Grapevine Archive for Moss Wood

Mon 28 Nov 2011

Margaret River Bushfire

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McHenry Hohnen view of Margaret River bushfire, Western Australia

View from the winery at McHenry Hohnen

Last week a bushfire burnt through the coastal areas west of Margaret River. The fire is now contained but it destroyed 32 houses and nine holiday chalets with damage to a further 22 homes. Fortunately there was no human cost. The fire was a result of prescribed burns by government agencies which were reignited by very strong northerly winds. The agencies do this in order to reduce fuel loads and provide protection for summer months to local seaside communities.

I have been in touch with a number of The Wine Society’s key suppliers. Moss Wood’s Keith Mugford says “We have been very fortunate and so far we been spared by the weather.  The fires started about 10k south of us and the wind direction blew the flames and smoke away from us.  Most vineyards seem to have been missed.”

McHenry-Hohnen were less fortunate with some damage to 2 hectares of chardonnay in their Burnside vineyard. Winemaker Ryan Walsh explains: “All okay in lives and buildings here just a little chardonnay gone from this year…..There is no long term loss in vines, the loss will only be taken for this coming vintage 2012. The Sauvignon Blanc from Burnside is untouched and looking very good for the coming 2012 vintage. Freya and I live approximately 2km North East from the Burnside vineyard and were evacuated Wednesday to Friday as a precautionary measure. We have now returned. The house is fine.” And Vanya Cullen by text “We r ok, fires are in the south, we r in north, but it is sad.”

Pierre Mansour
Buyer for Australia

Categories : Australia
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Tue 16 Aug 2011

Grown-Up Australia

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Unlike the classic European wine regions (Bordeaux, Rioja etc), Australia has a fairly limited track record when it comes to long-term ageing of its wines. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to see mature Australian wines, even if you visit producers directly.

So I was immensely grateful when I was invited to join Michelin Star chef and self-confessed Australian wine specialist Roger Jones for a tasting of some top-notch bottles from his own cellar. The tasting was held in his delightful restaurant, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn.

Here are my shorthand notes. All wines were tasted blind.

Katnook Estate Chardonnay Brut, 1995: creamy, caramel, still fruity – lovely delicate mousse and texture. Mature yet still lively. 8/10

Plantagenet Riesling, 1998: zingy, floral, discreetly toasty, very fine nose. Gentle, juicy palate, à point. 9/10

Jasper Hill Riesling, 1998: serious riesling nose, creamy, focussed; amazing lift and intensity. Perfection. 10/10

Lenswood Semillon, 1998: nutty, evolved nose, developed palate, good structure, drink up. 6.5/10

Moss Wood Semillon, 1995: unusual aromatics, brioche-like, smooth palate; esoteric. 5.5/10

Moss Wood Chardonnay, 2000: pungent, smoky flavours. Full, opulent and slightly alcoholic. Not entirely clean. Disappointing. 5/10

Mount Mary Chardonnay, 1996: classic, mature chardonnay: nutty, harmonious and classy. 6.5/10

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, 1996: deep, youthful colour. Still vigorous, punchy, high-quality structure, great length. Will improve for at least another 5+ years and last many more. 7.5+/10

Lakes Folly, 1999: vibrant, high-toned, restrained, beautiful texture and length. 8.5/10

Barossa Valley Estate “E & E” Black Pepper Shiraz, 1998: layered, sensuous, chocolaty Barossa shiraz, smooth and delicious. Lovely now. 9/10

Penfolds Grange, 1990: exotic, complex, fragrant nose; savoury yet full of vitality; incredible ripeness and depth. A showstopper. Drink now or hold for another 20 years. 10/10

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 1990: attractively evolved, spice/vegetal notes, refined, classy, only 13.5% alcohol, enormously appetising. Now or hold for 10+ years. 9/10

Pierre Mansour
Australia buyer