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Moss Wood

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

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Planted in 1969, Moss Wood is an important, founding estate of the Margaret River wine region, located in the northern sub–region of Wilyabrup, Western Australia. Clare & Keith Mugford, as winemakers, viticulturalists & proprietors, have been making wine & tending the vineyard at Moss Wood since 1984 & 1979, respectively. Their exacting viticulture ensures the production of grapes of excellent quality & they have created a stable of fine wines distinguished by their consistency over each vintage & their ability to age superbly.
The Moss Wood & Mugford names are synonymous with uncompromising quality.

The Moss Wood and Ribbon Vale Vineyards are located in the Wilyabrup sub-region, the heart of the Margaret River wine region. Approximately three hours drive south of Perth, Western Australia’s capital city, Margaret River is recognised as one of the world’s great wine producing regions.

Ribbon Vale has been part of the Moss Wood family since the 2000 vintage, so this new release has 3 similar siblings and given the cool temperatures, is most like 2017. For the record, this is the vintage that mirrors the great 1990, at Moss Wood. However, a notable difference, and improvement since 2017, has been the significant increase in the crop from the new block of the Houghton clone Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the availability of some Malbec for blending. On the point of the clonal mix, the Houghton clone now provides 76% the blend and takes Ribbon Vale much more into the Moss Wood realm, which is 100%. 

 

All the fruit was hand-picked and delivered to the winery, where it was sorted and destemmed. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec were all transferred to small, open tanks, where they were seeded with multiple yeast strains for primary fermentation. Each batch was hand-plunged 3 times per day and temperatures were controlled to 30°C. Time on skins varied slightly but was typically 14 days, after which each batch was pressed and racked to stainless steel tanks. The Merlot technique was slightly different. After destemming, the fruit was placed in closed, stainless steel tanks and then chilled to 8°C and allowed to soak for 48 hours. This enhances the colour depth. After this, it’s allowed to warm and seeded for primary fermentation with multiple yeast strains. Extraction was by pump overs, 3 times per day and after 14 days on skins the wine was pressed and racked to stainless steel. All batches underwent malolactic fermentation and once completed, each was racked to wood. All barrels were 228 litre French oak. For the Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% were new and in the Merlot, 30% were new.

After one year in oak, the individual batches were racked and blended in stainless steel, then returned to barrel. The Cabernet Sauvignon is made up of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot and 2% Malbec. The Merlot blend is 86% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. Regular readers will note we are continuing with the change first introduced with the 2020 Merlot, bringing more Cabernet Sauvignon into the blend for greater aroma and flavour complexity, not to mention palate weight and tannin balance.

After just over 2 years in oak, both wines were racked and blended in stainless steel for the final time. Fining trials were carried out but neither the Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot were improved, so both remained unfined. They were then sterile filtered and bottled on 1st August, 2023.

Red and black fruit, dark mint chocolate, coffee bean and tar. Medium to full-bodied, rum and raisin chocolate, dried herbs and cedar, firm grainy tannin, fresh small red berry acidity, something of an ironstone character too, with a savoury dried cherry chocolate finish of excellent length. - Gary Walsh, The Wine Front, 93 Points.

The Finer Details
Style - Red Wine
Varietal - Cabernet Sauvignon 94%, Merlot 2%, Cabernet Franc 2%, Malbec 2%
Country - Australia
Region - Margaret River, Western Australia
Vintage - 2021
Bottle Size - 750ml
ABV - 13.5%

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