On a recent trip to Australia, I visited a friend in Sydney who introduced me to the small town of Mudgee, where wine reigns supreme and beer and baked goods run a close second. I’ve been a beer drinker since college, but wine is a more recent love interest. Australia wine is some of the best I’ve tried, and I feel like I’ve tried a lot of wine in recent years.
When my friend’s husband suggested we visit Mudgee instead of the famed Hunter Valley, we readily agreed. The Hunter Valley wine region has become too commercialized. Big bus style commercialized. Those of you that know me know about my aversion to big buses.
Mudgee is about 3.5 hours drive northwest of Sydney, on the opposite side of the Blue Mountains. Enjoy the drive, stay in the beautiful little town at a quaint hotel, and make sure you stay long enough to partake of copious amounts of some of the best Australia wine, eat some fabulous food, and take a wander around this charming little town that might make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
On the way into Mudgee, we stopped for wine and a plate of charcuterie at Logan Wines. At Logan we tasted several wines and since we were just getting started, I showed great restraint and only bought one bottle of their light, lovely, dare I say heavenly, moscato. It’s still in my fridge, waiting for just the right moment to be opened and savored.
Next we headed to our hotel in Mudgee, Winning Post Motor Inn, which is a comfortable, inexpensive motel on the main street. You can walk all of Mudgee from here. We didn’t stick around long. Jan was well aware of my love of craft beer, and she forced me to go to Mudgee Brewing Company. Torture, I tell you. Mudgee Brewing Company is one of the coolest breweries/restaurants I’ve ever been to. In fact, we loved it so much, we went back there the next morning for a most excellent breakfast!
At Mudgee Brewing Company I ordered a flight of 8 beers, ranging from the palest of pale ales to Mudgee Mud, a stout with hints of aniseed and licorice, one of the most unique stouts I’ve ever tried. I’m not much of a stout drinker, but I loved this one. In fact, after trying Mudgee Mud, I’m much more into stouts than I used to be. But my favorite was the Citrus IPA. Yum-O! After a flight of 8 excellent beers, I was feeling pretty good. It was time to move on to more Australia wine! We had shopping to do!
Next up was a unique and “eco-friendly” micro winery called Short Sheep. We liked the name and thought we’d go check it out. This little winery does everything au naturale, even the weed-eating and fertilizing. Their secret weapon? You guessed it. Short sheep. These adorable sheep have legs that are too short for them to reach the vines, so they graze on grass and weeds under the vines and make fertilizer while their owners make wine. They have whites and reds, all with some unique twist. Jan really liked these wines. We had a couple of cases in the back of the car when we left here.
The next winery turned out to be my favorite. Peter Van Gent. This beautiful winery had some of the best wines I’ve ever had, including a port that beat anything I had in Portugal. Sorry, Portugal. I’m not a port drinker, or even a red wine drinker. I bought a bottle of this port, and a bottle of the smoothest, lightest, vermouth too good to waste in a mixed drink. This vermouth is best accompanied by dark chocolate and another glass. When entering Peter Van Gent, guests are greeted by two rows of huge barrels tipped on their sides, one cut out and acting as a doorway to the fermentation tanks. It is so beautiful inside and I loved all of their wines.
Peter Van Gent rounded out my tour of Mudgee wineries. I was so impressed. There are so many here in this region, and I didn’t see even one big bus. But wine isn’t the only reason to visit this charming little town. There’s always Mudgee Brewing Company. Ha! Seriously. Breakfast there is good and if you’re a coffee lover like me, you’ll enjoy the coffee here too. There are great restaurants, a very authentic Irish Pub and Restaurant called Kelly’s, bountiful bakeries, and it’s one of the most scenic small towns I’ve ever visited.