Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Moss Wood Chardonnay 2010

First things first. Apologies for the hideous gap between posts. I got rather caught up in other things and couldn't find time to drink wine, let alone review it! Right, enough of that. Wine:

I'm a fan of Moss Wood. I've reviewed their Pinot Noir here and gave it a high rating 89/90, praising its complexity and the interest it garners among drinkers. Having enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd give their Chardonnay a go - which also went in tune with my Chardonnay renaissance. I've read all sorts of lovely things about Moss Wood's Chardonnay but, being difficult and obstinate, I don't particularly like to take other people's opinions into account when I taste wine. As a result, my tastings often go against the consensus of what tastes like what.

This brings me onto an interesting point that I always remind people of before they taste wine - everything is subjective when it comes to wine. We all have our preferences and styles that we like more than others and its human nature to put an unconscious bias on things we like. This is why I taste things blind (especially given I have a slight conflict of interest here as Moss Wood sent me a very nice email complimenting me on my review of their Pinot Noir). Fortunately this was tasted blind, so the awful flattery that is about to follow is entirely sincere as it could have related to another Australian Chardonnay that I was trying that day (and I have witnesses to prove it!)

Nose: An opulent, heavy, rich Chardonnay nose. There's plenty of oak, but it is suitably restrained and doesn't dominate. This is a really full wine - there's honey, vanilla and a great big dollop of butterscotch. Citrus is fairly restrained on the nose and as a result this is a sweeter and rounder wine than some Chardonnays and eschews the sharp acidic nose that can condemn some bottles (cheap Burgundy being the prime offender here). Super buttery and almondy.

Palate: Again with the butterscotch but in comes some lemon to give a citrus zip to the affair. Vanilla is present and there's an interesting contrast of sweet and sour flavours - they're in perfect harmony and magnificently balanced. In terms of flavour this is a very full wine (as the nose would suggest) and shows that so-called 'Imperial Wine' (to be laid down... and forgotten about) now offers some serious style and ferociously good wine-making. Regardless of the great flavours in here, one word describes this best: balance. I was considering a ballerina in mid-pirouette analogy here but then calmed down a little and left it out.

Body: Acidity comes in at the back, courtesy of the lemon, and forcefully pushes this wine on and on! It's full-bodied and has high alcohol (not that it affects the wine).

Finish: Goes on and on and on and on. Extremely long and with a charming little progression: the sweet and sour contrast is played out in miniature with butter, citrus, honey, citrus coming along in turn and each fighting for their spot in the limelight. A real highlight to an excellent sip.

Conclusion: Is there really much more to say? A different wine to Ataraxia  (click on it for a review) in that Ataraxia was consciously focused on becoming Burgundian while Moss Wood is revelling in its modern intensity, but as good an example of Chardonnay's values as you'll find. It would be brilliant to try the two next to one another and, as they're both around £20 a bottle, what's stopping you?! Not sure on cellaring potential but I suspect a few years might improve things further still - perhaps someone could enlighten me here?

Points: 90+. Accomplished stuff.

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