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2014 Moss Wood Chardonnay

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Winemaker's Notes

Tasting notes: The wine has a medium to deep straw colour and is in bright condition.

The nose has the full complement of Moss Wood Chardonnay fruit aromas – limes, peaches, marmalade, roast almond and malt biscuit. The extended barrel age and malolactic fermentation has added in some toasty, spicy oak and interesting bread and caramel notes. Complex, indeed.

The same themes continue on the palate, with full body and high acidity combining with peach, nut and cheese flavours, providing generosity and length. The finish has some toasty oak, with some tannin evident.

Vintage notes: If we wanted to reproduce an ideal growing season for Chardonnay, we’d almost certainly use 2013/14 as the blueprint where just about everything worked in our favour. We had good rain during spring that fell at the right time, so there was no disruption to the flowering. Our management of the vineyard worked well and we avoided disease and bird damage and all of this combined to give us crop levels of slightly above average.

Most importantly, Mother Nature smiled on us, giving us literally day after day of good ripening conditions and the numbers tell the story. In the end, Chardonnay enjoyed a luxurious 1046 hours between 18 and 28⁰C, when all it needs is 700 to ripen the crop. In addition, it received 29 hours above 33⁰C, enough to ensure consistent ripe fruit characters but way below our designated excess extreme heat level of 80 hours. All up, we picked some of the best Chardonnay fruit ever at 12.7⁰ Baume on 20th February.

Production notes: After a positive start in the vineyard, we dared not make any mistakes and set about carefully shepherding our new baby through the winemaking process.

The fruit was whole bunch pressed and the juice was captured and settled in stainless steel tanks for 48 hours. The clear juice was racked off, with a light inclusion of solids and fermentation commenced in stainless steel, using pure yeast cultures. Once successfully under way the fermenting juice was then racked to barrel. All casks were 228 litre French oak and 43% of them were new.

Moss Wood has 5 individual Chardonnay vineyards, all of which ripen at slightly different times and so this wine typically starts its life as at least 3 individual batches. When they all finish fermentation, they are blended together and returned to barrel as a finished wine and this was carried out on 17th March 2015. Next, it underwent a full malolactic fermentation, whereupon it was racked once more, adjusted with tartaric acid and sulphur dioxide and returned to barrel.

It stayed in oak until 8th September 2015, giving the blended wine a total 20 months. Fining was with bentonite for protein stability and then it was sterile filtered and bottled on 30th September, 2015.

Cellaring notes: As usual for Moss Wood Chardonnay, it is a very drinkable youngster and can be enjoyed now. However, it is definitely a wine for the cellaring enthusiast and will begin to show some bottle development by 10 years of age. For those who like their Chardonnays to mature to the point where the secondary characters are dominant, they should wait until the wine is at least 20 years old.

expert reviews about

2014 Moss Wood Chardonnay

Expert Reviews

James Halliday (2014 Vintage) says
Hand-picked, whole bunch-pressed to tank for initiation of fermentation with cultured yeast, transferred to French barriques (43% new), a full mlf followed, with adjustment of tartaric acid and SO2, 20 months maturation. While diminishing acidity (by mlf) and then adjusting it is an uncommon approach. It's hard to find fault in the wine; it has an incisive edge to the mouthfeel, the fruit flavours precisely placed on the tipping point between citrus and stone fruit, benefiting from both, but not at the expense of the other.
Drink by 2025
James Halliday (2011 Vintage) says
Mid gold; grapefruit, cashew and struck flint are evident on the bouquet; the palate is restrained with a fleshy mid-palate and a lingering tail of mealy texture to finish; a fine and understated wine in keeping with the estate.
To 2018
Australian Wine Companion 2014 Edition
James Halliday (2010 Vintage) says
Full yellow-green; the rich and complex bouquet presages an intense, complex palate with strong barrel ferment inputs to the white peach, melon, fig and cashew flavours; a tight strand of acidity stops any possibility of the palate wandering off on a frolic of its own.
Wine Companion Aug/Sept
Ray Jordan (2010 Vintage) says
This is pretty wild and out there. You get that from the first sniff. Aromas of butterscotch and brioche with a layer or two of stone fruit and meal. Tuck into the palate and you get multiple layers of flavour complexity held a minerally acid that carries it to a long finish. There is a creamy richness and deep lingering power. Score: 95/100
5 years
WA Wine Guide 2013
James Halliday (2008 Vintage) says
Brilliant green-straw; a tighdy wound, highly focused chardonnay with the fruit depth that is the mark of Margaret River, and that has easily absorbed the oak.Will have a long life (for chardonnay).
Australian Wine Companion 2011 2010
Tyson Stelzer (2008 Vintage) says
Approach with caution. This is a powerful, concentrated Moss Wood Chardonnay with layers of grapefruit, white nectarine and fig fruit. It holds its 14.5% alcohol effortlessly, thanks to the calming influence of its fresh acidity and structured minerality. Ultra-classy vanilla pod oak rises the occasion, propelling the fruit onward and upward.
Jeremy Oliver (2007 Vintage) says
Scented with penetrative aromas of lemon rind, grapefruit, grilled nuts and sweet vanilla/cinnamon oak, this stylish and focused chardonnay reveals suggestions of yellow flowers, wheatmeal and white peach. Its long, taut and linear palate underpins its voluptuous, stonefruit and citrus flavours with spicy vanilla oak and a fine minerality, finishing with exemplary austerity, tightness and precision.
Australian Wine Annual 2010 2009
Jeremy Oliver (2006 Vintage) says
Stylish and citrussy, this sumptuous between peach, melon, nectarine and grapefruit flavour and dusty, toasty, clove-like vanilla oak has a floral lemony perfume with undertones of butter. Long, smooth and seamless, it's richly fruited but artfully elegant and refined. Underpinned by a powdery chalkiness, it finishes fresh and savoury, with suggestions of grilled nuts and pecan pie.
Australian Wine Annual 2008 2007
James Halliday (2004 Vintage) says
Very complex, strong, funky barrel ferment aromas; ultra rich and complex mouthfeel; manages alcohol well.
Australian Wine Companion 2007 2006
Jeremy Oliver (2004 Vintage) says
A tightly focused, measured and superbly balanced benchmark-level chardonnay of texture and vinosity. Its delicate and rather closed perfume of jasmine, peach and grapefruit is backed by slightly mealy undertones of minerals and wet stones. It flaunts its extended lees contact and new oak, but delivers a seamless integration between these elements and its lemony stonefruit flavours. Its babyfat-like mid palate finishes long and mineral, with lingering funky edges.
Australian Wine Annual 2006 2005
Jeremy Oliver (2003 Vintage) says
Very stylish chardonnay whose pungent aromas of sweet spicy tropical fruit, quince and lemon essence, cloves and cinnamon, are supported by finegrained oak. It presents a long, concentrated and assertive palate whose fleshy, sappy texture is likely to build handsomely in weight and structure.
Australian Wine Annual 2005 2004

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