Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Merlot 2016

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Merlot 2016

Margaret River, Western Australia   |    750ml   |    14.5%

While Margaret River's Moss Wood is well-known for producing one of Australia's greatest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, their Ribbon Vale Merlot also sits comfortably among the top echelon of Merlot produced within this country. 

The 2016 Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Merlot is made up of 94% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, which in the hands of the team at Moss Wood has produced another stunning example of Australian Merlot. Generously weighted, this is packed with ripe blackberry and blueberry flavours, cherry notes with a supple mouthfeel and quality oak influence on the long, complex finish.

"98 Points. Vibrant crimson-purple; if you are searching for a merlot that has bell-clear varietal character and is a joy to drink, go no further: this is it. It is sheer perfection, its red fruits dripping from a trellis line of fine tannins and controlled French oak. The best Australian merlot I've tasted. Alcohol: 13.5% Drink By: 2030. Screwcap" - James Halliday,

"96 Points. A blend of merlot and cabernet franc. Elegant, juicy wine with dark berry fruit, mixed spice, cedar, savoury, leather and wood polish flavours. A backbone of ripe tannins offer support and promise cellaring potential, although the wine can certainly be enjoyed now" - Bob Campbell MW, January 2019.

"95 Points. Serious merlot out of Margaret River. It’s firm. It’s solid. It’s substantial. This is merlot for the cellar; there’s nothing chummy-yummy drink-now about it. It tastes of blackcurrant, cedarwood, bay leaves and chocolate, the tannin then gravely and studded with peppercorns. Length, it has plenty. Fruit, same. And tannin, wow, this is spread with the good stuff. It’s a wine for the long haul. Tasted: Feb19 Alcohol: 13.5% Price: $65 Closure: Screwcap Drink: 2022 - 2035" - Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front.

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Proprietors and winemakers, Clare and Keith Mugford, have established an internationally recognised Margaret River landmark, with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon. Being part of the Langton’s ‘Exceptional’ ranking since 1991 and other internationally respected wine awards, the couple has also proven that other Moss Wood wines, like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Semillons, showcase exceptional quality and longevity.
Western Australia
Margaret River

Colour and condition: The hue is medium-to-deep brick red and condition is bright. Nose: All good Merlot wines have a strong black fruit statement and the aromas on the 2016 Merlot are right in that mould. There is an array of rich blackberry, blueberry and cherry notes and as with its Cabernet Sauvignon sibling, they dominate. Sitting very much in the background at the moment are the beginnings of Merlot’s earthy tones, with just a touch of leather and tar.

Palate: Here there is immediate impact from rich dark fruits, making the mouthfeel supple and generous. Given this variety can produce assertive tannins, we’re really proud the structure of the wine is much better balanced, with firm phenolics that have good tarry concentration but none of the drying astringency that can be typical in Merlot. Rather, the dark fruit flavours flow across the palate and then the tannin and oak on the finish give just enough firmness and some pencil shavings notes.

All 2 varieties were destemmed and sorted to remove any contaminating leaves and stems and Cabernet Franc were then placed into small, open fermenters. Merlot was transferred into small, closed fermenters. The reason for the variation is we have greater success in extracting Merlot’s colour and tannin in vessels that can be pumped over, not plunged. The reasons are not clear, other than to say if there’s a variety that will be different, it’s Merlot!

Fermentation for all was with multiple yeast strains, and each batch was hand-plunged, or pumped over, 3 times per day and tasted daily to monitor tannin balance. Merlot was pressed after 14 days and Cabernet Franc after 9 days. It was another noticeable feature of 2016 that the two reached good tannin balance relatively quickly compared to previous years and spent less time on skins.

After pressing each batch underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and once completed, they were adjusted for acidity and SO2 and racked to barrel through March and April 2016. All barrels were 228 litre French oak of which 6% were new. The final blends were tasted and prepared in January 2018. The Merlot looked best as a combination of 94% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc.

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