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Hardys Nottage Hill Cabernet Shiraz 2000
By 1857 Thomas created his first slice of history by shipping two hogsheads of wine to England. This is commonly applauded as marking Australia's entry into the wine export market. With his Bankside cellars expanding throughout the 1860's towards capacity, Thomas looked again for expansion. He headed south to the now famous wine district of McLaren Vale, adding the struggling property of Tintara to his growing portfolio of wineries and vineyards. It was at Tintara that Thomas Hardy's winemaking genius was to be recognised on a world stage. A gold medal in 1882 awarded at the prestigious International Wine Show in Bordeaux, payed tribute to the man and his ability. In 1889 he experienced further international success with a gold medal at the much heralded Paris exhibition.
Thomas Hardy died two days prior to his 82nd birthday. The world agreed that this man, the founder of Thomas Hardy & Sons, had played one of the most significant roles in the development of the Australian Wine Industry.
In 1982, 129 years after Thomas Hardy & Sons was founded on the banks of the River Torrens, history turned a full circle with the Hardy family purchasing the Reynella based winery of Walter Reynella & Sons.
Thomas' family company moved headquarters from Adelaide to Reynella, converting the Reynell homestead and cellars where Thomas had lived and learned his trade, into the head office. An ironic twist of fate.
Hardys continued to grow and develop throughout the later 20th century culminating with a merger between Thomas Hardy & Sons and Berri Renmano in 1992, forming Australia's second largest wine company.
A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute labels, though both can certainly be found here. Australia has a grand winemaking history and some of the oldest vines on the planet, along with a huge range of landscapes and climates; it is impossible to make generalizations about Australian wine. Most regions are concentrated in the south of the country with those inland experiencing warm, dry weather, and those in more coastal areas receiving humid and tropical, or maritime weather patterns. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles.
Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety, typically producing bold, supple reds with sweet, jammy fruit and performing best in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Shiraz, and also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre (often locally referred to as Mataro) are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version, and Semillon is often utilized as its blending partner, or in the Hunter Valley, on its own to make complex, age-worthy whites. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen Muscat is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing, and there are a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.