Warning: This is a long post.
We started our journey to Mudgee super early on Saturday, as we were worried about the heavy traffic on the roads. By the time I went round to pick the other three ladies, we left Sydney at 6:50am. It was frightfully cold that morning, the coldest morning since last winter. By the time we arrived at Blackheath just before 8:30am, the sun was shining and we were hungry for breakfast and a hot cuppa. We drove straight to a bakery in Blackheath for hot tasty pies and coffee. The pies and coffee were hot but the cafe area in the bakery was absolutely freezing. We had to sit there with our jackets and scarves wrapped around us. After a brief pit stop, we were back on the road to Mudgee. Surprisingly, the roads were not as busy as expected and we made good time and arrived in Mudgee around 10:30am. The drive was pretty uneventful except for a short stretch between Lithgow and Mudgee when a group of (rather fierce looking) bikies were on my tail, quite intimidating when I checked out the rearview mirror.
1st winery stop: Logan Wines, located on the outskirts of Mudgee. Logan is a family operated and boutique winery, with stunning views from the cellar door. This winery was not on our list to visit but someone recommended we try the cakes - carrot and choc beetroot (yes beetroot in choc cake, but really did not taste the beetroot). The cakes were tasty and moist. We tasted some wines and polished off two slices between the four of us. Then, it was off to Mudgee town. It was market day in town and there were two country markets - a gourmet food market at St Mary's Catholic Church and mixed food and craft market at St John's Anglican (located diagonally from each other with the town's clock tower in between). We went around and did some sampling of the goodies, and bought some honey and relishes. Besides wine, Mudgee is also famous for its honey products. After we strolled down main street (Church St), we headed to The Oriental Hotel (or pub) for some country fare, recommended by one of the shop owners. We all had BLT on Turkish for $9.50, good value pub food. After that, it was on to our accommodation at Pieter van Gent (PvG) and some wine tasting as well. Along the way, we stopped at the High Valley Wine and Cheese Co. to check out the wine and cheese. Not very impressive, so we left for an art gallery, Fairview Artspace. Fairview is quite an unusual art gallery, with rooms displaying art by local artists and a living room setting where classes are held, in a rather cosy environment. There was also a woolshed gallery attached to Fairview, we had a quick look. Then it was on to PvG before the cellar door shut at 4pm. PvG is famous for its white port, which tasted similar to a dessert wine, Botrytis Semillion. By this time, I was quite tired so we checked it to our accommodation for some R&R. Temperature in Mudgee ranged from 4 to 13 during our visit. Time for a cup of tea and rest. We had dinner booked at Blue Wren restaurant. After a few hours of rest, we were ready for dinner. Interesting set-up, the restaurant is within the cellar room, so there were wine barrels used as deco and two fireplaces going to keep the restaurant warm. Food was only so-so, nothing to write home about but the service was a real disappointment. Definitely will not be back. We all left the restaurant feeling really dissatisfied with dinner service.
Food pics from dinner @ Blue Wren Winery.
We worked out a route that we were going to take for the day, but first breakfast. After last night's unsatisfactory dinner, we drove into town about 5 mins away for breakfast at Elton's. It was another cold and sunny/cloudy day with dark clouds hovering in the distance. I managed to take some photos of the buildings in town before and after breakfast, a good time as there were not many people around. After breakfast, we drove to Gulgong (18kms north west) to check out the Henry Lawson festival on that weekend, with a stop at the Honey Haven to taste the honey mead and buy more honey. Gulgong is a really small country town, even smaller than Mudgee, pretty much a one street town. Here's some photos from the town. I even managed to take a photo of the Commonwealth Bank (with old signage). There was also a pharmacy in Gulgong named "Gulgong Dispensary" which had some old advertisements in the window, I found this interesting.
After Gulgong, we returned to Mudgee for more wine-tasting. Wineries we visited that day:
Farmer's Daughters (bought some lovely Moscato), Robert Stein, diLusso Estate (Italian wines). Besides wine, we also visited Olive Nest to taste the extra virgin olive oils produced there. Before we had a taste, we were given a brief talk on extra virgin olive oils - the varieties, how to differentiate good from bad oils followed by tasting of the olive oil products like salad dressing, infused olive oil and mayonnaise.
Dinner on our last night was at the Wineglass Bar and Grill, a restaurant at the Cobb and Co Hotel. Service was much better than the previous night. Here are the pics of some of our meals:
After breakfast at The Wineglass Bar and Grill (same place as dinner on the last night), we decided to visit two more wineries: Eliot Rock Estate (famous ice wine and Sparking Semillon) and Peterson Glenesk Estate. After the last two, we were ready to head home to Sydney.