2015 Moss Wood, Sémillon, Margaret River, Australia
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - 04/03/2016
92/100 James Suckling
95/100 James Halliday
About this WINE
Moss Wood is one of one of Margaret River’s founding estates. It was established back in 1969 in Wilyabrup on the Western Coastand. Since the late 1970s and early 1980s has been looked after by Keith and Clare Mugford whose care and devotion to the vineyard is reflected in the exceptional quality of their wines.
Their Cabernet Sauvignon has become one of the most sought-after wines in Australia and their full range is recognised year on year for consistency of quality and longevity. Moss Wood also produces a beautiful old vine Semillon from vines planted in 1973.
Located on the most south-westerly point of Australia, three hours’ drive south of Perth, the Margaret River region sprang to life during the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Professor Harold Olmo’s and Dr John Gladstone’s research into the region’s viticultural potential. Consequently Vasse Felix was planted in 1967, Moss Wood in 1970 and Cullen in 1971. Since then the plantings have grown exponentially, while the number of wineries has increased six-fold. This explosion of wineries has perhaps been to the detriment of the wine quality.
Bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean and the 90km Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin promontory, the region enjoys a benign if damp maritime climate in which the vines rarely shut down, causing disrupted flowering (exacerbated by strong, westerly sea winds). Over the growing season it’s 16 percent hotter than in Coonawarra and 7% than the Médoc.
The Cape ridge is made up of lateritic clay topsoils over weathered granite and gneiss, giving fruit with a relatively high pH. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most fancied variety,producing a lush, early drinking style, followed by Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sémillon.
Recommended Producers: Cullen, McHenry Hohnen Vintners, Moss Wood, Cape Mentelle and Voyager Estate.
The main grape for Sauternes and particularly successfully grown in Australia's Hunter Valley. Hunter Valley Sémillon is one of Australia’s iconic and unique wines, totally unlike any wine produced elsewhere in the world from the same grape variety.
In youth the wines are quite citrusy and fresh, but are generally perceived to gain hugely in complexity as they age and are deemed to be best drunk when at least 5 years old, frequently lasting for 10 or more years. Unusually for Australia, the alcohol levels rarely exceed 11.5%.
In Bordeaux it is the most widely planted white grape and is blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the great long-lived dry whites of Graves as well as the great sweet wines of Sauternes. It is high in alcohol and extract and relatively low in aroma and acidity. Its thin skin makes it very susceptible to botrytis which is prerequisite for the making of Sauternes. It responds well to oak ageing and, while having a lightly lemony aroma when young develops lanolin flavours which some describe as "waxy", as well as a rich, creamy, intense, texture and a deep golden colour.
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Classically Australian Semillon straight off the bat – lime zest, beeswax and even a touch of hay. Very taut on the palate with the citric element continuing to dominate at this stage but I expect the lanolin note and density will come through with some additional age. Very zippy at the moment, but this will mellow and flesh out over time. Another fine example from Moss Wood and further proof you can look beyond the Hunter Valley for Semillon. Drink 2018 to 2022+.
Fergus Stewart, Private Account Manager
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