Moss Wood 2006 Pinot Noir

Moss Wood 2006 Pinot Noir

 MW2006PN

Wine Facts

Harvested: 3/3/2006
Bottled: 4/11/2007
Released: 8/10/2008
Yield: 3.52 t/ha
Baume: 13.00
Alcohol: 13.50%
Vintage Rating: 10/10

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Tasting Notes

Colour and condition: Medium ruby hue, in bright condition.

Nose: Lively red fruits aromas of strawberry and plum combine with liqueur cherries and rose petals. This provides the complex background for a variety of lifted fragrances of soft charry oak, beeswax, spice, cinnamon and cloves, with hints of floral notes reminiscent of lavender and interesting earthy complexity of malt, leather and humus.

Palate: An immediate impact of bright dark fruit flavours, plum, cherry and bursts red fruits red currents and crushed strawberries. It has medium to full body, with good weight and length and finishes with well balanced spicy oak and strawberry seed astringency.

Having so much in common with the great 1981 vintage, we are enthusiastic about the cellaring prospects of the 2006. Its fruit depth and concentration make the wine very enjoyable now but it will develop well in the bottle and should reach full complexity at around 10 to 15 years of age. After this, the wines characters will not change greatly but it will continue to live in the bottle for at least another 10 years.

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Vintage Notes

In 2006, the Margaret River region experienced a very cool growing season. According to the temperature record it was the coolest in the district’s short history although curiously, it is not the slowest on record for the Pinot Noir. That title goes to the 1982, so an analysis of the dates is interesting. The long term average harvest date for Pinot Noir is 23rd of February (Keith’s Mum’s birthday) and the 2006 was picked 9 days later on 4th of March while the 1982 was picked 18 days later on 13th March. Certainly 1982 was a cool season but it is interesting to consider the difference in yields, where the older vintage cropped at 9.84 t/ha but the younger vintage was less than half that at 3.52 t/ha. This puts the cool conditions of 2006 in better perspective. Although it had a much smaller crop and much-improved fruit exposure, the temperatures were so low it took nearly as long to ripen.

In any cool, damp season there are two main problems to contend with. Inclement weather significantly disrupts the flowering and in 2005 led to very poor fruit set and therefore the very low yield in the 2006 harvest. At 3.52 tonnes per hectare it is the third lowest on record. The smallest crop was the 1980 where, in the days when Moss Wood had few neighbours and even fewer nets, the birds took virtually all the crop (literally) and left us with 2.95 tonnes per hectare. A better comparison is the 1981 vintage where bad weather reduced the yield to 3.48 tonnes per hectare. Interestingly, the ’81 and ’06 vintages both share the same harvest date and virtually the same ripeness.

Poor weather also increases the pressure of fungal disease and therefore the number of treatments the vineyard may need. Importantly, we spent more time spraying the vineyard but we also prevented any crop damage, so what little was there at least arrived in the winery in good condition.

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Production Notes

The fruit was hand picked and destemmed into small, open fermenters and 3% of whole bunches were added. The tanks were then cooled to 10°C and the juice and skins were allowed to macerate for 48 hours. After this, fermentation was initiated by the addition of pure yeast culture, temperatures were controlled to a maximum of 32°C and each tank was hand plunged up to four times per day to extract colour and flavour. On average, the batches spent 13 days on skins and were then pressed, racked to stainless steel tank and all pressings were included. After settling, the wine was racked off gross lees to barrels, where it underwent full malolactic fermentation. All barrels were French oak and consisted of the typical Moss Wood Pinot Noir blend of 33% new oak, 67% two and three year old oak. After 19 months in wood, it was racked and prepared for bottling with sterile filtration and then bottled on 5th November 2007.

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Cellaring Notes

Having so much in common with the great 1981 vintage, we are enthusiastic about the cellaring prospects of the 2006. Its fruit depth and concentration make the wine very enjoyable now but it will develop well in the bottle and should reach full complexity at around 10 to 15 years of age. After this, the wines characters will not change greatly but it will continue to live in the bottle for at least another 10 years.