Giant Steps "Applejack Vineyard" Pinot Noir 2021 ~ Yarra Valley, Australia
This is great……and here’s why!98/100 Philip Rich
96/100 James Suckling
95/100 Campbell Mattinson
95/100 Huon Hooke
16.5/20 Jancis Robinson
98/100 James Halliday (2020 vintage)
96/100 Jane Faulkner (Halliday) (2020 vintage)
96/100 Huon Hooke (2020 vintage)
96/100 James Suckling (2019 vintage)
95/100 Wine Spectator (2019 vintage)
94/100 Wine Enthusiast (2019 vintage)
93/100 Steven Creber (Halliday)
93/100 Decanter (2019 vintage)
17/20 Jancis Robinson (2019 vintage)
94/100 Toni Paterson (2018 vintage)
94/100 Huon Hooke (2018 vintage)
91/100 Robert Parker (2018 vintage)
Silver - International Wine Challenge (2018 vintage)
Philip Rich "..I've long considered the Applejack vineyard to be one of the greatest sites for pinot in Australia and I'm not sure I've seen a better version than the 2021. A deep, bright, crimson purple. Maraschino cherry into plum, there's an exotic and riotous amalgam of Asian five-spice and a gentle savoury, umami character. What elevates this vintage is the concentration, along with Applejack's trademark perfume and spice. Just so vibrant and fresh on the palate, the tannins are both silky and plentiful. You will have no problems opening and enjoying this now, but the wine's track record suggests you'll thank me if you still have some to drink 7–10 years from now, if not longer...amed after the Applejack eucalypts that surround the vineyard, which was planted at Gladysdale in 1997. Seven clones including 114, 115, MV6, D2V5, D5V15, Pommard and Abel!"
James Suckling "Brashly spicy and complex, this has aromas of espresso, blueberries, toasted spices and grilled bread, as well as forest wood and violets. The palate delivers alluring depth and a round, fleshy build. Acidity explodes on the finish, releasing fresh red-cherry and blueberry fruit flavors. Wonderfully layered and complete. Drink over the next eight years."
Campbell Mattinson "Pure red cherry flavours push straight into undergrowth, mushroom, fragrant herb and spices. Cedarwood oak is present but so happily married to the fruit. There are briar notes here, particularly through the finish, and throughout it feels structured without necessarily feeling grippy. There’s a (positive) smoky aftertaste and a (very) good level of richness, in a varietal context. All up, hands down, this is a gorgeous wine to drink."
Huon Hooke "Mid-light purple-red colour, bright and youthful, with aromas of mixed spices, raspberry, smoky oak and charcuterie, gentle palate texture and pleasingly drying tannins at the end. Excellent intensity. A nice touch of fruit sweetness at the heart of it, then a drying flush of fine tannin moves in. Delicious pinot."
Ches Cook, FWC "A richer and more generous wine than Wombat Creek but a wine that keeps its Pinot elegance all the same with a nice, lightly rounded shape and savoury edges. It’s these savoury, earth-derived tones that I particularly like: dried twig, crushed leaf, some damp soil - all characteristics I love to see in Pinot Noir. With time in bottle, these may come to the fore with more vigour. Lots of potential here but already showing very well."
James Halliday "The clarity, the purity, the elegance and the perfume that the Upper Yarra Valley Applejack Vineyard brings to the party is immediately recognisable. Equally insistent is the sheer power of the red fruits and spices hidden by the light colour of the cloak. 66 barrels/barriques." (2020 vintage)
Huon Hooke "Bright, medium to full red/purple colour with a sweetly raspberry-like aroma, a lovely fragrant perfume. Rose petals and pot-pourri. Light to medium-weighted, with a fine sheen of tannins contributing a nicely tailored firmness to the structure. A wine of real finesse. (A higher altitude site but the soils are grey clays usually found in the lowest parts of the valley)." (2020 vintage)
Jane Faulkner (Halliday) "Pinot purity right here, folks. There’s a certain precision and definition too. A delightful combo of joy and complexity: rhubarb and freshly grated beetroot, sweet red cherries, florals and warm spices, with the oak neatly tucked in. Superfine tannins, laser-like acidity and terrific length seal the deal." (2020 vintage)
James Suckling "Expressively complex with plenty of red-cherry, strawberry and pomegranate aromas, as well as oak spice and sappy notes. The palate has impressive density with focus. The spiced blueberry flavors are intense, fresh and long and there’s such vibrant acidity sustaining the long finish. Drink or hold." (2019 vintage)
Wine Spectator "This distinctive red offers a powerful, robust mix of blood orange, dried cherry and pomegranate flavors on a firm, muscular frame. Notes of baking spices, cigar box and salty black licorice linger on the finish, with a touch of sarsaparilla. Drink now through 2035. 3,150 cases made, 200 cases imported. — MW" (2019 vintage)
Christina Pickard, Wine Enthusiast "Grown on east-facing slopes at higher elevation than the “Sexton” Pinot, this “Applejack” is the more open and gregarious of the single-vineyard duo. Fleshy fruit sits happily between a mélange of flavors including dried flowers, mushrooms and graphite. It's medium weight and silky, with smudgy, graphite-like tannins. The savory, herbal finish cries out for roast lamb or a tray of grilled, blistered veggies. Drink now–2028." (2019 vintage)
