“Our winemakers seek to make each wine unique, and the diversity of climate, soil and experience provide you with an unparalleled opportunity to sample great wines with personality, character and life…” - Mudgee Region Visitor Information Centre. “Mudgee Region 2014”
A hint of frost on the windscreen… rows of naked vines line the side of the road… rolling low hills in the distance… Yes, it is early Winter in Mudgee.
A region that is not defined by any one Wine or grape varietal, but is “good at many wines” Rob Black, Winemaker - Bunnamagoo Wines. This historic town is oozing with character which is reflects in its winemaking.
“You’ll find the unmistakeable stamp of concentration, character and European finesse demonstrated in our wines”
- Mudgee Region Visitor Information Centre. “Mudgee Region, 2014”
This week, we brought this character and finesse to The Far North at Taste of Mudgee.
The Bunnamagoo 2010 Pinot Noir Chardonnay was chilled and ready to pour as guests filtered into the room… Aromas were seeping out of the kitchen and soon enough canapés began to circulate the eager diners.
Cauliflower and Beetroot Vol-Au-Vents sat stout on the trays with their appropriately matched little purple hats! This balance of soft beetroot and cauliflower mousse nestled upon a crunchy, flaky Vol-Au-Vent was the perfect start the evening with the mature Sparkling wine.
Following close behind was a pan-seared Duck Breast atop a ribbon of cucumber with a garnish of sweet berry jelly. The sweetness of the jelly cut through the rich duck and paired beautifully with the fruit and acids in the Chardonnay.
Guests were seated and I introduced the evening. Handing over to David Lowe, Chief Winemaker of Lowe Wines, to talk about the region and winemaking in Mudgee.
“I’ve only ever wanted to be a winemaker. I’ve been doing it now for 35 years – that’s a good thing! I still love it.” - - David Lowe, Lowe Wines.
A passionate winemaker, David loves educating people in wine and winemaking and prides himself on “as little intervention as possible” organic production methods.
Rob Black, Winemaker at Bunnamagoo Wines, spoke of his elegant Pinot Noir Chardonnay. After 36 months on lees it is a complex wine with a fine bubble and rich palate. While Rob detailed the processes of creating this Bunnamagoo favourite, Entrée was served.
House-cured Ocean Trout Gravlax Nicoise Salad with Duck Eggs from the Kookaburra Estate was place in front of our diners to the sounds of “ohhh” “ahhh” “that looks amazing!” Matched with the first course was the 2013 Lowe Nullo Mountain Pinot Gris (Biodynamic under conversion). As everyone started tucking into their salads, David spoke about his Pinot Gris. David discussed the ever-confused difference between a Grigio and Gris. It is a fruity wine with an acidity that paired well with the oily fish in the entrée.
The clatter of the clearing of plates subsided and Rob spoke of his next wine, 2009 Bunnamagoo ‘1827’ Cabernet Sauvignon. A very tasty drop, a personal favourite of mine from Mudgee, a well rounded wine on the palate with oak derived spices. A medium bodied fruity red that married with the Tagine perfectly. The twice-cooked Farmer George’s Mudgee Lamb Shoulder Tagine was served with roasted vegetables, pomegranate and Chef’s own jus. The balance of flavours in this dish and the melt in your mouth lamb shoulder crowned this a crowd favourite! As the lamb was devoured, David spoke of his pairing for the dish, 2011 Lowe Block 8 Organic Shiraz. An award winning wine with the peppery notes we have come to expect of a Shiraz. However, Lowe produces a softer wine without an overt oak influence. It makes for a beautifully smooth Shiraz and one with more subtlety in its tannins.
A short break allowed guests to digest and the winemakers to meet the diners individually as they moved around the room.
A relaxed feel enveloped the room and a golden syrup-like wine graced the tables... it was time for dessert. It was Rob’s turn again to speak about his 2013 Autumn Dessert Semillon (Botrytis). Another crowd pleaser… this honey-like dream went down a little too easily one would argue.. Paired with Coffee Mousse with a house-made honeycomb crumble it was a match made in heaven. A textural delight with the airy coffee mousse and sweet crunch of the honeycomb, washed down with the sticky wine. Bliss….
David introduced his 2005 Lowe Organic Merlot, as the dessert plates were licked clean..
The final wine for the evening, paired with the locally sourced Cheese board from High Valley Cheese and Wine Co. Mudgee Honey Haven fresh honeycomb and fresh and dried fruit adorned the platter.
Our selection included:
- High Valley Brie
- High Valley Stefan Blue
- High Valley Caerphilly
- High Valley Colly Blue
A beautifully balanced, smooth, medium bodied red married perfectly with the blues on this board. The complexity of the wine stood up to the salty blue and they worked together well. A beautiful finish to the evening... a glass of red and over 2kg of cheese… !
Always remember, good wine is wine shared with friends…
Happy eating x