There are three stages to the maturing of Mudgee as a winegrowing region since its inception in the 1850s. These are relevant to the whole nation. The region’s wine, beer and spirit’s beginnings stemmed from the large influx of gold miners from 1852 to 1864. This is similar to other regions including Rutherglen, Geelong and Bendigo. This also happened in California.
The second stage is the European winemaking influence from 1856 through to the 1900s. Other cultures spread out into the inland regions, and wine was their background. The third stage is homoclime. This is the investigation of new areas based on climate modelling with traditional European cool climate based wine regions as the reference. It was pioneered by Drs Richard Smart and Andrew Pirie from 1977.
Nullo Mountain is based on the latter and, at 1100 metres elevation, is regularly one of the four coldest vineyards in Australia.
Cold temperatures don’t guarantee good wine. Temperature is only one part of the equation. The charm and the value of these adventurous mesoclimes is in the risk variation and diversity of the sites. It provides great opportunity for experimentation and boundary pushing.
Lowe’s Nullo Mountain vineyard is part maritime (being approximately 100 kilometres from the eastern seaboard), sub alpine, virtue of its elevation, and part continental due to the mountains and inland influences. The deep, fertile soil is volcanic and, with the vineyard sitting next to the Wollemi National Park, agricultural diversity is assured.
The vineyard is under biodynamic conversion (BFA) and has been operated this way since 2012 with varieties (planted in 1998) including Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The label is a commissioned watercolour by Georgia Mansur of the view from the vineyard across the Great Dividing Range.
2013 VINTAGE REVIEWS:
Mike Bennie, WBM, September 2014
"Vertiginous elevation for an Australian vineyard, set at 1,180 metres above sea level. The frigid Sauvignon Blanc is matured in oak after natural fermentation and gets some lees time for good measure. It's steely but also imbued with fine, subtle spice complexity. Very good. 93 points."
Max Crus, The Daily Examiner, September 2014
"The first sniff is like the first paragraph of news you never thought you ‘d be interested in, but can’t stop. Responsible service of news required. 9.1/10."
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, June 2014
"The renowned Nullo Mountain vineyard is now in the process of being converted to biodynamics. It sits at an impressive 1100 metres above sea level. Wild yeast fermented and oak matured. It’s certainly a wine keen to make a statement. Grass, butterscotch, kiwi fruit and sweet tropical notes give the wine a distinct sense of drama. It hits you up-front, but then brings the wine home with slatey, smoky, grassy flavour – and piercing acidity. It’s both good and impressive. You also get the feeling that it still has some positive evolution to come. 90 Points."
Peter Chapman, News on the Vine, Grafton Daily Examiner, 28 August 2014
Looking for an interesting new sav blanc? Then search this newcomer out from the Mudgee District. French oak gives this a light butter finish. Most enjoyable. Food: Spicy Curry. Rating: 93 Points."