Steven Creber (Halliday) "Parcels of whole-bunch and destemmed fruit; both small oak and open ferments; 8 months in French barriques, 25% new. Cherries and floral notes the main theme on the bouquet, some whole-bunch character and oak in the mix as well. The warmth of the vintage presents itself in the sweet-tinged feel, but the generous flavours of red fruit and spice are attractive and balanced by the lightly grippy finish." (2019 vintage)
Decanter "The 12.5ha Applejack Vineyard, planted in 1997 (and bought by Giant Steps in 2013), is the apple of winemaker Steve Flamsteed's eye when it comes to Pinot Noir, rating it as one of Australia's best cool-climate sites. A mix of whole-bunch and destemmed fruit (depending on clone) were wild-yeast fermented, then the parcels matured for eight months in barrique, 25% new. As with the rest of the range, there's no fining or filtering, and racking and bottling is done by gravity. Quite a structured Pinot, with fine tannins and brisk acidity to ensure long ageing. Tart red cherry, berries and the vineyard's characteristic bitter-orange tang infuses both nose and palate, plus peppery spices and hints of tilled earth and undergrowth. 2,111 cases made." (2019 vintage)
Toni Paterson "An open and fleshy wine with pure red fruits and gentle savouriness. The fruit is intense, though not over-fruity and the tannin frame is elegant and appropriate. Impressive flavour depth." (2018 vintage)
Huon Hooke "Light to medium, bright red/purple colour, with a wonderfully fragrant, aromatic nose of spicy red and dark cherry. There's a subtle hint of Campari in the aroma and aftertaste which comes from the whole-berry and whole-bunch fermenting techniques. It's light to medium-bodied yet very intense, with penetrating flavour, line and length. The tannins are light and fine yet quite present. An utterly delicious wine and a great follow-up to the outstanding 2017. And like that wine, amazing value for money. The aromatics are quintessential Yarra Valley pinot noir." (2018 vintage)
Robert Parker "Marked by scents of mushrooms, compost and sous-bois, the 2018 Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir is the earthiest and most savory of the 2018 Pinots from Giant Steps. Aged in 25% new oak, there are touches of mocha and cedar evident, but they're balanced by hints of red berries. The wine is medium-bodied and supple, with ultrafine, silky tannins and a mouthwatering finish." (2018 vintage)
The Wine Front, Mike Bennie - “.......Giant Steps is at top of their game.....Such elegance, and, importantly, an incredible sense of energy in the wine. Now we can use the word outstanding......Acid driven, light and fragrant style, has that sense of sleekness from fine pinot tannins yet is tightly wound, coiled and precise as it rolls through the palate. Red currants, cranberry, smoke and sweet earth to sniff on. Savoury edged red fruit to taste. Balanced, lithe, very finely wrought." (2018 vintage)
Different Drop "The most sought-after of the excellent 2018 Giant Steps excellent Pinot Noirs." (2018 vintage)
Peter Forrestal - "Steve Flamsteed is a man of many talents with a finely tuned palate, an instinctive flair for winemaking and fastidious attention to detail. This shows particularly in the stunning single-vineyard chardonnays and pinots of Giant Steps: distinctive wines that reflect their sites and glow with impeccable finesse” (2016 vintage)
Giant Steps is a privately owned, estate based, Yarra Valley grower and winemaker. Giant Steps has forged a reputation for delivering some of Australia’s most consistent, over-performing, varietal wines. These wines have received global acclaim and established a strong reputation in restaurants and fine wine stores around the world. Since 2003 Giant Steps wines have collectively been awarded 19 trophies and over 50 gold medals at major international and domestic wine shows and have been named one of the Top 100 Wineries in the World by Wine & Spirits Magazine, US for each of the last three years.
Owner Phil Sexton came to wine via beer. He started Little Creatures, a favourite of Aussie hopheads, in Perth (Western Australia). Yarra Valley is a region with a cool climate, best known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Yarra Valley is an hour’s drive east of Melbourne. Applejack Vineyard was planted in 1997 by highly respected viticulturist Ray Guerin Today it is meticulously managed by his son Mark.
Applejack Vineyard is situated in the Upper Yarra Valley, to the south-east of the traditional valley floor. The higher altitudes result in cooler growing conditions - ideal for Pinot Noir. Applejack Vineyard is located on a dramatic, north-east-facing slope with close-planted vines. This vineyard was purchased by Phil Sexton in 2013.
Pinot Noir is the dominant red wine grape of Burgundy, now produced in wine regions all over the world, including western Germany, northern Italy, Chile, South Africa, Australia and, perhaps most notably, California, Oregon and New Zealand.
The essence of Pinot Noir wine is its aroma of strawberry and cherry (fresh red cherries in lighter wines and stewed black cherries in weightier examples), underpinned in the most complex examples by hints of forest floor. Well-built Pinot Noirs, particularly from warmer harvests, also exhibit notes of leather and violets, sometimes approaching the flavor spectrum of Syrah."