2022 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Highly Rated
An inaugural, Trophy-winning release of single varietal Cabernet from the iconic Sexton Vineyard. Giant Steps with another home run!

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Description

While Giant Steps is better known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, their famed Sexton Vineyard, named for the winery's founder Phil Sexton, has long grown outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon. 2022 saw the first ever release of a single varietal Cabernet from this site, with talented chief winemaker Mel Chester crafting this stunning fruit into a Trophy-winning wine (Best Cabernet Sauvignon - Yarra Valley Wine Show).

The Sexton Vineyard, nestled on the steep, north-facing slopes of the Warramate Ranges, benefits from thin topsoil and rocky clay beneath, producing intensely flavored fruit. The two-paced 2022 vintage yielded grapes with superb flavor concentration as well as great natural acidity, which worked tremendously well for later ripening varieties such as Cabernet.

This Cabernet Sauvignon blends three separate ferments, each destemmed and cold-soaked for four days before fermentation. Soft extraction techniques preserved whole berries initially, followed by more vigorous plunging to enhance tannin extraction. The wine matured in French oak barrels for 10 months before being blended and further aged in seasoned puncheons for integration.

It's a classic cooler climate Cabernet bouquet, with notes of blackcurrant, cedar, and hints of graphite. The palate is long and richly flavoured, with layers of dark fruit, cocoa, and well-integrated tannins. It's a lovely drink but this Cabernet, like all the best iconic examples from the region, with cellar beautifully for up to fifteen years.

97 points
"A medium deep, bright crimson-purple, this elegant and concentrated wine has aromas of dark cherries, blackcurrant, ugni, cedar from the impeccably handled oak, and violets. The palate is medium bodied and perfectly pitched. This is another superb Yarra cabernet that dispels the notion that you'll have to cellar it for ages to enjoy."
- Philip Rich (Halliday Wine Companion)

96 points, Gold Medal + Trophy (Best Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2023 Yarra Valley Wine Show

Vintage Notes

2022 was a high quality but low yielding season in the Yarra Valley. A very cool, wet and stormy spring resulted in some challenging conditions around flowering and hence very poor fruit set. The season proceeded to dry out into December, with a dry and warm Christmas period. This exacerbated the already small bunch weights, leading to bunches that weighed up to 40% lower than average. The mild summer meant long, slow ripening and flavour concentration throughout summer, with some well-placed rain in January refreshing the vineyards at just the right time. The strong canopies and low fruit load meant we sailed neatly into picking with very little disease or weather pressure affecting our picking decisions. The grapes from 2022 came off the vine with lovely concentration and flavour with great natural acidity and tannin.

Vineyard Notes

Location: Gruyere Planted: 1997 Elevation: 130 - 210 metres Soil Type: Grey clay loam over granite / ironstone. Aspect: North facing slopes Size: 30 Hectares Located on the steep slopes of the Warramate Ranges, the Sexton Vineyard is in one of the most revered pockets of the Valley. Being well up the Range’s north-facing slopes, topsoil is thin and root systems have established themselves in shallow gravelly loams above a tough, rocky clay base. Bunch yields set naturally low in this environment, resulting in intensely flavoured fruit with high skin to juice ratio.

Winemaking

Three separate ferments were included in the final blend, each ferment was destemmed and cold soaked for 4 days before fermentation began. Soft extraction techniques were used for the early stages of fermentation to maintain whole berries before more aggressive techniques (plunging) were utilised towards the end of fermentation to increase tannin extraction. Each component completed malolactic fermentation and was maturated in small format (225lt) French oak barrels for 10 months before being blended and returned to seasoned puncheons for an additional 5 months to integrate before being bottled by gravity. Racked to blend, no fining, no filtration. Bottled by gravity.

Peak Drinking / Cellaring Potential

Now - fifteen years

97 points - "While Giant Steps' enviable reputation was built on the back of its single-vineyard pinots, that didn't stop it from taking out trophies for best shiraz and cabernet at the 2023 Yarra Valley Wine Show. A medium deep, bright crimson-purple, this elegant and concentrated wine has aromas of dark cherries, blackcurrant, ugni, cedar from the impeccably handled oak, and violets. The palate is medium bodied and perfectly pitched. This is another superb Yarra cabernet that dispels the notion that you'll have to cellar it for ages to enjoy." - Philip Rich (Halliday Wine Companion)

96 points, Gold Medal + Trophy (Best Cabernet Sauvignon) - 2023 Yarra Valley Wine Show

Giant Steps

Giant Steps is a premium Yarra Valley outfit founded by Phil Sexton and located in the township of Healesville. Beginning with the vision of original head winemaker Steve Flamsteed, Giant Steps developed an international reputation for producing some of Australia's finest examples of single vineyard Pinot Noir & Chardonnay.

In 2021 the exceptionally talented Melanie Chester joined the team as the new head of winemaking and viticulture, marking an exciting new chapter in this elite producer's story.

Every aspect of the Giant Steps process is geared towards making truly world-class wines from the vineyard to the final bottled wine. 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.

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