Mudgee is on the inland side of the Great Dividing Range about 250km West of Sydney. Its location is just across the Divide from the Hunter Valley, but the climate in Mudgee is much more continental. The altitude of the region, about 450m means that it escapes the severe heat that might otherwise be experienced in such a northerly location.
Although this is by no means a cool climate region, its vintage is a full month behind that in the Hunter Valley. Mudgee’s altitude of around 450 metres shelters it from the heat that would normally be associated with a latitude of 32 degrees south (Bordeaux’s is 45 degrees north and Champagne is 50 degrees north). There are about forty wineries in operation here, some have affiliations in the Hunter Valley but many are quite small.
Inky, dark, brooding shirazes are famous in Mudgee, colloquially known as Mudgee Mud. However, top producers such as Tim Stevens of Huntington are producing some delightful, medium-bodied, age-worthy European styled reds, venturing away from the thick muddy Shirazes. Brilliant Chardonnays are also being produced.
The Mudgee region has pioneered many alternative Italian and Spanish varieties including Tempranillo and Graciano. It would seem that the Mudgee region is too warm to get full varietal expression from most traditional white varieties.