Moss Wood 2002 Pinot Noir
Keith sees this Moss Wood Pinot as having strawberry, cherry and quince jelly flavours, some spiciness from the addition of 5% whole bunches to the ferment, and spicy charry oak character. He feels that the palate has more delicacy than it has had for years - probably because it has 1% less alcohol than usual.
The Moss Wood 2002 Pinot Noir has strawberry and raspberry perfumes, is soft, round and gentle in the mouth with strawberry, red cherry and mulberry flavours and fine soft tannins. It is beautifully balanced, fine and delicate yet has intensity, richness and depth of flavour.
In his more sanguine moments, Keith might be tempted to describe the 2002 vintage as a consumer's delight. Certainly, poor flowering of the vines meant that yields would, at best, be low. The Moss Wood team felt it necessary to crop thin more vigorously than usual and apply a fair amount of leaf removal by hand to bring the best out of the excellent mild vintage. Yields of 4.3 tonnes per hectare (or 28 hectalitres / ha) are indeed very low. All this is part of the vineyard regime, designed to develop the best possible fruit characters a little earlier than in previous years. The expectation is that this will lead to lower levels of alcohol and give more delicate texture without any herbal notes.
The wine was given the usual treatment in the winery, with hand plunging four times a day during fermentation. Afterwards, the wine was left on skins for about two weeks so that the fruit and tannin balance was correct. It was then placed in French oak barrels (30% new) where it underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was matured in oak for 21 rather than the usual 23 months in order to retain more fruit freshness.
The Moss Wood 2002 Pinot Noir is enticing now but will develop further over the next fifteen years.