Summer Whites from Moss Wood

Moss Wood Vineyards with the Indian Ocean in the background. Courtesy of Frances Andrijich and Moss Wood

By Fergal Gleeson*

It’s been hot and steamy of late. Feels like we’ve got more bugs in the house than the KGB have. Christmas Beetles are propagating in biblical proportions and come crawling under our door like we’re a bunch of Pharaohs.

The clumsy bumpkins then capsize on their backs, wriggle around and refuse to get up. A bit like an elderly relative if you ply them with too much alcohol.

It will be a hot Christmas and most likely a hot Summer.  As a remedy may I suggest you have a look at Moss Wood’s white wines?

I had a chat with Keith and Clare Mugford, long time owners and winemakers of Moss Wood recently. The determination to make the best wine possible vintage every vintage is what keeps them trucking on.

Keith Mugford considers the Moss Wood Semillon 2016 to be dollar for dollar the best value wine they produce. Its age worthy, it’s complex and it’s made without any winemaking trickery. You will probably have tried Hunter Valley Semillon, which is innocuous in it’s youth but can reach legendary status after 5 or 10 years. Because of the milder maritime climate of Margaret River Moss Wood’s Semillon is an entirely different breed.

It has the familiar lemon and citrus flavours but the climate allows the grapes to be picked much riper which make for a full bodied, rich and complex wine in its youth. The 14% alcohol of the Moss Wood vs the 10-12% you’d see in Hunter Semillon underscores the difference. Interestingly the extra complexity now doesn’t affect it’s age ability. In the language of Ladbrokes this is a great each way bet- drink now or keep. 3.5/5.

Next to Moss Wood Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016. Margaret River is the godfather of Australian Sauvignon Semillon Blends. The Sauvignon Blanc is more prevalent on the nose being an aromatic extrovert. Semillon is more the strong silent type providing texture and roundness to Sauvignon’s vivid fruit and acid.

The inspiration is white Bordeaux but don’t be afraid of the “B” word this is fruit forward but precise. Moss Wood don’t do mindless quaffers. It would make an interesting alternative for the many Australian drinkers of quality Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. 3.5/5.

Fans of old style Australian chardonnay are often disappointed by it’s modern incarnations. The lack of fruit and excess acid in scrupulously modern chardonnay wines is unrewarding. Dry humour can be good – really dry chardonnay not so. Moss Wood Chardonnay 2015 avoids the (make inverted commas with your fingers) modern style and is one of the best Australian chardonnays I’ve tasted.

It walks the line expertly between round, full bodied white peach and lime flavours and the fresh, clean lively acidity of the modern. Clare Mugford called out the Moss Wood Chardonnay as worthy of special attention. It’s not hard to see why. 4/5.

Moss Wood are renowned masters of Cabernet but their white wines share the same qualities. They are generous in flavour yet refined; drink very well now but built to last. Buy the Chardonnay for a special occasion.

Buy a few bottles of the Semillon and Sauvignon Semillon and make your rellies wriggle!

Moss Wood Wilyabrup Margaret River Semillon 2016, RRP $38

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Vineyard Wilyabrup Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016 RRP $32

Moss Wood Margaret River Chardonnay 2015 RRP $65

For more Wine Reviews read and follow  Drink and be merry!

*Finalist- New Wine Writer of the Year 2016- WCA /Gourmet Traveller WINE

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