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The Mudgee region has experienced one of its best vintages for many years. Both red and white varieties were fully ripe and appear to contain well above average flavours. A report from the Mudgee Wine Grape Growers Association said a cool and wet spring started the season in a perfect way, with the weather drying up soon after flowering. A hot spell early in the new year caused some loss of acid but no major damage. The critical autumn ripening period of March and April saw little or no rain. Shiraz easily obtained ripeness of 13-14¦ Baume, providing great colour and depth of flavour on low yields. Cabernet Sauvignon ripened fully with wonderful flavour and colour, also on low yields. Merlot also showed full colour, ripeness and the intense lifted berry aroma that this region produces so well. With little or no rain during harvest, all wineries should have some very high quality red resting in the barrel by now. Lucy White, the association’s promotions manager, said the pick of the whites were Chardonnay and Semillon. ‘The Chardonnay was harvested early by those fearful of disease and late by those willing to run the risk. It appears that both strategies were successful with the early picked showing clean upfront fruit and nice balance whilst the late picked ripened fully with no disease and full flavour thanks to perfect autumn weather,’ she said. Semillon again proved it liked the region with good quality across the vineyards.