It may not be as well-known as Margaret River or the Mornington Peninsula, yet this tiny-but-mighty region in New South Wales has a winemaking history that stretches back to 1858. Named Moothi by its traditional owners, a Wiradjuri word meaning ‘nest in the hills’, and later anglicised to Mudgee, this beautiful pocket of land is home to some of the highest vineyards in Australia. While primarily a producer of robust reds such as cabernet sauvignon – arguably its hero variety – and shiraz, it also produces quality whites such as chardonnay, riesling and semillon, and alternative varieties such as barbera, sangiovese, tempranillo and vermentino.
The below three wines – a pinot noir from Gilbert Family Wines, an organic cabernet sauvignon from Vinifera Wines, and a dry riesling from Robert Stein – are a perfect introduction to the region. Add them to your list.
Owner Tony McKendry says: Established in 1994, our certified organic vineyard is planted in Mudgee's rich duplex clay loam soils and experiences cool nights and warm days during the growing season. This unique terroir fosters near perfect conditions for one of Mudgee's finest varietals, cabernet sauvignon.
Suggested food pairing: The 2018 Vinifera Wines Organically Grown Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect match for beef cheek ragu.
RRP $40 | Drink to 2033 | viniferawines.com.au
Chief winemaker Jacob Stein says: Our 2022 Dry Riesling is the perfect introduction to our region and winery because it is the flagship wine and variety of our region, having won awards at the Mudgee Wine Show for many consecutive years. Our Dry Riesling is made from fruit grown on our 1976 site – with warm days and cool nights, the site has excellent attributes for making quality riesling.
Suggested food pairing: This style of riesling is well suited to shellfish and all seafood, like oysters and prawns with fresh lemon. A brilliant aperitif wine.
RRP $40 | Drink to 2033+ | robertstein.com.au
Winemakers and owners Simon and Will Gilbert say: We have always had a strong desire to craft honest wines which are reflective of the season within which they are grown and varietally true. Wines that highlight a sense of place and also our style while at the same time paying tribute to our heritage.
Suggested food pairing: The 2022 Gilbert Pinot Noir matches beautifully with wood-fired pizza, charcuterie and cheese boards, and grilled salmon.
RRP $36 | Drink to 2028 | gilbertfamilywines.com.au