Hardys Nottage Hill Shiraz 1999
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.
Though Syrah originated in the Rhône Valley of France, Australia is home to the oldest Syrah (called Shiraz here) vines on the planet. Found in Australia’s Barossa Valley, where phylloxera has never threated viticulture, these ancient vines are between 140 to 175 years old!
Having brought fame and merit to the country’s wine scene since the early 1950s, namely via the debut of Penfolds Grange, today Syrah (Shiraz) claims rank as the most widely planted grape in Australia. In fact, the amount of land dedicated to Shiraz in Australia is now almost equivalent to what it is in France. Australian Shiraz has its own personality with flavors and aromas of intense blackberry, fruitcake, menthol, tobacco leaf and umami. Conveniently one can find great Australian Shiraz at a variety of price points but the very best will be dense, gloriously complex and capable of long aging.