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Moss Wood 2015 Chardonnay

Wine Facts

Median Harvest:  16/02/2016
Bottled:  11/10/2016
Released:  20/10/2016
Yield:  6.24 t/ha
Median Harvest Ripeness:  12.6⁰ Baume
Alcohol: 13.5%

Before we go into commentary about this new release, we’d like to point out that this calendar year is something of a milestone for our Chardonnay.  As we write this newsletter, it is almost exactly 40 years ago to the day since it was first planted at Moss Wood, making us one of the few vineyards in Australia that have genuinely old Chardonnay vines and we can only hope we are doing justice to the grapes these grand old things are producing.

Tasting Notes

In keeping with such a good season, this wine has much to recommend it.  The colour is light to medium straw, with green tints and the condition is bright.  The nose has significant volume, with ethereal aromas of limes and blossom, sitting over Chardonnay’s riper fruit characters of peaches and nuts.  Lightly toasty oak notes sit in the background, along with subtle cheese and meaty notes.  This complexity follows along the palate, where there are bright lime, peach and roast cashew flavours.  Structure is firm, with high acidity and some tannins on the finish but this is balanced by full and excellent length.

Vintage Notes

Ripening Time from Flowering to Harvest: 117 days
Spring 2014 was definitely one for vineyard managers who enjoy a challenge, with regular rainfall that tested our spray program, as well as causing havoc while the vines were flowering.  As an amusing aside, 2014 was the wettest year in the 37 that we have been involved at Moss Wood – 1245mm rain fell, some 26% above average.
When we have lots of rain, temperatures remain mild, so in 2014 we had an extended flowering period of 48 days, nearly twice as long as normal.  Fortunately, this also meant overnight. temperatures were generally higher, something the vines really enjoy and probably offset the rain to a degree.  In the end the final yield of 6.24 tonnes per hectare was only 10% down.
The remainder of the growing season was positively splendid.  Temperatures were mild to warm and we didn’t register a day over 37⁰C.  The vines experienced nearly endless hours in their preferred range for photosynthesis and it could be said the Chardonnay strode slowly, steadily and gracefully to its harvest date of 16th February, when it had achieved a ripeness of 12.6⁰ Baume.

Production Notes

All the fruit was hand-picked then whole bunch pressed, with the juice collected and racked to stainless steel tank, where it was settled for 48 hours.  The clear juice was racked to stainless steel and fermentation commenced, using a variety of yeasts.  Once the initial, aggressive stage was completed in the controlled temperature environment of the tank, the wine was then racked in to barrel.  All barrels were 228 litre French oak and 45% were new.  It stayed in barrel for 19 months and during that time underwent a full malolactic fermentation.
In September the wine was racked from barrel, fined for heat stability, then sterile filtered and bottled on 11th October, 2016.

Cellaring Notes

Cellaring time will be typical Moss Wood, with the wine requiring at least 10 years aging to develop the beginnings of its bottle bouquet but a further 10 years beyond that to reach full maturity.  In the meantime, it will be just as rewarding to consume as a youngster, where its bright fruit characters make it easy to enjoy.

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