Wines around the world offer history lesson

November 13, 2013 

In vino veratis is a well-traveled Latin saying that translates to "in wine there is truth." Although this phrase originated during the Roman times because public officials believed that if they drank wine during meetings it would be easier to discern if someone was untruthful -- today I would say that the truth can usually be found in the bottle.

Hardys wines of Australia taste quite nice, but the truth is that it is hard to guess their price. Two of their wines, the 2011 William Hardy Shiraz retails for $16 and the 2012 Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay sells for $12.

When we think of 150-plus-year-old wineries, France, Germany and Portugal immediately come to mind -- not wineries from a country like Australia that many Americans view as being a newcomer to the wine world, but Hardys was established in 1853 by Thomas Hardy and is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year.

The 2011 William Hardy Shiraz is very dark in color with a nice aroma of plum with blueberry overtones. This Shiraz contains a lot of black fruit, and I could taste a significant amount of cherry, all the way to its spicy, yet smooth finish. This wine is produced from some of the best growing regions for Shiaz -- McLaren Vale, Riverland and Clare Valley. William Hardy is a fifth generation family member and he made this Shiraz as a tribute to Thomas Hardy's belief that blending between great growing regions would produce the best wine possible.

On the white side of the equation is the 2012 Hardys Nottage

Hill Chardonnay that is produced from grapes grown in the Riverland growing region that has a reputation for sunny days and that has optimal growing conditions for this varietal. This wine is named after Thomas Hardy Nottage (nephew to his namesake) who managed the winery for 66 years, retiring in 1947. The Nottage Hill Chardonnay contains white peach and citrus flavors, with toasty overtones.

While each of these wines are capable of complementing simple everyday meals such as hamburgers topped with grilled mushrooms with the Shiraz or grilled chicken and corn on the cob with the Chardonnay, the Shiraz pairs nicely with roasted leg of lamb with a side of cheesy scalloped potatoes. The Chardonnay paired well with a plate of grilled swordfish topped with a rosemary-white wine sauce accompanied by roasted asparagus tossed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and lemon zest.

Wine makes it easy to travel around the world so to speak and learn about the geography of many different countries wine growing regions. It also provides a wonderful a history lesson and enhances the meals we eat with fermented juice carefully crafted from grapes grown in renowned vineyards in far away lands.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. He can be reached at jimrawe@gmail.com.

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