Moss Wood 2020 Chardonnay
|Median Harvest Date||18th February, 2020|
|Harvest Ripeness||13.3° Be|
|Weather Data||Growing Season Ave Temperature – 19.9⁰C |
Number of hours accrued between 18 and 28⁰C – 1210
Number of hours above 33⁰C – 68
|Ripening Time from Flowering to Harvest||111 days|
|Bottled||9th August, 2021|
|Released||9th September, 2021|
Youthful yes, but this has a wonderful depth of flavour and character I wasn’t expecting. Perfectly balanced, apple, pear and honeysuckle flavours supported by light oak. Destined to mature wonderfully, if you have the patience. Published April 2021
Chardonnay charm The Moss Wood 2019 Wilyabrup Chardonnay is green-tinted straw and has apricot and honeycomb scents and lovely golden peach front-palate flavour. Mango, nashi pear, marzipan and cashew oak show on the middle palate and flinty acid at the finish. Published Jan 2021
Mid to light-yellow colour, with creamy buttery aromas, some honey starting to apear, the palate generous and almost opulent – as the bouquet leads us to expect. Rich, full-bodied, layered with flavour. A traditional Burgundy-style chardonnay with lots of everything. Finishes with some alcohol warmth. Complex, multi-dimensioned and very generous….
The big mover at Moss Wood in recent years has been their chardonnay. In the last five years it is a wine that has edged closer and closer to the pinnacle of Margaret River in a power-packed style and the 2019 vintage is another impressive release. It is pale gold…
2019 was a challenging vintage in Margaret River (WA). This was due to things like frost, super cold temperatures, birds eating the grapes and more rain than normal. As Moss Wood said, “The only thing we didn’t get was hail, so perhaps we should be thankful”. Despite the hurdles, this…
Honeycomb and buttery elements, as well as praline, grilled peach and toasted hazelnut. The palate has a very smoothly honed, gently creamy and spicy edge. So much texture. Very rich and classically styled chardonnay. Published Nov 2020
Supremely elegant chardonnay with peach, citrus, hazelnut, brioche, saline-mineral and subtle spicy oak flavours. Concentrated wine with a drop-dead-gorgeous texture. Youthful yet accessible. A complex wine. Published Nov 4th, 2020
This is magnificently composed and expressed, showing white flesh peach, citrus peel, cedar and nougat characters on the nose with a hint of brioche. It’s immensely concentrated and richly textured on the palate, while remaining harmonious and impeccably balanced. Multi-layered with loads of delectable flavours. At its best: 2029 to…
Pale golden straw with a lime reflection and a focused nose constructed of lemon blossom, Gardenia, Jasmine, Honeysuckles, sweetened lemon, passionfruit pith, tangelo, asparagus and grilled nectarine. Background notes of green hazelnut, dried mandarin peel and hints of vanilla show its oak. Lovely nose! In the mouth it is extremely…
Cabernet may well be the ‘signature dish’ at Moss Wood but Chardonnay is hot on its heels. Moss Wood 2017 was voted Australia’s best Chardonnay by the Wine Companion and points have been consistently high across recent vintages. Clare Mugford (co-owner with Keith) says that they’ve worked hard on this…
Keith was lucky enough to travel to Germany at the beginning of October 2019, to join a cycling tour with several other powerhouse riders from the Cowaramup Turtle Brigade. After 2 weeks of climbing steep hills in the Black Forest, mostly in the rain and with the mercury rarely rising above 12°C, Keith concluded the “Golden October” the Germans speak of must be some sort of cruel joke. He was looking forward to getting home to some warmer weather. And flatter roads.
People may wonder what this has to do with Moss Wood 2020 Chardonnay?
Upon returning on 23rd October, it was clear the spring had been quite warm and the vines commenced flowering a few days early, on 14th October. Nice to be back, he thought, although the weather on the drive home from Perth was threatening. Later that night, lying in bed at 12.15am listening to the rain, things became serious as the drumming on the tile roof got really loud. It was hailing! He thought all that had been left behind in Germany!
Although we have a fairly benign maritime climate, there’s always a risk of strong winds and hail. The weather systems crossing the southern Indian Ocean have nothing between South Africa and Western Australia to slow them down, so they can hit our coastline with some ferocity. Our mild climate means all varieties, but especially Chardonnay, have an early budburst, leaving it exposed to inclement conditions. In 2019 we experience the roughly one in five year event when we get serious damage.
A hailstorm is common enough that we’ve learned to remain rational about the whole thing. Not all hail is damaging but the longer it lasts the greater the risk of harm. We can also treat the damaged tissue with targeted fungicides to ensure losses are not exacerbated by secondary infections. We’re not completely defenceless.
It pays to wait a few days before assessing the extent of the damage since it takes some time for the bruising to become obvious. It helps ensure we don’t underestimate the harm. In this case, scouting the vineyard a week later confirmed moderate losses, which became obvious at harvest time. The hail had taken out a reasonable number of bunches, down by about 16% but the weight of those bunches was down 39%. It meant overall the Chardonnay yield of 4.89 t/ha was down by a frustrating 28%.
Having devoted such a long commentary to another reminder from Mother Nature that we make wine at her pleasure, readers will probably be amused to learn the rest of the season was excellent. Temperatures were warm, with an average across the period of 19.9°C and the vines experienced 1210 hours in their preferred range of 18-28°C. With the small crop and such good conditions, harvest got under way 2 weeks early on 18th February, at a slightly higher than average ripeness of 13.3° Baume.
All the fruit was hand-picked and delivered to the winery where it was sorted for any damage and then whole bunch pressed. The must was settled in stainless steel tanks for 48 hours before the clear juice was racked and seeded with multiple yeast strains for primary fermentation. Once under way, the fermenting juice was transferred to 228 litre French oak barrels, half of which were new, on 27th February. In barrel, the wine completed a full malolactic fermentation. After almost exactly 17 months on 28th July 2021 all the barrels were racked and blended in stainless steel and fining trials were carried out to assess tannin balance. In the end, the wine needed no further adjustment but was treated with a light dose of bentonite for protein stability. On 9th August 2021 it was sterile filtered and bottled.
Colour and condition:
Medium to deep straw hue; bright condition.
Fruit aromas are typical Moss Wood ripe peach, combined with a zesty note similar to cumquat marmalade. These combine with lots of roast almonds and cashews, shortbread biscuits, malt and toasty oak for added complexity.
The palate is lively, with fresh acidity giving lift to peaches, limes, grapefruit and caramel; there is full body and firm tannin underneath, so the wine displays good length and there is just a touch of malt and toasty oak on the finish.
We confront the usual dilemma with cellaring Moss Wood Chardonnay. On the one hand, its generous fruit notes and complexity provide very enjoyable early drinking and so we encourage customers who enjoy these youthful characteristics to drink the wine now. However, for those who prefer the mature notes in Chardonnay we recommend cellaring for at least 10 years to allow the wine to develop some bottle bouquet. Full maturity will be reached around 20 years of age.