Mudgee produces the best red wines in Australia.
This is a claim that I am sure will be disputed by many but allow me some space to explain exactly why I feel this.
There is no doubt our style of red wine is unique; we have high levels of high quality tannin and acid that can the wines somewhat astringent when young. I make no apologies for this as this structure makes the wines great for ageing and great with food.
These tannins in particular also make our wines unpopular with national wine shows where judges are consumed by freshness, softness and immediate-appeal. When young our reds can lack freshness and seem awkward, but in time the fruit and tannins integrate to become sublime.
To put it simply our wines are old-style and don’t suit tastes where body and complexity are not important. This worries me about as much as knowing what Justin Bieber had for dinner last night.
The style of Mudgee reds is not something we can change, even if, God forbid, we wanted to. This is because of our unique climate and soils which are what they are.
The soils are old and lean, and the climate is Mediterranean and dry; both aspects punish the vines into producing concentrated and tannic fruit. We have a hot climate during the day, pushing the vines hard, but at night it cools down dramatically, giving the vines a rest. It is not unusual to have days at 32 degrees Celsius, while the temperature drops to below 10 degrees at night.
Time and again I have seen Mudgee winemakers (myself included) try to tame these tannins by manipulating the vineyard conditions or playing with the wine too much in the cellar. Invariably the wine becomes stripped or dull. Handled properly, Mudgee wines are full-bodied, have loads of super-fine tannin, good acid levels, with concentrated and complex flavours that last on the palate.
The trick is to be guided by the vineyard and intervene as little as possible. Go with the tannins, not against them.
Huntington Estate has consistently been at forefront in producing red wines that age beautifully and drink best with age and food. This is not something that will change. Ever.