Caught up with Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander winemaker Steve Flamsteed at the London Wine Fair last week. He was showing their Giant Steps 2010 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir single vineyard wines among others. Great stuff – early days though and you’d expect these to develop well over the medium term. Overall I’m a great admirer of Giant Steps. Production is tiny, the pinnacle of a triangle supported by the Innocent Bystander brand. What’s not to like in their vivacious, bright Pinot Noirs and their classy Chardonnays?
Posts Tagged ‘Yarra Valley’
January is certainly antipodean month on the London tasting calendar. Just ahead of Australia Day, Wine Australia put on their annual trade tasting, christened A+ Australian Wine at the Saatchi Gallery in London’s Chelsea [above]. Much has been made of how Oz wine has lost its way in recent years, at least in marketing terms and certainly in the battle of the brands, but as the big conglomerates have lost ground, or at least looked uncertain, the real excitement in Australia is the bevy of superb wines being made both by established names and relative newcomers at the smaller and medium sized end of the business.
OK, so you’d expect to come away inspired by a trip to Chateau Margaux having spent an hour or so with the marvelously enthusiastic Paul Pontallier. You’d also expect to have a more profound sense of the natural beauty and deceptive simplicity of fine winemaking after spending some time with Alfred Tesseron at Chateau Pontet Canet. And you’d have to be made of stone not to be awe inspired by the new chais assembled by Jean-Guillaume Prats at Chateau Cos d’Estournel or the quality of his controversial 2009 grand vin whatever your verdict. But would you really expect to be all fired up after a visit to Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse? Probably not, but that’s just what happened to me after I’d spent an afternoon there. I’ll explain more later but first some background.
Last week saw the publication of Langton’s classification ‘V’ of the highest performing Australian wines as defined by their movements on the Australian auction market. Although essentially a market guide, the Langton’s classification is generally regarded as a list of the very finest and most collectable wines made in Oz. Revised every five years the classification was first introduced in 1991. Back then 34 wines were included, last week 123 wines made it to the list – 33 more since the last classification in 2005, reflecting the increased demand for fine Australian wine on the secondary markets in general as well as the sheer quality of the product at the top end.