Moss Wood Amy's Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Moss Wood Amy's Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Sale price$65.95
Wilyabrup & Yallingup, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (71%), Petit Verdot (11%), Malbec (11%), Merlot (8%)

Closure: Screwcap

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Moss Wood Amy's Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Moss Wood

Country: Australia

Region: Margaret River

Vintage: 2008

Critic Score: 96

Alcohol: 14.0%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2025

Complex but very well balanced; immaculate texture and the structure is outstanding - James Halliday

The 2005 Moss Wood Amy's Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (71%), Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot. The fruit is sourced mainly from Max Montgomery's Wilyabrup vineyard, with the merlot component coming from Ian Bell's Glenmore vineyard near Yallingup. It is made in a similar fashion to Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, though with less new oak and a shorter time on skins to emphasise primary fruit and approachability. 

"This delivers big-time on the elegance stakes and yet also is a vibrant youthful star of a red blend, that will develop into a real winner with a few years under its belt. A classic blend of Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot, the blue and black fruits dominate, as do the forest floor flavours, liquorice and mulberries. I thoroughly enjoyed the synergies of the classic grape varietals here."  Paul Ippolito

"Youthful, deep brick red, in bright condition. A vibrant nose, with primary fruit aromas of mulberry and red currant from the Cabernet Sauvignon and ripe plum from the Malbec and a jube-like confectionery from the Petit Verdot. In the background there is complexity from charry oak notes, plus touches of leaf, eucalypt and cedar. Immediately noticeable are generous red and dark fruit flavours that give the palate a juicy feel. There is full body and good texture but tannins are firm and provide backbone and length. The wine then finishes with soft, charry oak flavours.

We use a smaller percentage of new wood in Amy’s because we prefer the wine to make a clean fruit statement, rather than showing the complexities of oak. With the 2008 we used 25% new barrels and all were French."  Moss Wood

Expert reviews

"As expected, deep colour; likewise the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot/Malbec/Merlot produces a complex but very well balanced array of black fruits, cedar and spice; immaculate texture and structure is outstanding. Screwcap.14% alc. Drink Now – 2023."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 96 points

"This delivers big-time on the elegance stakes and yet also is a vibrant youthful star of a red blend, that will develop into a real winner with a few years under its belt. The problem lies in tasting and drinking it now, which will almost certainly result in more of such immediate consumption and indulgence rather than cellaring for later. But heck, why not enjoy it now but if you have the patience and cash to splash out for a few extra bottles, it certainly will reward into the future. A classic blend of Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot, the blue and black fruits dominate, as do the forest floor flavours, liquorice and mulberries. Grown at the Glenmore Vineyard and Montgomery Brothers Vineyard, I thoroughly enjoyed the synergies of the classic grape varietals here. Try with chicken, pancetta and leek pie."  Paul Ippolito - 94 points 

The story of Amy

Moss Wood, The Story of AmyClare and Keith are frequently asked, "Who is Amy?"  It’s a favourite story that they are always happy to share.

It began just prior to the 1985 vintage, when a local Yallingup lad by the name of Ian Bell called into Moss Wood to see if we needed any help through the harvest.  He was a big, strapping bloke and Clare and Keith were happy to have him on board.  He helped through the vintage, then with pruning and did such a fine job he finished up staying for 21 years.

Ian lived on the family farm, Glenmore, about 10 kilometres north of Moss Wood. Early on in the piece, he invited Clare and Keith for dinner, where they were introduced to his parents, Allan and Sonia but perhaps most importantly, his grandparents, Amy and Bill Beers.

Glenmore, in fact, belonged to Amy and she was a lady with quite a history to share.  Born on the property in 1920, she had lived there all her life, apart from a brief stint in Melbourne during the Second World War. Her descriptions of life in the Margaret River region, especially during the Great Depression, were entrancing and so different to the modern life. She would proudly say the only things they used to buy from outside the farm were kerosene, matches, sugar and tea.  Everything else they grew themselves. In 1985 she was still an active, 65 year old beef farmer, running the farm and looking after her cows, who only allowed herself one day off per week, to go and play in the Ladies golf competition at Busselton Golf Club. Without exaggeration, she was a strong and independent woman many decades before it became a social cause.

