2016 Moss Wood Cabernet
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The latest Moss Wood 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is as close as can be to the greatest yet in this distinguished line. From the first sniff to the last lick of the lips you will be captivated by its engaging expression of cabernet. Vibrancy, purity and energy burst from the perfectly formed palate. A stunning Moss Wood that captures the elements of this vintage perfectly. It’s a lighter vintage and so beautifully elegant. Perfumed violets and blackcurrant on the nose. The palate is more towards medium bodied but there is power and intensity here as it extends effortlessly to a very long finish. Shows why this small estate is one of Australia’s greatest.
Deepish red colour with a good tint of purple, and a bouquet of sweet berries, violets, mulberries and cassis. A fragrant, almost floral cabernet, the elegance of the nose reflected on the palate, which is medium to full-bodied and juicy, delicious and finely-textured. A lovely wine, already drinking well, and a lighter vintage for this maker - but gorgeous. (Unfined, but sterile filtered)'
Delicious cabernet, with an appealing core of sweet, ripe blackcurrant and blackberry with subtle spice, cedar and nutty oak characters. This is a seriously good red wine that can be enjoyed now but promises to be sensational after at least 5-6 years of bottle age.'
This is a fragrant and fresh Moss Wood with sage and bay leaf aromas, laced through red plums, cherries and redcurrants. The oak registers in a cedary and spiced-chocolate layer and is well integrated. The palate casts a long, sleek shape with quite assertive tannins, carrying fresh and concentrated red plums and cherries in an integrated style. A blend of 91% cabernet sauvignon, 5% petit verdot and 4% cabernet franc. Approachable now, but best from 2026. Screw cap.
I was explaining the flavour of this wine the other day to a good friend in the wine trade and, because I was in a rush, I shortened my elucidation to, ‘It’s more Margaux than Pauillac’! This chap being a Bordeaux expert got my drift but to those of you for whom this means nothing here is a more detailed reasoning. In broad brush terms Pauillacs (Châteaux Lafite, Latour, Mouton and the like) are powerful, long-lived and brooding red wines, while Margaux (Châteaux Margaux, Palmer, Brane-Cantenac and the like) are fresher, lighter and no less serious, just more pliable, and fruit-forward. 2016 Moss Wood Cabernet is a honed, delicious, succulent wine and with a sensual texture and serious length and so, unlike recent vintages, I described it as Margaux-like. Lazy I know, but certainly memorable, this term says so much more than just a word and 2016 Moss Wood carries so much more than just one descriptor. It is a fabulous wine and another 2016 in the winery is also a star
How's it taste?
Deep brick red, in bright condition. Showing all the classic Moss Wood aromatic features with Cabernet Sauvignon's blueberries and mulberries, Cabernet Franc notes of blackberries and violets and Petit Verdot giving sweet musk lollies and dark jubes. Since the wine had such long barrel age, these fruit notes are underpinned by tar, leather and cedar notes as well as a touch of charry oak. These all combine to give the '16 a notable intensity, making it one of the more complex Cabernet Sauvignons we've made for some time, sharing many similarities with the mighty 2005. Each of the varieties work their magic on the palate, combining to give generous blueberry, blackberry and red currant flavours. As we mentioned above, the season delivered near-perfect conditions for fruit ripeness and this is evident in the tannins which are classic Moss Wood. The requisite balance, smooth and supple velvet texture are present but the tiny yields have given greater concentration, meaning there is a density only seen in the very best years. Everything is rounded out by a subtle oak note, just a little reminder of its 2 years in French oak barriques. Cellaring The youthful intensity of the wine is such that it can be consumed as a youngster. The aroma intensity and palate concentration really lend themselves to enjoyable early drinking. Nevertheless, it will reward those with patience. We noted the similarity with the 2005 and that vintage is just beginning to show some maturity at 14 years of age. We are very confident the 2016 will develop in a similar way, reaching full maturity at around 25 years of age.
How was it made?
All the fruit was hand-picked and delivered to the winery where it was de-stemmed and placed into small, open fermenters, where each batch was seeded with multiple yeast strains. Fermentation was maintained at a maximum of 30°C and extraction of colour and tannin was by hand plunging, 3 times per day.
It is a testament to the ripeness of the fruit that skin contact times were relatively short, with Cabernet Sauvignon on skins for 2 weeks, Cabernet Franc for 9 days and Petit Verdot for 12 days. After pressing each batch underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and was then racked to barrel through April 2016. All the barrels were 228 litre French oak barriques and 18% were new. On 22nd January 2018 the final blend was made up and returned to barrel, where it stayed until late October 2018, when it was racked to stainless steel in readiness for bottling. The final blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc.
Who made it?
Widely regarded as one of the best wineries in the region, producing glorious Chardonnay, power-laden Semillon and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon that lives for decades. Moss Wood also owns the RibbonVale Estate, the wines treated as vineyard-designated within the Moss Wood umbrella Exports to all major markets. Planted in 1969 with its first vintage in 1973, Moss Wood is an important, founding estate of the Margaret River region. Dr John Gladstones academic paper of 1966, recommended the region for its consistent maritime and Mediterranean climate, suggesting it would lend itself to growing the highest quality wine grapes. Keith Mugford has been making wine and tending the vineyard at Moss Wood since 1979 and in 1984 he was joined in this by his wife Clare. They constantly strive to make the finest possible wines from their exceptional site. The couples exacting viticulture ensures the production of grapes of excellent quality and consistently fine wines from one year to the next.
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Senior Wine Advisor
People often ask me what is my favorite wine… My answer, the next one! Sometimes I want a wine to be complex, sometimes I want my wine to be simple but I always want it to be delicious. Let me take you on a journey with a selection of the last wines that have made me stop, think and made me go back for more.