Moss Wood 2018 Chardonnay
Median Harvest Date - 9th March, 2018
Harvest Ripeness - 13.5°Be
Yields - 6.15 tonnes/ha
2018 Chardonnay Weather Data
Growing Season Ave Temperature – 19.44⁰C
Number of hours accrued between 18 and 28⁰C – 1195
Number of hours above 33⁰C – 13
Days Elapsed Between Flowering and Harvest - 122 days
Often our wine stories are a narrative of how we struggled against the many challenges Mother Nature threw at us before we finally triumphed, against near impossible odds, to produce a high-quality wine. Well, with the Moss Wood 2018 Chardonnay, there will be none of that. Quite the contrary in fact.
In reviewing the 2017/18 growing season, we were reminded of how good it was - one of those rare years when just about everything worked in our favour. We enjoy them when they come around but often take them for granted. For example, 1991 was very much a vintage that went by without incident. This may sound odd but we often get a pleasant surprise when the young wines start to reveal their quality when really, there should be no surprise at all. We hope you don’t find this boring!
Our Spring weather was near perfect. The calendar year 2017 produced just over 10% above average rainfall, with a total of 1117mm, so the soil was nicely topped up with moisture. However, very conveniently, the flowering period wasn’t too wet and we had regular showers but no downpours, so they did little harm to the process. These were accompanied by temperatures that rarely dropped below 8°C, so the vines loved that as well.
Through Summer, temperatures remained moderate, so while the vines didn’t rush through their ripening, the season was roughly a week longer than average, they made steady progress and reached full maturity of both sugar and flavour with ease. Furthermore, they experienced only 13 hours above 33°C, so there was absolutely no heat stress. In fact, for a while we were concerned temperatures may have been a little too mild but in the end these fears were unfounded. The vines had flowered right on their average date of 5th November and had plenty of time to get the job done.
To note how mild our Summer was, the hottest day was 14th January, when the mercury topped out at 39.1°C but apart from that, the temperature rarely went over 33°C.
We had no issues with disease or damage from pests like the birds and we cruised into the Chardonnay harvest on 7th March. The yield of 6.15 tonnes/ha was down by roughly 10% and the ripeness was 13.5° Baume, very slightly above our average of 13.1.
All the fruit was hand-picked and delivered to the winery where it was whole-bunch pressed. The must was cold settled for 48 hours then the clear juice was racked and seeded with multiple yeast strains for primary fermentation. At approximately halfway through ferment, on 18th March, the juice was racked to wood. All the barrels were 228 litre French oak and 56% were new. The wine also underwent a full malolactic fermentation and once completed, all the barrels were racked, blended and adjusted in stainless steel. The finished wine was then returned to barrel.
On 25th June 2019 all barrels were racked and blended in stainless steel and fining trials were carried out. None of the agents offered any improvement so the wine remained unfined, apart from a bentonite addition for protein stability. To complete the process, the wine was sterile filtered and bottled on 12th July 2019.
Colour and condition:
The hue is medium to deep straw with a green tint; condition is bright.
All the features that give Moss Wood Chardonnay its distinctiveness are on display. The fruit aromas are of peach, orange marmalade, honeysuckle and quince, plus, of course, the usual roast nuts and oat biscuits. There is a light toasty background from the barrels and a touch of caramel and crème brulee from the malolactic fermentation.
The palate is full bodied with good acidity and tannin but this firm structure is well and truly complemented by the fruit flavours. There is an array of peach, lime, quince and caramel that provide length and breadth and the finish shows some soft, toasty oak and just enough tannin for good cellaring.
As with all Moss Wood Chardonnays it is very attractive now and can certainly be enjoyed as a youngster. However, it will repay patience and we recommend it be cellared for at least 10 years to allow it to show some bottle age. Full maturity will be reached at 20 years of age.