By 1990, Ian had graduated in Viticulture from Roseworthy College in South Australia and he approached his grandmother about diversifying the farm’s income and planting a vineyard. Amy and her family had always been entrepreneurial and so she happily agreed that one of her valuable beef paddocks could be turned into a vineyard and Ian got the project under way with his first Cabernet planting.

In 1997, Clare and Keith negotiated a 3 year contract with Ian to buy the fruit and in 1998, the first wine was released as the Moss Wood 'Glenmore Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ian had also made clear that he would eventually like to leave Moss Wood, return to working on the farm and make his own wine. Clare and Keith were more than happy to encourage him to do so and he released his first 'Glenmore Cabernet Sauvignon', the 2000 vintage, in 2004. Ian finally resigned from Moss Wood in 2006.

The Mugfords didn’t want there to be any confusion between the two products and began looking around for a new name that would link their wine to the Glenmore vineyard. They asked Amy if she’d be happy if it were to be named after her and she very graciously agreed and so, with the 2003 vintage, Clare and Keith released the 'Amy’s Vineyard'.

Since then, there have been a couple more name changes. The first was to 'Amy’s Blend' when the wine became a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec and then over time, everybody, customers and Moss Wood people alike, began to abbreviate the name simply to 'Amy’s', the name we still use today.

Sadly, but fittingly, Amy died on the Glenmore farm in 2007. Although she’s no longer with us to share her stories, we’re sure she’d be proud of the wine and delighted to think it was enjoyed by customers all round the world.

Keith & Clare

Clare & Keith Mugford at Moss Wood

In 1979 Keith Mugford was appointed winemaker at the Moss Wood Winery by the then owners, Bill and Sandra Pannell. He arrived fresh from graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Viticulture & Oenology from Roseworthy College, having done vintages at Tullochs and Orlando.

"I was born in Adelaide in 1958. Arguably one of the worst vintages ever, all around the world, so what does one buy to celebrate it? In the end, Vintage Port is about the only reliable thing! In 1960 my father moved to McLaren Vale to join the medical practice and so I grew up and went to school there", recalls Keith. 

"My association with the wine industry is something along these lines. At McLaren Vale Primary School, the majority of the children had parents who worked in the industry, at all levels. It was something quite normal for people in the region to look forward to a career in wine or vines. I didn’t have a great interest until after I finished school and the attraction was that people, who were family friends and worked with vines or wine, seemed to lead very interesting lives. They were quite cosmopolitan and many of them traveled widely and it all seemed pretty exciting to me!"  

In 1984 Keith married Clare and they leased the Moss Wood vineyard and winery, They became managing partners of the then 20 acre vineyard (on 80 acres of land) and small winery producing 3,000 cases of wine annually. During this year the sale of the property was negotiated and in July 1985 the Mugfords assumed full ownership.

"I was born in Melbourne in 1960 and moved to Perth with my parents and my much older siblings, born 1944, ‘46 and ‘47, who were '10 pound Poms' in 1963. The family had moved to Australia for a better life and found one. My first interest post school was science and agriculture and I briefly flirted with a science degree, but paid employment beckoned and I entered the work force with the New South Wales bank, as it was, for the next two years, which lead me to believe I preferred working with my own finances, to those of other people. Keen to rekindle my science studies again, I completed a Hospital based Diploma in Nursing at the Western Australian School of Nursing and nursed, at Royal Perth, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie regional hospitals, which I enjoyed very much. In 1984 Keith and I decided to marry and carry on his work at Moss Wood, which continues to be all consuming.

We have owned and run Moss Wood Winery and Vineyard, since 1985, having leased and become managing partners of it in 1984. In 2002 I completed a Graduate Diploma in Wine Business, from Adelaide University." 

