Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2020 Elsa

Wine Facts
Median Harvest Date15/02/2020
Harvest Ripeness12.8 °Be
Yield8.01 t/ha
Day Elapsed between Flowering and Harvest88 days
Bottled15/01/2021
Released29/10/2021
Alcohol14.0%
Wine Facts
Median Harvest Date15/02/2020
Harvest Ripeness12.8 °Be
Yield8.01 t/ha
Day Elapsed between Flowering and Harvest88 days
Bottled15/01/2021
Released29/10/2021
Alcohol14.0%

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2020 Elsa – Fergal Gleeson, Greatwineblog

Moss Wood have just released 2020 Elsa, a sophisticated Sauvignon Blanc. Moss Wood’s first release of Elsa was the 2019 with the aim of making more complex Sauv Blanc. Winemaking techniques support this through oak barrel fermentation and ageing and more use of solids to build flavours. 10% Semillon also add palate weight. It’s miles…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2020 Elsa – Ken Gargett, Wine Pilot

A wine like this is always a tough one to review. As ever, it must be done as objectively as possible on the undoubted merits of the wine and this is a wine that will have many supporters. That said, this is a love-it-or-hate-it wine – all these ‘worked’ Savvies are. After pressing, the must is…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2020 Elsa – Angus Hughson, Wine Pilot

Some of my compatriots in the wine writing game are not the biggest fans of full worked Sauvignon Blanc, but I am not one of them. Actually I think these wines can be some of the best white wines in the world when done right, as can be seen in the best white wines from…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2020 Elsa – Bob Campbell, The Real Review

Sauvignon Blanc with 10% Semillon, fermented and matured for nine months in oak. Rich, weighty wine with guava, passion fruit, lemongrass and subtle, spicy oak flavours supported by fine tannins and fresh acidity. A singular Sauvignon. Drink 2021-2025 Published December 2021    

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2020 Elsa – Ray Jordan, The West Australian Wine Guide 2022

This is a modern old-world take on sauvignon blanc. There’s multiple yeast use in the fermentation and a little oak adding complexity and adding to the interest on the palate. It has about 10 months in oak before bottling, with just a light fining. It’s atypical of Aussie savvies and great example of what can…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – John Lewis, Newcastle Herald

BRING ON THE SQUID The MossWood 2019 RibbonVale Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is lime green-tinged straw and has lychee and herb scents and gooseberry front-palate flavour. Passionfruit, guava, gunmetal and sherbet show on the middle palate and slatey acid refreshes at the finish. The Wilyabrup sub-region RibbonVale vineyard was bought by the Mugfords in 2000

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion

90% sauvignon blanc, 10% semillon. Hand picked and sorted, each variety vinified separately. 10 months in French barrels (5% new). Wow. Ok, so a new breed of barrel-aged sauvignon blanc is here. Intense and rich, rounded, complex and viscous in texture. The tannins (yes, tannins – despite only an hour on skins) are ripe and…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – Cameron Douglas, camdouglasms.com

An elegant bouquet centering on aromas of pure yellow fleshed orchard fruits, oak, lees and the complexities the harmonies of these three elements reveal. On the palate – weighty, almost full-bodied, fruits flavours of grapefruit and peach, some quince and apple then the unmistakable youthful bite of new French wood. Tannins, acid and wood are…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – “Savvy with Sav Blanc” Ray Jordan, The West Australian

This is a first for Moss Wood and comes from the Ribbon Vale property. It’s sauvignon blanc made in a very modern style. There’s multiple yeast use in the fermentation and a little oak adding complexity and compelling interest on the palate. It has about 10 months in oak before bottling with just a light…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – Huon Hooke, The Real Review

Light straw colour, with an intensely nutty, savoury bouquet with spicy elements, the palate rich and layered and quite driven by its oaky richness. Very attractive flavours, it must be said. The acidity is clean and balanced and the wine is long and maintains interest all the way. Published 1st April 2020

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – Bob Campbell, The Real Review

The first vintage of a new oak-fermented and matured sauvignon blanc that succeeds in taking the variety to new heights. Deliciously fruity wine with passionfruit, guava, lemon zest and ripe apple flavours capped off by an ethereal texture and impeccable sugar-and-acid balance. The oak is evident but subtle. It should age well.   Published 1st…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – John Lewis, Newcastle Herald

The MossWood 2019 RibbonVale Elsa is a harmony of fine fruit and judicious oak. It shines lime green-tinted straw and has passionfruit scents and gooseberry front-palate. The middle shows quince, preserved lemon, honeydew melon and subtle cashew oak and the finish slatey acid.  Drinkwith: sushi. Ageing: six years Thanks to a “Three Musketeers” of younger…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – Sam Kim, Wine Orbit

