2021 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir
Named after the Applejack eucalypts that surround the vineyard, which was planted at Gladysdale in 1997. Seven clones including 114, 115, MV6, D2V5, D5V15, Pommard and Abel! I've long considered the Applejack vineyard to be one of the greatest sites for pinot in Australia and I'm not sure I've seen a better version than the 2021. A deep, bright, crimson purple. Maraschino cherry into plum, there's an exotic and riotous amalgam of Asian five-spice and a gentle savoury, umami character. What elevates this vintage is the concentration, along with Applejack's trademark perfume and spice. Just so vibrant and fresh on the palate, the tannins are both silky and plentiful. You will have no problems opening and enjoying this now, but the wine's track record suggests you'll thank me if you still have some to drink 7–10 years from now, if not longer. Drink by 2032.
Philip Rich - James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion (February 2022)
Brashly spicy and complex, this has aromas of espresso, blueberries, toasted spices and grilled bread, as well as forest wood and violets. The palate delivers alluring depth and a round, fleshy build. Acidity explodes on the finish, releasing fresh red-cherry and blueberry fruit flavors. Wonderfully layered and complete. Drink over the next eight years. Screw cap.
JamesSuckling.com (July 2022)
The Applejack Vineyard is planted across the hill, at the same altitude as the Primavera Vineyard on gray clay over mudstone, and picked within a few days of that site. The 2021 Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir included 50% whole bunch in the mix and is a blend of seven different clones. This shows wonderful clarity and poise—it is precise and layered with energy and life. The acid pulses through the phenolic texture in the mouth. It was originally a sparkling vineyard, down the hill from Wombat Creek, situated in an eastern-facing bowl that captures the morning sunlight. Mel Chester (head of winemaking and viticulture) talks about the smell of the tea trees in the vineyard, explaining that "there's always a couple of Wedgetail eagles circling, it's a magic place." The evocative description of the vineyard carries through into the wine, which shows a satisfying, delicious resolution of plump ripe fruit and beautifully resolved tannin. Balance 101. Drink 2022 - 2037.
Erin Larkin - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (June 2022)
One of the great things about Australian wine is that the planting frenzy in the late half of the 1990s now has a great many vineyards marking their 25th year in the ground. The east-facing Applejack Vineyard was planted in 1997 at Gladysdale and is a star performer. This release saw 80% whole bunches and 25% new oak.
Pure red cherry flavours push straight into undergrowth, mushroom, fragrant herb and spices. Cedarwood oak is present but so happily married to the fruit. There are briar notes here, particularly through the finish, and throughout it feels structured without necessarily feeling grippy. There’s a (positive) smoky aftertaste and a (very) good level of richness, in a varietal context. All up, hands down, this is a gorgeous wine to drink. Drink 2023 - 2030+
Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front (June 2022)
Pale garnet verging on ruby. Pale rim. A bit more meaty and savoury than the Primavera Vineyard Pinot on the nose. Light and fresh with definite sweetness, as well as the vegy savour, but more refreshing than the Primavera and with a nice lick of light tannins. Delicate texture. It tastes as though it were made with kid gloves. A definite success. Drink 2022 – 2028.
16.5 / 20 Points
JancisRobinson.com (May 2022)