The text below is taken from an article by Anna Caidan, Le sommelier, titled 'Moss Wood Portrait of Two Winemakers'

Anna Caidan meets Clare and Keith Mugford, joint winemakers and proprietors of Moss Wood in Margaret Valley Western Australia

What can you tell me about the history of Moss Wood?

Clare: 'Moss Wood came about because it was of interest to Bill and Sandra Pannell, after a paper, written by a Dr John Gladstones, who was an agronomist at the University of Western Australia about the consistency of the climate in the Margaret River region. So, his paper informed the first few people who planted in Margaret River. Moss Wood was planted in 1969, making it the second commercial vineyard in the area. It was the first winery to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in the region. By 1979, the Pannells felt that they needed a qualified winemaker, so they brought in Keith who had just graduated from Roseworthy College in South Australia, which is famous for striving winemakers and viticulturists. Bill Hardy, who was famous in wine and viticulture, suggested hiring Keith to take over as winemaker. So, they did! They interviewed Keith in Adelaide and he thought it would be a good idea to make wine in Margaret River because he could go surfing and make interesting wine! When Keith and I met, the Pannells had always talked about a partnership with Keith, as the Pannells had four young children. By that time Keith and I were thinking of getting married, and wondering what we were going to do next, Keith approached the Pannells and agreed to lease the vineyard. They went off on holiday, and after six months they came back and asked us if we would like to buy it. As we were only 24 and 26, we thought it was going to be difficult. However, they came up with a good plan, so in 1985 we bought the vineyard and we have added to plantings since; it has been an interesting learning curve for me, it was a complete career change, but we found it challenging and interesting too!'

Keith: 'We bought Moss Wood in 1985, and then by the end of the 1990s we had four children. If the four of them wanted to be involved in the business, then Moss Wood wouldn’t have been big enough to accommodate all their interest. And so we looked around, and in the end we had a discussion with John James who had established Ribbon Vale Vineyard. It was a little bit younger than Moss Wood, 1977 was its first planting, but Ribbon Vale was very similar to Moss Wood with similar vines and similar soils, slightly different plantings and the varieties were slightly different. Moss Wood was growing Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Ribbon Vale was growing Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. So, John was happy, and in 2000 we bought Ribbon Vale, so in total, we now have around 23 hectares between us.'

What is your favourite step in the winemaking process?

Clare: ‘The thing that I find most interesting is the transition from juice to wine. So, pressing for red wines, and end of fermentation for white wines, because it’s the first time you see the finished wines. Tasting those grapes on the vine and then to smell and taste them as finished wine still as an infant for me is the most interesting.' 

Keith: 'The most fun and interesting part for me is picking day. So, when we pick and process the grapes, the combination of standing in the vineyard and monitoring the grapes, and then going ahead and picking them, where we have everybody involved, is really exciting!'

What is the secret to making Moss Wood wines?

Clare: 'Site. A very special site, and forty years of knowledge of growing the vines on that site and making the wines from it.' 

Keith: 'I agree with that. The location is very important. Moss Wood has its own individuality because its topography is unique and we're in a good area in Margaret River. We have a good vineyard with good soils and then if you look after that, then the grapes can carefully grow, and you take them to the winery and take care of them there. But the most important part is the vineyard itself; that’s where the quality starts.'  

What is your best memory since working at Moss Wood?

Keith: 'There are a lot of memories, most of them good!' 

Clare: 'I would agree, we have lots of great memories! My most treasured memory of working in the wine industry is sitting at Len Evan’s lunch table. He had a Monday lunch group, and we were privileged enough to sit at his lunch table in 1987, and he shared with us a bottle of 1919 La Tâche! 1919 was my mother’s birth year, so that was the thrill of my life, in wine! There were a few other thrills around that time, but that occasion was one of the biggest!'

… and the most challenging?

