Moss Wood 2021 Semillon

Wine Facts
Median Harvest Date22nd March, 2021
Harvest Ripeness14.9° Be
Weather DataGrowing Season Ave Temperature – 18.9⁰C
Number of hours accrued between 18 and 28⁰C – 1095
Number of hours above 33⁰C – 21
Yield5.79 t/ha
Ripening Time from Flowering to Harvest124 days
Bottled9th July, 2021
Released09th September, 2021
Alcohol14.5 %

Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Andrew Caillard, Winepilot.com-The Vintage Journal

Pale medium colour. Lovely intense tropical fruit, guava, lemon curd aromas. Concentrated tropical fruit, lemon curd, grapefruit flavours, fine slinky textures, lovely mid palate viscosity and fresh indelible acidity. Finishes crisp with fennel/ aniseed notes. Ripe, generous and minerally; the complete alter ego to Hunter Valley Semillon. Drink now but should keep for a while.

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Erin Larkin, Winecompanion.com.au

Powerful, dense and almost muscular, this cool-vintage iteration of semillon shows a tight core of apple and lime fruit, wrapped in layers of lemongrass, wisps of jalapeño, coriander root and apple skins. The top notes stray onto the exotic-spice spectrum, with fresh nutmeg, saffron and even za’atar. All this to say, a unique, restrained and…

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Angus Hughson, Wine Pilot

Great to see Moss Wood sticking with Semillon after all these years. And that perseverance pays off with wines which are always interesting and food friendly styles. This is a big wine from 2021 that weighs in at 14.5% alcohol but still has the acid balance which should see it age well. It’s far from…

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Gabrielle Poy, TheRealReview

This offers a heady mix of lemon curd, nutmeg and brioche… On the rich and ripe palate, a medley of fruits including pineapple and preserved lemon produces deep and intense flavours. Its core is warming indicating some alcohol, contributing to this gloriously intense wine. One for the hedonists! Posted on TheRealReview, February 2022  

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Fergal Gleeson, Greatwineblog

Moss Wood make a serious Semillon! While most in Margaret River blend with Sauvignon Blanc Moss Wood make and unoaked single varietal. There’s lemongrass and nectarine fruit finishing dry with a little chalk. It’s more like a Chablis than most Australian Chardonnay.  I can’t write about Australian Semillon without referencing the Hunter Valley… So here…

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Ken Gargett, Wine Pilot

Moss Wood in Margaret River has been making Semillon for over four decades, and it has a loyal following. Not always as consistent as their other wines, but, as they say in the classics, when it is good, it is very good. The style has seen variations over time and vintage conditions play a role…

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon-Angus Hughson, Wine Pilot

Great to see Moss Wood sticking with Semillon after all these years. And that perseverance pays off with wines which are always interesting and food friendly styles. This is a big wine from 2021 that weighs in at 14.5% alcohol but still has the acid balance which should see it age well. It’s far from…

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Bob Campbell, The Real Review

Rich, ripe and vibrant Semillon with citrus, lemon curd, lime zest and a suggestion of crushed fennel. A weighty, high-energy wine with an appealing hint of bitterness on the finish. Clearly a long-distance runner, although it can be appreciated now. A very serious Semillon.   Published December 2021

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Moss Wood 2021 Semillon – Ray Jordan, The West Australian Wine Guide 2022

This wine always has me tearing my hair out – because when you taste it you keep asking why  more don’t make a straight varietal Semillon in this pure and pristine style. Delicious with almost sweet primary characters balanced by a crisp powdery acidity. The palate is bright and lively with a long finish. Cellar: 8…

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  • Median Harvest Date

    22nd March, 2021

  • Mean Harvest Ripeness

    14.9° Be

  • Weather Data

    Growing Season Ave Temperature – 18.9⁰C

    Number of hours accrued between 18 and 28⁰C – 1095 

    Number of hours above 33⁰C – 21

  • Yield

    5.79 t/ha

  • Ripening Time from Flowering to Harvest

    124 days

  • Bottled

    9th July, 2021

  • Released

    09th September, 2021

  • Alcohol

    14.5%

Vintage Notes

The 2020/21 growing season got underway with budburst right on average and things looked promising from the start.  Regular rain kept the soil moisture topped up and this continued until December.  Although it brings with it complications, spring rainfall is very important for dry-farmed vineyards like Ribbon Vale and Moss Wood and gives the vines plenty of water to keep them going through the dry summer months.

