Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
|Median Harvest:||Sauvignon Blanc: 12/02/2015
|Yield:||Sauvignon Blanc – 5.92 t/ha
Semillon – 4.32 t/ha
|Baume:||Sauvignon Blanc – 11.6⁰ Be
Semillon – 13.2⁰ Be
The Ribbon Vale 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon has light to medium straw colour and is in bright condition. The nose is essentially a bright, fresh combination of the two varieties. There are lots of leafy, gooseberry, grassy notes from the former and then soft lemon, fig and honey notes from the latter.
On the palate, the emphasis on freshness continues with light to medium body, high acidity and crisp, grassy fruit flavours. However, there is no assertiveness to the acidity, courtesy of the smoothness and generosity from the barrel fermentation. The length is good and the finish is clean with no astringency.
- Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon – Josh Raynolds, Vinous
- Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – Jancis Robinson – jancisrobinson.com
- Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – James Suckling – jamessuckling.com
- Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – Lisa Perrotti Brown MW – Robert Parker Wine Advocate, March 2016
- Moss Wood Ribbon Vale 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – Ralph Kyte Powell, “Wine Guide: Wine of the Week” – The Age
As excited as we are about the 2014 vintage, we have to admit the 2015 suffers little by comparison, except with respect to vineyard yields.
We had very wet year, with rainfall around 20% above average and with significant dumps landing on us during the spring. Apart from the fact rain interferes with flowering, it’s often accompanied by cold weather. If the temperature drops below 8⁰C, that also causes the flowers to abort, so poor weather can be a double-edged sword. Such was the case in 2015 and yields all affected, with most varieties down by at least 50%. Not a good year for the bank manager!
As frustrating as low yields are, the key for us is wine quality and ‘15 delivered that in spades.
Temperatures were spookily similar in 2014 and 2015. Both seasons were typified by a succession of delightful summer days, warm but not hot and with just enough of the latter to allow the fruit to ripen evenly and with the best flavour. From a winemaking perspective, we just had to remain vigilant and monitor the increasing grape sugar levels and be prepared to pick when everything came together.
It all started on 12th February, when we picked Sauvignon Blanc at 11.6⁰ Baume and followed it up 12 days later with the Semillon at 13.2⁰ Baume. As an amusing aside, the yield on the latter was down 60%!
Both varieties are made using the same technique. The fruit is destemmed, chilled, pressed and then the juice is settled in stainless steel tanks. The clear juice is then racked to a new tank and seeded with a pure yeast culture for primary fermentation and once this is successfully underway, it is racked to old, 228 litre French oak barrels. At the end of ferment, the two components were racked and blended and returned to barrel as a finished wine on 15th April, made up of 74% Sauvignon Blanc and 26% Semillon.
The choice of old oak only is quite specific because our emphasis for this wine is fruit freshness. We do not want it to display wood character but rather to accrue the improved texture that comes with barrel fermentations.
Unlike our Chardonnay, this also means the wine doesn’t require extended barrel age and the blend was racked to stainless steel on 18th September, giving it around 6 months in oak. It was then fined with bentonite for protein stability and then sterile filtered and bottled on 29th September.
Made in this style, the wine is enjoyable from day one and we encourage people to consume it while young and fresh. However, this doesn’t mean the wine will not age well, especially with its Semillon component and we recommend cellaring for 5 years.