Moss Wood Newsletter Autumn News Issue #87, April 2015

Moss Wood 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

MW12CS_ 750 (2)
Cabernet Sauvignon

Harvest Dates
Cabernet Sauvignon – 22nd March, 2012
Cabernet Franc – 9th March, 2012
Petit Verdot – 24th March, 2012

Harvest Ripeness
Cabernet Sauvignon – 13.80 Be
Cabernet Franc – 12.80 Be
Petit Verdot – 12.80 Be

Cabernet Sauvignon – 9.2 t/ha
Cabernet Franc – 6.74 t/ha
Petit Verdot – 7.17 t/ha

Climate Data
Growing Season Ave Temperature: 20.580 C
Hours accrued between 18 & 280 C: 1025
Number of hours above 330 C: 79

Days Elapsed Between Flowering and Harvest
Cabernet Sauvignon – 118 days
Cabernet Franc – 105 days
Petit Verdot - 120 days


No doubt about it, the 2012 growing season was excellent. Rainfall through 2011 was very slightly above average and in particular, rain through the growing season amounted to a respectable 238 mm, keeping our dry grown vines nicely watered. Luckily for us it fell at the right times so as not to disrupt flowering and yields for Cabernet
Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were all up by around
5%. Our good fortune continued with Summer temperatures warm enough to promote consistent ripening. After a hot Australia Day, where the temperature topped out at 40.8, the vines settled into nice autumnal conditions, gradually proceeding to a maturity of 13.8o Baume on 22nd March. Ripeness was 5% above average and occurred 2 days earlier than average. Fruit condition was excellent with no disease or damage problems.


As is always the case at Moss Wood, to maximize quality, picking was done by hand. Despite the much greater expense, this is the only method that ensures absolutely sound fruit is delivered to
the winery.

Each variety was destemmed and the berries transferred to small, open fermenters. For reliable quality outcomes, fermentations were by pure yeast cultures. Each batch was hand plunged up to 4 times per day and the wine stayed on skins until the best balance of tannin was achieved. This was typically 12 to 15 days. All batches were pressed then underwent malolactic fermentation before being racked into 225 litre French oak barrels, 20% of which were new.

After 32 months wood aging, the wine was racked from barrel, lightly fined with skim milk and then sterile filtered and bottled on 18th Nov, 2014.

The final blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc.

Tasting Notes

In keeping with such a good season, the Moss Wood 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ranks right up there with the best wines we have made and continues our dream run of quality vintages dating back to 2007.

The wine has an especially vibrant nose, with all sorts of lifted scents. There are violets, raspberries, mulberries and red currants fairly jumping out of the glass but underneath looms the classic complex notes of leather, earth, cedar and tar. Oak notes add further complexity.

On the palate the theme of bright fruit notes continues. Generous mulberry and red currant flavours fill the palate and they sit over quite a firm tannin structure giving the wine good weight and length. It carries the Moss Wood hallmark of youthful balance and

Being such an attractive wine it is delicious to drink now. However, it is a wine in the mould of previous vintages like 2008, 1996 and 1985, especially the latter, if slightly more tannic than that vintage. Accordingly, for those who enjoy some maturity in their wines, we recommend a minimum cellaring time of 10 to 15 years. For those who like fully mature characters, the cellaring requirement is 20 to 25 years.


We are delighted to report another high quality vintage for 2015 although not without some contrasts. On the plus side, a somewhat mild summer gave quality that is quite literally great, with all varieties showing outstanding colour and fruit character. On the other hand, Mother Nature decided we couldn’t have our cake and eat it. Yields are well down, around 30% below average. Our best guess is this is the product of an early budburst and wet Spring, which left the vines with fewer bunches that flowered badly.

The low yields have been a source of fun and frustration. The winery crew have been enjoying the luxury of a few days off and even a bit of surfing. Meanwhile, the French Expeditionary Force,
otherwise known as the backpackers, are immensely frustrated by the lack of work, limiting their extra days for their Working Holiday visas, not to mention cash in their wallets.

Cyclone Olwyn loomed over us right at the end. These things rarely affect the Margaret River region, although Cyclone Alby, in 1978, still lives in the memory of all Western Australians who witnessed it. This event aside, strong winds are, fortunately, rare. Rain is our biggest concern such as happened in 1989, by far Moss Wood’s most difficult vintage. This year, after giving us a pause for concern, Cyclone Olwyn went easy on us, delivering only 30mm. We had all but finished, with only Cabernet Sauvignon still on the vines and even that was half finished and in the fermenters. The remaining sections were not fully ripe and so we decided to wait it out and hope for the best. In the end we have been lucky.


Location: 926 Metricup Road, Wilyabrup WA
Postal: PO Box 225, Cowaramup WA 6284
Phone: +61 8 9755 6266
Fax: +61 8 9755 6303

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