Moss Wood 2006 Semillon
The wine has light to medium straw colour and is in bright condition. On the nose, there is the full array of Semillon fruit aromas, including Granny Smith apple, fig leaf and lemon sherbet, with additional complexity of honey notes and doughy characters from lees stirring. It also displays the unusual Semillon mushroom and earthy notes. Amusingly, these suggest the wine has been fermented and aged in barrels when in fact it hasn’t. We are at a loss to explain where they come from but have been part of Moss Wood Semillon since the first vintage. Keith is quite happy to acknowledge that as a know-it-all Roseworthy College graduate, he fell for the same trick. As expected in a cool vintage like 2006, the palate is very fresh, combining crisp acidity, vibrant leaf and fig fruit flavours. The wine is medium to full bodied, so the flavours are quite generous and long and there is some tannin to provide structure on the finish.
The very cool conditions that prevailed during the 2005/2006 growing season meant that our quality expectations for the Semillon were high. From the past we knew that wines like the excellent 2002 was a product of a long cool season, as were the 1993, 1990, 1985 and 1982. Our chief concern was the interference of the other weather component usually associated with mild temperatures– rain. While Semillon is a generally robust variety, it can split if it receives too much rain which can then lead to lower quality when fungi like Botrytis take hold. During the growing season we maintain a prophylactic spray program to keep the disease pressure to a minimum. However, even the best management programs will turn to mush if Mother Nature decides to give us a good bath! As things turned out, the rain came in small enough doses that the fruit did not split and the overall effect was to give us a very slow but even ripening. This meant the winery crew had what seemed an interminable wait but in the end, the quality made it all worthwhile.
The production was typical of our current Semillon technique. The fruit was wholebunch pressed and the juice was pumped to a stainless steel tank, where it was chilled, enzyme was added and allowed to settle for 48 hours. After settling, the clear juice, plus 2% of the solids were racked to a stainless steel tank for fermentation at 18C. The juice was stirred once per day during fermentation and then once per week for 6 weeks once it was finished. In preparation for bottling, the wine was fined with bentonite for protein stability then cold stabilised and sterile filtered. Bottling was carried out on 26th June 2006.
In comparing this wine with a vintage like the 1982, we have the same high expectations for cellaring. So while the young fruit characters make the wine very drinkable now, the depth and structure suggest it will cellar for at least 20 years. The proviso for those who do choose to age the wine is to be cautious during its middle years, usually between 5 and 10 years old. During this adolescent period it may be a little subdued on the nose and will benefit from decanting.