Masters of Margaret River-Moss Wood

Photo Courtesy of Frances Andrijich (

By Fergal Gleeson*

I was a little bit excited. T’was my birthday and my anticipation was rising about tasting some Moss Wood Cabernets.

The problem was that it was 8.30am in the morning… damned inconvenient. Is it acceptable to have wine with muesli on your birthday? Would the dark berry flavours compliment the rolled oats and sultanas?

By the time you get to 40 you’ve learnt a lot about selflessness and delayed gratification. So with the fortitude of a martyr I crawled through the day trying to distract myself with other things.

Firstly a little about Moss Wood. Moss Wood is one of the founding wineries of the Margaret River along with Vasse Felix and Cullen. They hold a Red 5 Star rating from Halliday and a Langton’s rating of “Exceptional” which are the highest accolades available.

They are also a little under the radar. You won’t see Moss Wood on a billboard on the way to the airport or with a prime time TV ad. You have to discover them.

moss-wood-cabernetsI started with the Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, now in it’s 40th vintage. This wine is considered one of Australia’s finest and can last for 40 years and more.

The sweet blackcurrant nose was very promising. What I found remarkable for a wine built to last was just how good it tasted now. What a lovely balance of fruit and silky smooth savoury tannins. This was full of flavour but all in a medium weight wine. I’d managed to hold back until the early afternoon.

So there really is no good reason to keep this wine for 10 years not to mind 40 when it’s going so well. Retailing at a touch over a $100 this isn’t for the faint hearted or the hard up. I’m not going to argue about a $100+ wine being value for money but when you consider Penfolds 707 Cabernet has an RRP of $500, the price is not out of bounds for a world class wine. …. 5/5.

The next wine I tried was the Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. This wine is made using the same techniques but the grapes are sourced from the Ribbon Vale Vineyard about 1.5 kilometres away.

This features slightly more prevalent tannins that coat the tongue and has a hint of tarry, leafy flavour going on. It’s a little darker and more powerful. You could call it a sensual beast if your mind works like that. It retails for c.$60. From a quality, cellaring potential and enjoyment perspective there’s less than a fingernail between it and the flagship. 4.5/5.moss-wood-amys

Finally we come to Moss Wood Amy’s 2015 which is Moss Wood’s entry level Cabernet, blended with petit amounts of Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. This has noticeably less tannin than Moss Wood’s bigger brothers.

It is fruit driven with bright refreshing acid. Despite the fact that it is consciously made in an accessible style it is not “dumbed down” and could easily go for 10-15 years. Like the other wines it is ready to go now if you like your wines fresh and bright and don’t want to worry about that cellaring palaver. . 3.5/5.

There’s an old Flann O’Brien story about a bully who glued a tiny student to the schoolmaster. In a cruel twist of fate the victim got in trouble for sticking to his principals. Think about it!

Well dodgy puns aside, Moss Wood have stuck to their principles making high quality wine in a style that is approachable early, complex and age worthy. Worth drinking whether it’s your birthday or not!

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, RRP $125

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, RRP $60

Moss Wood Amy’s 2015, $35

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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