Wine reviews are at the bottom of this article
When you’re with the Hardy family, it’s kind of hard not be just a little bit star struck.
Hardys are one of Australia’s oldest and best known wine brands and the Hardy family were pioneers of the Australian wine industry, producing their first wine in 1853. In fact, they’re officially celebrating their 160th birthday this year.
As if that wasn’t enough, Hardys was also recently named as the second most influential wine brand in the world. That’s right. The WORLD.
That’s a pretty serious accolade. They’re so influential they don’t even bother with apostrophes! When you’re this big, proper grammar is no longer required.
So when you’re hanging out with the Hardy family, it’s a little bit like being in the presence of wine royalty.
And when a bunch of us wine types gathered in Sydney’s Rose Bay last week to celebrate the launch the newest member of the Hardys wine family – the William Hardy range – the royal treatment was most certainly rolled out.
The Hardy family’s yacht, the Nerida (champion of the 1950 Sydney to Hobart race!), sailed us lucky wine boffins around Sydney Harbour on a gloriously warm sun filled winters day, before returning to The Sailors Club to try the new William Hardy label wines over a three course lunch.
Named in honour of fifth generation Hardys Brand Ambassador, Bill (William) Hardy, the new range has been created with a “right grapes from the right regions” philosophy. Grapes are sourced from the premier wine regions of South Australia that are best known for each variety.
The range includes four wines – two whites and two reds. A Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, both sourced from the Adelaide Hills, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra and a Barossa Valley Shiraz.
Speaking about his eponymous wine label, Bill Hardy was humble and teary eyed during his regaling of the family history, and the triumphs and tragedies that have defined their story. Tragedies that have included both Bill and Sir James Hardy losing their fathers at a young age.
“It’s a great compliment,” said Bill. “I couldn’t feel more privileged to join such an esteemed collection of predecessors in putting my name to a Hardys wine range. And I’ve taken huge pleasure in participating in the development of the philosophy behind these wines.”
Bill is the great-grandson of founder Thomas Hardy and the nephew of Sir James Hardy, and is celebrating 40 years in the business this year.
The Hardys name is synonymous with South Australian winemaking, and in making this new range the focus was on recognising and celebrating the pivotal role the family has played in developing the premium wine regions of the state.
The William Hardy range has an RRP of $21.00 and is available from most major and independent liquor stores nationally.
Hardys ‘William Hardy’ Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012
The Adelaide Hills is definitely where it’s at for Aussie Sauv Blanc. Forget the overbearing tropical fruit flavours found in most NZ savvy b’s – you won’t find Carmen Miranda here. It’s fruity, vibrant and zingy. You can still taste those lickable summer flavours of passionfruit and gooseberry. Hey, that’s why we love Savvy B, non? But this is a softer, tighter and more elegant offering. More Scarlett Johanssen than Kim Kardashian.
Hardys ‘William Hardy’ Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2012
This is a new style Aussie Chardy – fresh and full of stone fruit flavours – and one that matriarch Eileen Hardy would probably never recognise! Winemaker Paul Lapsley has deliberately made it in a French Chablis style. Creamy in the mouth, but not particularly oaky, there’s plenty of juicy nectarine. And it’s just the ticket for a picnic on a riverbank with a glorious Chateau in sight.
Hardys ‘William Hardy’ Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Bit grippy, but softened by the addition of a smidge (10%) of Merlot (like the Switzerland of the wine world. Merlot is used to neutralise all evils!). The official tasting notes say “chocolate” but I think that’s a bigger stretch than even Richard Simmons can do in his lycra. And you know that if chocolate was there I’d be onto it.Beautiful rich, dark red colour, and the dominant flavour for me is blackcurrant backed up with loads-a-herbs, like a big bouquet garni. Improves tremendously when enjoyed with a big lamb casserole.
Hardys ‘William Hardy’ Barossa Shiraz 2012
Like the Cab Sav, this is a big, gutsy wine – a big Barossa shiraz, rather than an elegant, smooth or refined offering. Probably needs a bit longer in the bottle too.Do love the deep spice, almost clove-like flavour, but overall it’s quite ballsy. Would be good with a Texas t-bone steak and some footy finals. If that’s your thing.