Reviews

Moss Wood 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – Huon Hooke, The Real Review

Deepish red colour with a good tint of purple, and a bouquet of sweet berries, violets, mulberries and cassis. A fragrant, almost floral cabernet, the elegance of the nose reflected on the palate, which is medium to full-bodied and juicy, delicious and finely-textured. A lovely wine, already drinking well, and a lighter vintage for this maker – but gorgeous.

Published 12th May 2019

98 Points

Rating: 5 Stars
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Moss Wood 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – Bob Campbell, The Real Review

Delicious cabernet, with an appealing core of sweet, ripe blackcurrant and blackberry with subtle spice, cedar and nutty oak characters. This is a seriously good red wine that can be enjoyed now but promises to be sensational after at least 5-6 years of bottle age.

 

Published April 2019

 

96 Points

Rating: Stars
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Moss Wood 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon – Stephen Brook, Decanter

‘Considered one of the greatest red wines produced in the region…’

Wine Legend: Moss Wood, Cabernet Sauvignon, Wilyabrup, Margaret River 1975

A legend because…

In the late 1960s and early 1970s there was a rush to make wine in Margaret River, and a number of properties – not only Moss Wood but Vasse Felix and Cullen – were planted. Largely improvised, these early vintages received unexpected acclaim. The 1975 Moss Wood Cabernet was one of those wines, and has long been considered one of the greatest red wines produced in the region.

Looking back

The surge in interest in Margaret River as a wine region can be attributed to the publication in 1966 of a report by Dr John Gladstones. A botanic research scientist with an interest in viticulture, he spotted the suitability of the region for wine production. Frost-free and maritime, the region’s climatic conditions were similar to those of Bordeaux.
First to respond was Dr Tom Cullity, founding Vasse Felix in 1967. Dr Bill Pannell and his wife Sandra were not far behind with Moss Wood – the original block is Margaret River’s second oldest vineyard. Present owner Keith Mugford, winemaker from 1979, recalls how at weekends they would drive down to Margaret River with a shovel in search of the best gravelly loam soils, considered ideal for vineyards by Gladstones. The Moss Wood property looked just right, and was for sale. The Pannells bought it and planted Cabernet Sauvignon in 1969.

The vintage

The 1975 growing season was quite mild, with Cabernet ripening slowly. It was certainly cooler than the very warm 1976 and 1977. There were no problems with disease or bird damage, and yields were moderate. The grapes were hand picked.

The terroir

The soils of the original vineyard, lying on a gentle, sheltered slope, are a reddish gravel loam over a clay subsoil, with a few sandier sectors. The clay contributes a good deal – there is enough to retain water and prevent drought stress, but not so much that the soil becomes waterlogged. The clay also adds to the wine’s opulence. Strong coastal winds help to moderate temperatures in summer. The vines are entirely dry-farmed. Minimal pesticides are used, but Moss Wood is not organic.

The wine

After harvest on 15 March, the grapes were fermented in open-top tanks with cultivated yeasts. The cap was plunged by hand three times a day, and temperatures were controlled, never rising above 28°C. Surprisingly, there was no malolactic fermentation. The wine was aged for 15 months in 300-litre barrels, of which 20% were new; 20% American oak was used, the rest being French.

The reaction

One of the first experts to recognise the wine’s quality was Edmund Penning-Rowsell, who tasted it while touring Australia on behalf of the Wine Society in the late 1970s.
‘To the best of my memory,’ says Mugford, ‘this was the first international recognition of the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Margaret River region.’
In 1993 Jeremy Oliver was enthusiastic: ‘Heady, opulent, smoky aromas of cedar and cigarboxes over lightly meaty suggestions of undergrowth. Superbly preserved, with surprising fruit sweetness and vivaciousness.’
In 2002 Stephen Brook admired its ‘sweet, rich, cedary nose, with a touch of mint. Medium-bodied, it’s still healthy, with fine acidity and amazing freshness, leading to a long, lean, elegant finish.’

 

Rating: Stars
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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – John Lewis, Newcastle Herald

I confess to not being a sauvignon blanc devotee – but team it with semillon and it’s a different story. Margaret River producers tick many boxes with their blends of the two varieties and this 2018 Moss Wood is straw-hued with brassy tints and brings in scents of kiwifruit and herbs. Crisp gooseberry flavor features on the front of the palate and lemon zest, nashi pear and mineral characters chime in on the middle palate. The finish displays slatey acid. It and today’s other wines are at mosswood.com. au and fine wine stores. It would go well with garfish with fennel and artichoke salad. It’s from the Ribbon Vale vineyard, bought by the Mugfords in 2000 and close to the original Moss Wood.

Published February 9th, 2019

Rating: Stars
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Moss Wood 2017 Chardonnay – John Lewis, Newcastle Herald

Moss Wood is among my favourite Western Australian brands and one of Margaret River’s pioneers. Established in 1969 by Busselton medico Dr Bill Pannell and his wife Sandra, it has the distinction of being the region’s second vineyard after Vasse Felix – planted in 1967 by Perth cardiologist Dr Tom Cullity and now owned by the Holmes a Court family. Along with cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay is Margaret River’s premier variety and this excellent 2017 one shows why. It shines lime green-tinted lemon in the glass, entices with passionfruit aromas and beguiles with elegant nectarine front-palate flavour. Fig, citrus, brioche and vanillin oak marry on the middle palate and flinty acid refreshes at the finish. Perfect with salt and pepper squid. 5.5 stars (out of 6)

Published February 9th, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars
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Moss Wood 2017 Amy’s – John Lewis, Newcastle Herald

What a delightful multi-faceted drop we have in this blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. It has 13.5 per cent alcohol, ruby hues and cassis and caramel aromas. Vibrant blackcurrant flavour zips in on the front palate and elements of ripe black cherries, spice, Turkish delight chocolate and savoury oak home in on the middle palate. The finish has pepperminty tannins. Try it with glazed duck with pear and rocket salad. The Amy’s label dates back to 2002 and is Clare and Keith Mugford’s tribute to the late Margaret River pioneer Amy Beers and her family who farmed and ran cattle on the Glenmore property at Yallingup from 1895. Amy’s grandson, winemaker Ian Bell, planted the Glenmore vineyard on the property in 1990.

Published February 9th, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars
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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – Fergal Gleeson, The Great Wine Blog

Moss Wood Semillon and Ribbon Vale SBS offer wine lovers access to Moss Wood quality at a lower price than the iconic reds. Despite using the same technique the Semillon is very different in style to Hunter Valley Semillon. It’s richer, textured and satisfying even in its youth. Definitely not as acid driven. That’ll be terroir then. The SBS shows great intensity and persistence. It’s steely rather than a tropical fruit riot. It sees some barrel fermentation for texture but has no impact on flavour. Two lovely wines. Two 4 star ratings.

Rating: 4 Stars
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Moss Wood 2018 Semillon – Fergal Gleeson, The Great Wine Blog

Moss Wood Semillon and Ribbon Vale SBS offer wine lovers access to Moss Wood quality at a lower price than the iconic reds. Despite using the same technique the Semillon is very different in style to Hunter Valley Semillon. It’s richer, textured and satisfying even in its youth. Definitely not as acid driven. That’ll be terroir then. The SBS shows great intensity and persistence. It’s steely rather than a tropical fruit riot. It sees some barrel fermentation for texture but has no impact on flavour. Two lovely wines. Two 4 star ratings.

Rating: 4 Stars
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