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Cabernet blends are the hidden gem of the Yarra Valley and Giant Steps’ ‘Harry’s Monster’ is one of the region’s premier interpretations.
Giant Steps is rapidly becoming one of the Yarra’s premier labels. Hailing from the iconic Sexton Vineyard and named after the imaginary (or is it…) monster that owner Phil Sexton’s son Harry claimed lived there, this wine has always been a favourite of mine.
The blend is of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, with each grape contributing to the overall picture. As ever with blends of this nature balance is the key, and this is just all class.
It received 96 points from James Halliday who described it as “A great example of a style the Yarra valley should by rights make more of.”
Delicious, special occasion Yarra Valley Cabernet that’s great either now or over the next 20 years. Wonderful wine.
What It Tastes Like
The nose is warming and inviting, with a powerful perfume of cassis, currants, violets and mixed spices. The palate explodes with wave after wave of flavour. All sorts of berries and dark fruits are supported by high quality oak and assertive but integrated tannins. Dusty, earthy notes on the finish, which \seems to go on forever. High quality stuff.
96 points. “A vibrant and supple Bordeaux blend, the crimson-purple colour flying a welcome flag before you even pick up the glass. Cassis leads the way, redcurrant, cedar and a little spice following on seamlessly. A great example of a style the Yarra valley should by rights make more of.”
- James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
Vineyard: Planted in 1997 on the foothills of the Warramate ranges, the 75 acre Sexton Vineyard covers two north facing ridges that rise from 130 - 210 meters above the valley floor. The vineyard is introducing organic practices with the express purpose of further distinguishing the site and improving grape and wine quality. A particular objective is to enhance the natural microflora for the facilitation of indigenous fermentation in the winery.
Vinification: Fruit was hand picked, destemmed and crushed to small open fermenters. An 8 day warm ferment followed. Fruit was then hand plunged twice daily and underwent a daily rack and return for two weeks. On dryness, the cap was submerged for two to three weeks to integrate and polymerize tannins. Fermenters were then tipped into an airbag press and the wine was racked off gross lees to oak for malolactic fermentation. Unfiltered and no additions apart from minimal sulfur at bottling. Bottled by gravity on site.
Oak: 225L barriques - all French - Taransaud & Bossuet. 40% new, 10% second use, 50% third use. Time in oak - 18 months.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
About the Producer
Giant Steps is a premium Yarra Valley outfit founded by Phil Sexton located in the in the township of Healesville. Since appointing Steve Flamsteed as his head winemaker and eventual business partner, Sexton and Flamsteed have developed a reputation for producing some of the region’s finest examples of single vineyard wines.
From the vineyard to the final bottled wine, every aspect of the Giant Steps process is geared towards making truly world-class wines. The focus is on what the Yarra does best - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz/Syrah and Bordeaux-variety blends - and showcasing the unique terroirs of some of the region’s finest vineyards.
For three years running, Wine and Spirit Magazine have named them as one of the Top 100 wineries in the world, and winemaker Steve Flamsteed capped off an amazing run by being named Gourmet Traveller Wine’s 2016 Winemaker of the Year, another jewel in the Giant Steps crown. Their ultra modern cellar door is one of the must-visit experiences for any wine tourist stopping through the Yarra Valley.
The Yarra Valley stands tall as one of the country’s finest cool-climate wine regions. Only a short jaunt from Melbourne, the Yarra has become a tourist hot-spot for its stunning scenery, high quality produce, and of course, as the home to some of the country’s most iconic wine producers. From the extraordinarily elegant Cabernets and Syrahs that populate the ‘Valley floor’, to the precise and complex versions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that hail from the higher climes of the Yarra, this region is diverse and in a state of change. As temperatures rise and phylloxera infiltrates each pocket of the Yarra Valley, the range of alternative varieties from continental Europe is sure to increase to create a more colourful picture of the region. The Yarra embodies so much of what is great about the modern Australian wine scene.
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