Mudgee is a high-quality wine region that has a long and proud history, but has fallen off the map somewhat, through no fault of its own. The big companies that used to have a strong presence in Mudgee, such as Treasury (or its precursor, Southcorp) and Pernod-Ricard (formerly Orlando Wyndham), no longer do. The area of planted vines has consequently shrunk. Today, Mudgee is all about boutique wineries, and it's big on organic vineyard management, which is increasingly popular. It strongest suit is full-bodied reds from cabernet and shiraz, but whites, especially riesling, are also excellent and the Italian and Spanish varieties such as sangiovese and tempranillo are increasingly important.
Lowe Wine Organic Zinfandel 2018, Mudgee, $95
Mudgee is big on organic viticulture: remember Botobolar? David Lowe is a big believer in organics. The Lowe flagship wine has a deep-ish ruby colour with a tinge of purple and a bouquet of red and dark cherry fruits, a hint of raspberry and some floral high-notes. The wine is elegant in the mouth, intense and refined, penetrative and long, with excellent balance. The fruit does the talking and it is powerful. A delicious wine with a lovely sweet-fruit core. It still has a bright career ahead of it. Cork; 15.1 per cent alcohol.
Ageing: Drink now to 2035.
Huntington Estate Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Mudgee, $32
Hearty red wines are the specialty of Tim and Nicky Stevens' winery, which has a long record of great ageing reds from cabernet and shiraz. This very affordable blend has a deep red colour with a glint of purple and a bouquet of dark plum and black cherry, with a patina of char-oak. A big, bold, robust wine with chunky tannins and plenty of stuffing. The tannins are firm but balanced and the wine is big and generous and promises to reward cellaring. A very solid regional style. Screw-cap; 14.2 per cent alcohol.
Ageing: Drink now to 15 years.
Stockists: Lane Cellars, Orange (NSW); huntingtonestate.com.au/2018-shiraz-cabernet-sauvignon/
Vinifera Wines Organic Graciano 2018, Mudgee, $45
A very good deep red-purple colour, the bouquet is strong on charry oak, with a smoky character overlying very dark chocolate and a hint of ironstone. The palate is full-bodied, the tannins ample and upright yet supple. It has concentration: a solid, typical Mudgee red that has a big future. Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing: Best drinking 2022-2036.