Keith: 'When there was damage to the vineyard. We had a terrible hailstorm in 1996 which decimated the 1997 crop. So, seeing that and trying to recover from it was probably one of the worst things. Just standing there watching this huge hailstorm come past and there was nothing we could do, just watch, bashing the vines pretty badly and when it’s over, going to see what’s left, see if there’s anything you can do, but I would definitely say that was one of the most challenging.' 

What is the story behind the labels?

Keith: 'The original Moss Wood label, which was designed in 1973 when the ownership was still under Bill and Sandra Pannell, was all about simplicity. All it had on it was who made the wines, what the vintage was, where the vineyard was located, and that was basically it. You can go down different routes with wine labels, you can choose colourful designs with pictures or you can have something relatively plain that is simple and easy to read, which is what we went for. Our favourite Bordeaux wine at the time was Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, and Pichon is the classic simple printed label with gold foil, with no doubt about who made it or where its from, so the original Moss Wood label was inspired by Pichon Lalande! Family crest, Cabernet Sauvignon 1973 and it was that simple, and that is where the label began, and it’s similar to where it is now, but we’ve had to change it quite extensively over the years because of the regulatory environment. Back in 1973 Moss Wood only sold in Australia and then it was so straightforward! It was easier to get the legally required items on the labels. Now in 2018, Moss Wood is sold all around the world and it has to comply with the regulatory environments. Moss Wood is an English name. There is a farm in Cheshire in England. Bill Pannel’s parents were regular visitors to the UK and it was a friend of his who introduced them to Moss Wood in Cheshire. Bill and Sandra liked the name so much, they wrote to the people in Cheshire to ask them if they could use the name for their vineyard. So, Moss Wood became an Australian name as well! It’s a name that people seem to like! They like the name and they like the wine, and we put that down to its simplicity, it’s easy to say, easy to remember, and Moss Wood has a pretty connotation with it, if you say it out loud, you think of trees and undergrowth, which is actually what it’s like!' 

When is the best time to drink your wines?

Clare: 'At the stage you most like wines to be! At the developmental stage, if you prefer primary fruit aromas and flavours then drink the wine young. But if you don’t, which not everybody does, then give 5, 10, 20 years! The Moss Wood cabernet has the history that can give us the confidence to say that you can give it 40 years before drinking it! Especially these days, because we seal all our wines with screw-caps, and we have the confidence that the wine’s seal is not going to fail unless it has been knocked and the seal has been broken. It won’t taint and it has been sealed with enough oxidative elements to allow the wines to age.'

The winery

Moss wood Vineyard
Bill and Sandra Pannell purchased Moss Wood in 1969. Bill had a passion to grow the great grape varieties of France and was determined to access the best possible site. He chose the Moss Wood site for its soils and aspect. His search was informed, like that of other pioneers of the Margaret River area, by the work of Perth agronomist Dr John Gladstones (completed 1966) who favored the region for its consistent and suitable climate for growing grapes and a visit to Western Australia by Professor Harold Olmo, from the University of California at Davis in 1955.

Bill planted Cabernet vines immediately, making it the second commercial vineyard in the area and the first winery to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in the region. The vineyard produced its first vintage in 1973, which was handled in one small building and produced 250 dozen bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 1973 five acres of Semillon was planted, it was the first white variety for Moss Wood. The cuttings were imported from California. The first crop of Semillon was harvested in 1976, although a commercial release of Moss Wood Semillon was not possible until the next vintage. In 1973 five acres of Pinot Noir were planted. The Moss Wood Pinot Noir was first produced in 1977.

Although Margaret River Wine Region is internationally recognised as a premium producer of Chardonnay, Chardonnay was not planted at Moss Wood until suitable cuttings became available in Western Australia in 1976. A Moss Wood Chardonnay was not released until the 1983 vintage. The first vintage of Chardonnay, in 1980, was not released commercially and the next two crops were destroyed by adverse flowering conditions, including hail, a rare frost for the region and severe winter rain.

