Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay 2003
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 with incredibly diverse terrain, producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia has a grand winemaking history and some of the oldest vines on the planet. Most regions are concentrated in the south of the country with those inland experiencing warm, dry conditions and those in coastal areas receiving tropical, maritime or Mediterranean 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. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing.
Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety; Barossa Valley leads the way, producing exceptionally bold and supple versions. Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia's second most planted variety, can be blended with Shiraz but also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre 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 blended in Margaret River or shines on its own in the Hunter Valley. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
Tasting Notes for Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a dry, white wine. When Chardonnay grapes are planted on cool sites, the resulting wine's flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Perfect Food Pairings for Chardonnay
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Sommelier Secrets for Chardonnay
Since the 1980s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy this lighter style.