Hardys Tintara: A Name That Recalls the History of Wine in McLaren Vale

The history of Hardys Wines reaches back nearly as far as the first vineyard plantings in Australia’s McLaren Vale and over the years Hardys has undergone about as many changes as the region itself. Hardys currently makes six ranges of wines under the Hardys label, most of which carry names from Hardy family history. Today we are tasting two wines from the Tintara range we received as tasting samples.

At the time of colonization the Adelaide Plains, and what is now Adelaide, was inhabited by the Kaurna people according to the History Trust of South Australia. Adelaide and its parklands were called Tarntanya (red kangaroo place) and Kaurna Country extended north from there, south to the Fleurieu Peninsula and to the Mount Lofty Ranges in the east. The Kaurna people spoke a complex language and understood their environment in great detail. Kaurna people’s spirituality was closely related to the land and theirs was a complex society.

Thomas Hardy came to Australia in 1850 and went to work as a cellar hand for John Reynell who had come to Australia in 1838. According to How To Drink Australian: An Essential Modern Wine Book by Jane Lopes and Jonathan Ross, Reynell was the first to plant a vineyard in McLaren Vale and made his first vintage in 1842. Both Reynell and Hardy were English immigrants.

By 1853 Hardy purchased land along the River Torrens (Karrawirra Parri in the Kaurna language) near Adelaide and now within the city limits. He planted wine grapes, table grapes and fruit trees and named the property Bankside. In 1876 he purchased Tintara Vineyards Company when it went bankrupt. 

In 1887, when Thomas Hardy’s sons joined the business, Hardys Wines became Thomas Hardy & Sons. By 1900 Thomas Hardy & Sons was the largest producer of wine in South Australia. In 1904 his original winery at Bankside burned down and Hardy moved to a larger winery.

In 1912 Hardy passed away two days before his 82nd birthday. By this time he had become known as the father of the South Australian wine industry. Subsequent generations took over Thomas Hardy & Sons, but by the time the winery celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1953, the first World War and then an airplane crash had claimed two of the winery’s leaders. By the early 1960s the fourth generation of the Hardy family were running the winery.

By 1980 the fifth generation of the Hardy family would have to step into leadership roles in the winery due to the passing of the last of the fourth generation. At what must have been a difficult time for the family, they still managed to look to the future. Before his passing in 1980 Thomas Walter Hardy, oldest son of Eileen Hardy, had suggested the winery purchase Chateau Reynella, the winery established by John Reynell and the first place Thomas Hardy worked after coming to Australia. In 1982 the family purchased the heritage site. 

In 1992 Thomas Hardy & Sons merged with Berri Renmano Ltd., a wine company based in Riverland, and the winery moved out of family control. Subsequently, the re-named entity, BRL Hardy Ltd., merged with Constellation in 2003 then Accolade Wines and eventually Carlyle Group.

The history of Thomas Hardy and his family is reflected in the names of the Hardys wines today: Thomas Hardy, Eileen Hardy, Tintara and Reynella. Hardys more recent history, perhaps, is reflected in the HRB (Heritage Reserve Bin), a blend of multiple regions, and Zero, Hardys dealcoholized range of wines. 

Let’s Taste

Today we are tasting two wines from the Tintara range of wines.

Photo of wine bottle label 2019 Hardys Tintara Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale
2019 Hardys Tintara Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale

2019 Hardys Tintara Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Valedense ruby with generous aromas of ripe blackberries and dark plums with background notes of baking spices. Flavors include berry bramble, ripe blackberries and dried tobacco leaves along with good acidity. Tannins are drying and well integrated with the flavors. 14% abv. SRP $20

Photo of 2019 Hardys Tintara Reserve Shiraz, McLaren Vale wine bottle label
2019 Hardys Tintara Reserve Shiraz, McLaren Vale

2019 Hardys Tintara Reserve Shiraz, McLaren Vale — dense ruby with generous aromas of ripe blueberries and plums. Flavors include ripe berry compote and crushed flower stems along with good acidity. Tannins are drying and well integrated with the flavors. 14% abv. SRP $20

Both wines are easy sipping and will appeal to a wide variety of palates. The Shiraz is more fruit forward than the Cabernet Sauvignon and both will pair well with a meal; the Cabernet with pasta and pizza, the Shiraz with grilled meats.

Thanks to Calhoun & Company Communications for organizing our tasting.

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