All the signs were good but we got a bit edgy as the Semillon came into flowering in the first week of November.  The rain was quite steady and for the month we received 78mm.  With this came cool temperatures and between the two it eventually had quite an impact on our yields.  At 5.79 t/ha, the crop was down 55%, as we picked fewer and much lighter bunches.  We had been expecting some losses but got something of a shock at harvest when we realised how small the crop actually was.

Nevertheless, we were comfortable with how the season progressed.  Temperatures were generally mild and ripening was accordingly slow but steady and we expected to start picking Semillon slightly earlier than average around 10th March.  February arrived, and we thought we were in the home straight.  Silly us!  Mother Nature had one more challenge up her sleeve.

In the first week, Cyclone Seroja approached the Western Australian coast, eventually passing over the top of Kalbarri, about 800 kilometres north of Moss Wood.  The winds were never a threat but the associated rain band delivered us 82mm rain.  This caused us to hold our breathe for a day or so while we waited to see if there would be much splitting of the near-ripe and soft grapes and then whether we would be threatened by disease.

In the end we had little to fear.  We had some splitting in Semillon but our spray program gave good control over botrytis, so disease wasn’t a problem.  It’s interesting to speculate as to why there wasn’t more harm.  We believe our soils play an important role because they’re free-draining, allowing the water to move away fairly quickly.  Humidity drops accordingly and reduces the disease pressure.

A wine style consequence of the rain was not dissimilar to what happened in the Pinot Noir in 2019.  A reasonable percentage of berries began to raisin, courtesy of the rain damage, concentrating the sugar.  However, the majority of the berries, that also deliver the wine flavours, remained unripe and we had to wait for them to reach full flavour ripeness before we could pick.  The resulting harvest ripeness of 14.9 Baume is well above our long-term average of 12.7 and means we’ve made a very generous 2021 Semillon indeed.

We’ve discussed this in our newsletter before the idea that history never repeats but it definitely rhymes.  It’s been a long time since we had a similar vintage and we have to go back 32 years to 1988/89 to find the rhyming season.

After the rain delay, we took the Semillon off roughly 2 weeks later than average, on 22nd March.

Production Notes

The fruit was hand-picked and delivered to the winery where it was whole-bunch pressed and the juice was then settled in stainless steel tank for 48 hours.  The clear juice was racked to stainless steel and seeded with multiple yeast strains for primary fermentation.  This was controlled to a temperature of 18°C and once the wine reached dryness it was racked and prepared for bottling as soon as possible.

Fining trials were carried out to assess tannin balance but none of the treatments improved things and so the wine was treated only with bentonite for protein stability.  It was then sterile filtered and bottled on 9th July, 2021.

Tasting Notes

Colour and condition:

Medium straw hue, with green tints; bright condition.

Nose

A classic Moss Wood Semillon.  The fruit aroma of leaf and ripe figs is lifted by citrus and confectionery notes of lemon sherbet, plus pear, camomile tea, lanolin, wax, preserved lemon and even mushroom.

Palate

The wine’s initial impression is quite unctuous – concentrated fig, apricot and orange rind and preserved lemon flavours, supported by a full body.  Underneath, the structure is firm but the acidity and tannin are well balanced by the flavour depth.  The finish is clean, with no bitterness.

Cellaring

In the short term, the youthful fruit flavours should remain a strong part of the wine for at least the next 5 years.  Around years 7 – 10, Semillon can experience something of an adolescence where some of the initial aromas have aged away but are not yet replaced by the developing bottle bouquet.  However, from 10 years on the wine should hit its straps and reach full maturity around 25 years old.