most consistently exciting wines from estate-owned vineyards. The Giant Steps Single Vineyard wines are produced from their best vineyard sites in great years. Head winemaker Steve Flamsteed and his team aim to express the character of the vineyard, grape and vintage in each wine. They achieve this through meticulous work in the vineyard and minimum intervention in the winery. Giant Steps was acquired by Jackson Family Wine Estates in 2020. According to Phil Sexton, “this partnership brings us the relationships and careful resources of a great wine family who are committed to vineyards, sustainability and faithful expression of site.”

Single Vineyard

The ‘sexton’ vineyard is run by the founder of Giant Steps, Phil Sexton. Situated next to Coldstream Hills and Yarra Yering, it lies in the heart of the Yarra Valley, where poor soils result in miniscule yields, leading in turn to intense and concentrated wines.

The ‘Applejack’ vineyard is situated in the Upper Yarra, where soils are generally deep and more volcanic in origin. However, the Applejack vineyard is atop grey/brown clay loam which reduces vigour and yields, making it perfectly suited to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The site elevation is just under 300 metres, but its proximity to dense, temperate forest makes this site significantly cooler than Sexton and Tarraford.

The ‘Wombat Creek’ vineyard is the highest altitude vineyard in the Yarra Valley at 420 metres above sea level, making it an ideal location for producing cool climate wines. The underlying ferrous-based volcanic soil and rock produce a Pinot Noir with a distinctively soft yet long and firm palate that contrasts with the finer palates seen from the nearby Applejack vineyard. The latest addition is the scented and elegant ‘Wombat Creek’ Chardonnay; in the words of James Suckling: “Wow!”

Soils in the ‘Tarraford’ vineyard are a clay-loam duplex and contain a fairly solid ironstone content. The root profiles are deep and vertical, where the vines access material deep into the soil subsurface. The Chardonnay that comes off Tarraford is highly perfumed, with a citrus-peel element characteristic of the Chardonnay from this site, irrespective of vintage conditions.

Planted by Lou Primavera in 2001, the ‘Primavera’ vineyard is 12 hectares of red clay loam, facing north/north-east. Giant Steps has a long-standing relationship with the Primavera family, having sourced fruit for their vineyard for some years. It is testament to the increasing quality of the site that they are now producing a single vineyard Pinot Noir from Primavera. The red friable soil is critical in shaping the complex structure and pronounced perfume of the ‘Primavera’ vineyard Pinot Noir.


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