Wine Words & Video Tape

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Giant Steps, Mount Mary and Coldstream Hills

Written by JW. Posted in Australia


Three estates hardly represents a comprehensive tasting of the bounty of the Yarra Valley, but these are an impressive bunch nonetheless. Named after John Coltrane’s first solo album – and reflected in winemaker Phil Sexton’s big move from winemaking in Western Australia [Devil’s Lair] to the Yarra Yalley – Giant Steps is an impressive Yarra producer of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Chardonnays have race and verve, you feel they’ll be hitting their stride when others will be kicking the bucket.Mount Mary, established by the late Dr John Middleton in the 1970s, continues to make wonderful and long-lasting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a Francophone twist. Coldstream Hills is well known, established in 1985 by the ebullient lawyer and wine critic James Halliday who in the 1970s had previously pioneered the leading Hunter Valley estate Brokenwood. I did a wonderfully enjoyable vintage at Coldstream Hills in 1996 – I’ve never drunk so much fine wine in my life – it was the same year that the estate was effectively sold from under Halliday by other shareholders to Southcorp. Today James Halliday retains a consultancy role with Greg Jarrett and Andrew Fleming the chief winemakers.

Giant Steps, Chardonnay, Tarraford Vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria, 2008: Lime yellow straw; very Burgundian nose this – butterscotch but with some limes and lemon behind; good delicacy on the palate; attractive bite at the end. No MLF here to preserve the acid and zest. 90+/100

Giant Steps, Chardonnay, Sexton Vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria 2008: Light colour; nice butterscotch; some minerality, slatey. Will put on weight in bottle. 88+/100

Giant Steps, Chardonnay, Anthony’s Creek, Yarra Valley, Victoria, 2008: Clean, some sturdy Burgundian elements. Very good, quite taut. Again this will come good and last well. 88+/100

Giant Steps, Pinot Noir, Sexton Vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria Pinot Noir 2008: Mid red; warm notes; soft earthy attractive Pinot. 88+/100

Giant Steps, Pinot Noir, Tarraford Vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria, 2008Mid red; more attractive than Sexton; soft quite warm Pinot characters, some delicacy though; strawberry notes; attractive. Lacks a little bit of grip but attractive 90+/100

Giant Steps, Pinot Noir, Gladysdale, Victoria, 2008: Mid red; some depth; attractive notes; strawberry and  some developed tones; good palate, nice attractive Pinot from deep red volcanic soils in the Upper Yarra Valley. Very attractive overall. 91+/100

Mount Mary, Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria, 2008: Straw colour; intense nose; minerals, some butter; palate equally minerally, attractive elegant Burgundian Chardonnay characters. Fresh. Will age well. 88+/100

Mount Mary, Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Victoria, 2008:  Earthy red; some spicy strawberry fruit but attractive; quite Burgundian Pinot; good nose; fleshy and quite soft palate – real strawberry Pinot qualities again; good palate. Fresh. Very good [13%] 90/100.

Coldstream Hills, Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria 2008: Straw; some limes, some cream and butter; not bad palate, quite ripe, less lean than the others; will probably fill out further. 88+/100

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Victoria, 2007: Mid depth, quite earthy looking and translucent at core; nice beetrooty Pinot – spot on; some sexy qualities here too; little tomato plant, good; quite soft palate but with concentration; cherry; quite open; reasonable length; very attractive. 90/100

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