Exquisitely composed and expressed, the wine shows Granny Smith apple, lemon pith, white flesh nectarine and lime peel characters with a hint of oatmeal complexity. The palate is superbly weighted and concentrated with outstanding definition and purity as well as delicate complexity, brilliantly structured by firm acidity. This is undeniably premier league sauvignon blanc offering…

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Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2019 Elsa – Joe Czerwinski, Robert Parker The Wine Advocate

Fermented and maturing in one-year-old barrels, the 2019 Elsa Sauvignon Blanc boasts scents of nectarine, vanilla and tangerine. It’s medium-bodied, crisp and refreshing, with more pronounced citrus notes on the lengthy finish. The day I rolled up to Moss Wood, the mobile bottling truck was also there. Having finished the 2018 Pinot Noir the day…

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VINTAGE NOTES

 

After the challenges of the 2018-19 growing season, the story of 2019-20 is one of delightful simplicity.  It is true that rainfall in calendar year 2019 was a little on the low side, with 779mm rain compared with our average of 1000mm but that was still plenty for the vines.

Sauvignon Blanc flowered slightly early on 15th November in near-perfect conditions.  There were only a few odd showers of rain and temperatures were nice and warm.  Indeed, across the entire growing season, we averaged 20.1°C, which is just about perfect for grape ripening.  We had no disease issues and although the birds were a bit hungry, we kept them at bay with the nets.  Sauvignon Blanc sailed through to full ripeness of 12.8° Baume 12 days ahead of average on 15th February.

Surely even the grumpiest farmer couldn’t complain?

Well, yes, we can - the trick was in the yield.  We knew as we filled the bins in the vineyard the crop was lighter than we’d hoped and sure enough, once we started weighing it at the winery it was clear things were well down.  Sauvignon Blanc, normally very reliable was reduced by an irritating 25% to 8.01 tonnes per hectare.  For the explanation, we have to go all the way back to spring, October 24th, in fact, when a very solid hailstorm in the wee small hours gave Wilyabrup a fair belting.  Such is life.

PRODUCTION NOTES

 

Since our change to the new style for the “Elsa” with the 2019 vintage, we have plenty of fun with Sauvignon Blanc in the winery.  The new technique allows us to use our imagination and explore the complex end of winemaking.

Oh, and because we’re Moss Wood and such big fans of Semillon, we like to have some of that in the blend, 10% in the 2020 wine.

It adds complexity to the nose and depth to the palate, even at this small percentage.  Also, in a departure from our “normal” Semillon production, in the Elsa it gets all the same fancy techniques that we apply to the Sauvignon Blanc.

After sorting and pressing, the must is settled for 48 hours in stainless steel then the clear juice is racked to a second tank to commence fermentation.  Where we once fermented crystal clear Sauvignon Blanc, now we leave it very slightly cloudy, seeking some lightly caramel notes from the solids.  Multiple yeast strains are then introduced for primary fermentation and these add further nuances to both the nose and the palate.

Once the ferment has reached the halfway mark, the juice is then racked to French oak barriques of which 6% were new.  We are not looking for strong oak notes in this wine but certainly want the benefits of the improved palate weight from fermentation in small oak, as well as the evolution of the yeasty, bready notes as the wine ages on lees.

After primary fermentation we encouraged the secondary fermentation, something that can be challenging for the very temperature-sensitive malolactic bacteria when the winery begins to cool off as autumn sets in.  Patience is a virtue and by the end of June it was finally complete.  If visitors to Moss Wood ever wonder why there are rows of barrels sitting outside on a sunny day in May, the answer is simple.  We need every bit of warmth we can find to keep the Sauvignon Blanc secondary fermentation going.

Once this was finished, the wine was racked to stainless steel, blended and adjusted for sulphur dioxide then returned to barrel, where it stayed for a total of 9 months.  On 5th January 2021 it was racked and blended in stainless steel, fined with bentonite for protein stability and then sterile filtered and bottled on 15th January.

Tasting Notes

Colour and condition:

Light to medium straw hue; bright condition.

Nose:

Lifted scents of lychee, gooseberry and passionfruit, with caramel and a spiciness, reminiscent of nutmeg, with freshly baked pastry.  In the background is a touch of toasty oak..

Palate:

The initial impression follows the nose with generous caramel and lychee flavours sitting over full body and lively acidity, with leafy notes at the end.  There is some tannin but the finish is clean, courtesy of the concentration and good length of flavour.

Cellaring:

From a relatively small crop and with good concentration, there is no doubt the wine will cellar well.  The lively fruit notes will form the major part of the wine for at least 5 years but as it approaches 10 years of age, the secondary notes should start to play a role.  Therefore, for those wanting to see some aging, we suggest a minimum of 10 years cellaring.