Moss Wood 1996 Semillon
The 1996 Moss Wood Semillon has a medium straw colour with a green tint and perfumed aromas of tropical fruit salad: green apple, fig, quince, gooseberry and passionfruit. On the palate, it has similar tropical fruit flavours with overtones of yeasty, bready characters from the lees stirring. This delicious white is pristine, has fresh, intense fruitiness, a tight structure and good, crisp acidity on a finish which lingers.
The growing season leading up to the 1996 harvest in Margaret River was certainly a good one with consistent rainfall right up to Christmas and no seriously hot conditions throughout summer. This led to a better than average yield of semillon at Moss Wood. The February heat brought things along and despite the increased yield, the vintage commenced on March 7th, pretty much on time. The grapes showed such wonderful flavours in the lead up to harvest (with some patches tasting better than ever) that we decided to do a grape tasting with Mike Davies of Ribbon Vale and Eddie Price of Amberley. The conclusion of that tasting was that the quality of semillon from the vintage was consistently brilliant across the region.
The picking went well with the grapes being added to the press no later than 11.30am on any given day. The new Wilmes press continues to bring great joy at Moss Wood as it processes the grapes superbly and produces significantly larger quantities of juice. There is no question that the quality of whites continues to soar thanks to the improved, gentler pressing. The free run juice plus pressings were combined, settled for seventy two hours (it is getting longer each year) in sealed tanks and then racked at the winemaker's convenience. There are considerable benefits in a longer settling period for the juice as it appears as though more flavour is extracted from the settling lees.
Fermentation took place at 18 C and lasted for fourteen days. After that the tanks were closed, sulphur dioxide was added and the lees were stirred three times per week. After four weeks, the wine was fined, filtered and bottled: this year was the earliest bottling ever, on Wednesday 5th June. The Semillon appears to have benefited from the extra time in the bottle before release.
The wine can be cellared to drink between twelve and fifteen years of age. One of the best ever Moss Wood Semillons.