Possibly Mudgees Hero variety, usually as a 100% varietal but sometimes blended with Merlot or Shiraz. The wines have tremendous depth of colour and hold their purple-red hues for longer than those of the Hunter, turning brick red at seven to 10 years of age. The generous flavours reflect the warm climate; a melange of tastes of red berry, dark chocolate and, sometimes, eucalypt and peppermint. The tannins are almost invariably pronounced but are not excessively astringent, for they are balanced by the generosity of the fruit.
This is the predominant white from the region and is consistently good. The flavours are usually in the peach, melon, fig spectrum but often citrus and grapefruit characteristics emerge, particularly where the maker employs barrel-ferment techniques. The wines show their best varietal character in the second and third years but do go on to develop into rich and honeyed regional styles over a much longer timeframe.
Riesling has made a resurgence in Mudgee in recent years, with a few producers focusing on quality, single vineyard wines. Vineyard site selection is paramount, with elevation and soil playing an important role. Off dry styles through to bone dry have great fruit intensity and purity, with citrus and orange blossom characters.
While this Semillon may live in the shadow of the Hunter, the styles can be similar, as is the capacity to age gloriously in bottle for up to 20 years. Mudgee Semillon can be picked at low sugar levels and display grassy, nutty characters with great length of flavour.
These wines can vary greatly in style, and the best can be seen as flagship Mudgee wines. Some older style Shiraz showed firm tannins, with strong earthy, tarry, leather characters. However the young winemakers of the region are recreating Shiraz and are much cleaner with lush fruit driven wines displaying berry fruits, spice and chocolate, with fine soft tannins, and great length. Shiraz is frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, almost always to very good effect.