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Moss Wood 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – Fergal Gleeson, Margaret River Region Magazine Winter 2018

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Moss Wood 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – Fergal Gleeson, Margaret River Region Magazine Winter 2018

Rating: Stars

Moss Wood cabernet sauvignon is one of the region’s most famous wines. The 2014 vintage achieved stellar scores from wine critics. I think the 2015 is an even better wine.

“There’s a strong olive and black fruit presence in the 2015,” says proprietor and winemaker Keith Mugford. “It has floral notes and a nicely ripened tannin.”

Keith is in his 40th vintage at Moss Wood, having come to Margaret River after vintages with Tulloch and Orlando. He modestly refers to himself as having been a student in 1979, still working from the Roseworthy College textbook where he achieved his winemaking qualifications.

I asked him to reflect on Moss Wood’s cabernet now versus when he started at the winery in 1979.

“The fundamentals haven’t changed. The grapes are handpicked and hand plunged in open fermenters. But I’d have to say the base-line quality has improved. Things are better in the vineyard such as improvements in trellising as well as in the winery where our technique has improved at destemming and the preparation of the fruit. So you’d have to say there is an improved quality which leads to a cleaner, purer wine. We tried just as hard in 1979 but in 2018 the skills and technology are better.”

Keith doesn’t fuss too much about food and wine matching and jokes that he is dreadful at it. “When I’m in a restaurant, I will choose a dish and wine that I want to drink but rarely know if they will match!”

Some of the more novel food and wine matches he has had with Moss Wood wines have occurred in Taiwan. The Moss Wood cabernet was served with a duck’s blood soup. Their semillon was served with crunchy goose feet. Clare Mugford, co-proprietor and Keith’s wife, has noted that at Moss Wood dinners “whether with young or back vintage Moss Wood cabernet, the most complimentary match has been the last wine of the night served with the cheese plate. It goes really well with hard cheeses such as cheddar.”

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