When Thomas Hardy boarded the ship from London in 1850, he was planning on merely visiting Australia on his way to America. That never happened. He was so taken by the lush, untouched beauty of McLaren Vale in South Australia and the new and budding wine industry, Thomas decided to stick around. He stuck around until his passing in 1912.
Though the Australian wine industry was new and exciting, it was also perilous. In 1871, Thomas found the Tintara Winery close to bankruptcy and decided he would join the fray and invest in his own winery.
His intuitive and business senses were matched by a degree of luck. As it turned out, McLaren Vale was the finest place in Australia to grow Shiraz, a.k.a. Syrah. Though the Syrah grape is indigenous to France's Rhone Valley, for millennia it was thought to have originated in the Middle East around a town called Shiraz - Australia adopted that story. We have since learned that this was not the case, but who are we to argue with a centuries-old story?
Regardless of the origins, Shiraz has found a home in Australia. Though there are many great wines made here from many varietals, none is held in greater respect than Shiraz.
Like the Australian's themselves, it is a big, bold wine with lots of twists and turns in its profile. From the dense, dark color to the brooding nose and massive flavors, it is not to be trifled with.