Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Vineyard 2003 Cabernet Merlot
Blend: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc
The Moss Wood 2003 Ribbon Vale Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot has a restrained nose with savoury, dark plum and cassis aromas, ripe but savoury rather than sweet fruit, smooth texture, impressive depth of flavour and restrained power. The fruit, oak and tannins have integrated admirably and the finish is firm though approachable.
Award: Decanter Fine Wine www.decanter.com Highly Recommended – 4 Star Awardin the Panel Tasting Review of Western Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2003 vintage is well regarded in Wilyabrup. It was a consistently warm year with some hot weather, though no extreme spikes as occurred in 2004. As a result, it was an early season in which yields were lower than usual. It was a great year for cabernet, with ripe redcurrant and cassis flavours, rich texture and ripe concentrated tannins.
The cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot were all vinified separately, according to established practice at Moss Wood. The grapes were destemmed and allowed to ferment at warm temperatures of up to 32°C. The must was plunged four times a day during fermentation and the juice left on skins until tasting confirmed we were happy with the tannin balance. The wine was pressed into barrel (one-third new French oak), where it completed malolactic fermentation. Blind tastings were conducted to determine the proportions of each variety that would go into the final blend. Interestingly, results of the tastings for the 2003 wine were consistent with results in previous years. So the blend remained relatively constant: 53% cabernet sauvignon; 32% merlot; 10% cabernet franc and 5% petit verdot. The different barrels of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot were blended in tank. The blended wine was returned to barrels for 22 months and then filtered and bottled. For the 2003 vintage, there were 1,200 dozen of this wine.
This wine will improve in the short term and can be consumed with confidence, if well cellared, for at least the next ten years. In our view, this is the best yet under this label.