By 1979, the Pannells felt that they needed a qualified winemaker, so they appointed Keith Mugford, who arrived fresh from graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Viticulture & Oenology from Roseworthy College, having done vintages at Tullochs and Orlando.

In 1984 Keith and Clare Mugford got married and leased the Moss Wood vineyard and winery, and became managing partners of the then 20 acre vineyard (on 80 acres of land) and small winery producing 3,000 cases of wine annually. During this year the sale of the property was negotiated and in July 1985 the Mugfords assumed full ownership. 

In 1997, Clare and Keith negotiated a 3 year contract with Ian Bell, who had worked at Moss Wood for 21 years, to buy fruit from his family's Glenmore property. Ian had planted Cabernet Sauvignon seven years earlier, in 1990, on the land, which is located 10kms north of Moss Wood in the Yallingup sub-region of Margaret River. In 1998, the first wine was released as the Moss Wood 'Glenmore Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was renamed 'Amy's Vineyard' with the 2003 vintage, in honour of Ian's grandmother, Amy Beers, who owned the land. Subsequently, the wine became 'Amy's Blend' when the wine became a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec, and then simply 'Amy's', the name used today.

By the commencement of the 2000 vintage, a new winery building was added to process the expanded production. The year 2000 also saw the purchase of the Ribbon Vale vineyard, which is located 1.6km south of the Moss Wood vineyard within the Wilyabrup sub-region. The Ribbon Vale vines were planted between 1977 and 1982. The addition of the new vineyard introduced Moss Wood to Sauvignon Blanc and led to the first blended Semillon Sauvignon Blanc wine being made. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc completed the new stable.

Moss Wood today is regarded as one of the best wineries in the Margaret River region and their Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Australia's iconic wines and deservedly fits in the Exceptional category of Langton's Classification of Australian Wine. In 2019, Keith and Clare Mugford received the prestigious Jack Mann Memorial Medal in recognition of their significant contribution to the Western Australian wine industry.

Moss Wood Vineyards and Margaret River Sub Regions
Moss Wood Vineyards and Margaret River Sub Regions


Moss Wood Vineyard

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon

   Old vines, dry-grown, low yielding vineyard
   Vines planted in 1969
   Houghton clone
   Hand plunging in open fermenters 3-4 times per day
   28 months ageing in 225 litre, French oak barrels, 25% new

Moss Wood Chardonnay
   Old vines, dry-grown, low yielding vineyard
   Vines planted 1976
   Mendosa and Dijon clones
   Whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented
   18 months aging in 225 litre French oak barrels, 50% new
   Full malolactic fermentation

Moss Wood Semillon
   Old vines, dry-grown, low yielding vineyard
   Vines planted in 1973
   Fermented in stainless steel tanks
   Neutral yeast allowing full expression of varietal characteristics

Moss Wood Pinot Noir
   Old vines, dry-grown, low yielding vineyard
   Vines planted 1973
   Oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in Margaret River
   Cold soaked on skins prior to fermentation
   Hand plunging 3 to 4 times a day
   18 months aging in 225 litre French oak barrels, 33% new   

wine region map of australia

Western Australia

Western Australia is home to more than 400 wineries across nine vast and extraordinary wine regions which are almost entirely concentrated in the south-west and great southern land divisions of the State. The regions are Blackwood Valley, Geographe, Great Southern, Peel, Pemberton, Manjimup, Margaret River and Swan District.

The oldest region is the Swan Valley, the best known both nationally and internationally is Margaret River and the largest is Great Southern. The Great Southern region is further divided into the five subregions of Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup.

The history of wine production in Western Australia dates back to 1840 with the establishment of Sandalford in the Swan Valley region. The recognition of the fine wine possibilities started to be realised after the establishment of the Margaret River Region in 1967, which has become renowned for its high quality Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The other regions produce a diverse range of regionally distinct wines, from stunning Rieslings and evocative Shiraz, to a range of unique Cabernet Sauvignon blends.