Following its hugely successful 2019 Yarra Valley Chardonnay (WS 94, WE 95 points) is a tough act to follow. The sign of a great winery is one that can produce consistently fine quality wine even in the most challenging vintages. Giants Steps proves its prowess in 2020 which was hampered by a cold and wet growing season which resulted in a very low yielding harvest (small bunches) with naturally higher acid. On a positive note, these results have intensified and enhanced the flavor profiles. No ratings at this time as this Chardonnay has just been released.
The resulting wine displays a youthful aromas of citrus-lemon and melon, with spice and leesy notes imparted from the fermentation process and extended lees contact. The palate impressions are not as round and soft YET, as compared to the creamy-brioche notes found in the riper 2019. Instead the focus is on stone fruits and citrus zest and a hint of ginger. The acidity provides freshness and a lengthy finish. This wine will probably begin to show its best and reveal more complexity and a softer, more creamy texture later this summer, similar to the 2019.
The 2020 Yarra Valley Chardonnay is 100% varietal and was sourced from three of the winery’s most prized estate vineyards. The grapes were hand picked and sorted. Whole bunch clusters were gently pressed and juiced into 90% used 500 liter French Oak barrel for fermentation by indigenous yeast. Then aged for 8 months of maturity on the lees without stirring. 20% of the blend went through a spontaneous malolactic fermentation that softened the overall acidity. 13.0% alcohol. pH 3.15
We had an eye opening tasting appointment and very scrumptious lunch at the highly renown Giant Steps in the small township of Healesville in the middle of the Yarra Valley, about a 90 minute drive from Melbourne, when we visited Victoria for the first time in January of 2019. Healesville has a charming collection of quaint shops and small restaurants along its main street, most likely what St. Helena looked like about back in the 1940s. Curiously, Giant Steps began as a brewery, and morphed into one of Australia’s finest boutique wineries.
Giant Steps global acclaim (named 6 times in Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of the World) is centered on its cool clime single estate vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The 2019 Chardonnay was rated 94 points by Wine Spectator and 95 points by Wine Enthusiast. No ratings yet on the 2020. One taste will provide all the convincing one needs to understand why Giant Steps has reached the zenith in international popularity, but it is the bottle’s value price that really makes one do a double head turn. Reference: https://www.giantstepswine.com.au/