March 2015 News

Two Big Boys for a Strong Finish to the Year

The year may be coming to a close, but we’re not quite ready to call it quits, so we are squeezing in one more release-a double-feature, actually: the 2012 Hard Hill Road Durif and the 2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz. We bottled these wines earlier in the year, be have managed to keep our hands off them to give them some time to unwind before we let them loose. Read on to find out more about these wines and a special Hard Hill Road deal.

Built to Last

Going into the 2012 vintage at our Hard Hill Road vineyard, we knew we had some concentrated and complex grapes so knowing that wines of dense structure and longevity were in the making, we decided to get back into Hard Hill Road winemaking after a five-year hiatus. These wines were worth the wait. Check out the color of the Shiraz fermentation below.

Our 2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz is particularly tight, dense, and complex. Today, this wine offers a tantalizing balance, but if you want to save it for a special occasion, it also has the potential for development long into the future. Read the tasting note here.

Unlike the Shiraz, which we aged in French Barrels, we aged our 2012 Hard Hill Road Durif in American oak puncheons. While the influence of these barrels is subtle, they create a generosity to the Durif’s “bigness,” allowing the floral and feminine character of this muscular wine to assert itself. Read the tasting note here.

Although both wines remain tight (think of a coiled spring), they are approachable now. But if you can wait 10 or 20 years into the future, your patience will be rewarded. Don’t just take our word for it, read James Halliday’s review below.

The Perfect Holiday Gift to yourself

You can buy our 2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz and 2012 Hard Hill Road Durif from our website at our standard Cellar Club 15 percent discount for $250 per six-pack.

However, if you’d like to try all of our 2012 Hard Hill Road wines-including our recently released Nebbiolo-we are offering a Hard Hill Road Mixed Dozen (four bottles each of 2012 Shiraz, Durif, and Nebbiolo) for $475, including free delivery.

SRP: $49 per bottle

Cellar Club Price: $42 per bottle in 6-pack

Cellar Club Special: $39.50 per bottle in mixed dozen


James Halliday Wine Companion 2015 Rates our Hard Hill Road Wines

2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz – 96 points. Drink by 2047. Deeply coloured; a full-bodied wine with elegance, thanks to the precisely controlled alcohol; the intense flavours of blackberry, blackcurrant, licorice, dark chocolate, and pepper are framed by high-quality French oak and persistent, but fine and balanced, tannins. It will be extremely long-lived, never losing its way.

2012 Hard Hill Road Durif – 94 points. Drink by 2019. Deep, but vivid colour; no-holds-barred with this one, Adam Richardson’s U.S. experience no doubt encouraging him to go for the doctor with this plush, deeply layered, black-fruited Durif, throwing in some oak spice, and licorice found along the way to complete the picture. In common with other top Durifs, the tannins are not hard.

Is it Durif or Petite Sirah?

Durif, also called Petite Sirah in France and the United States, is named for French Botanist Dr. Francois Durif, who crossed Syrah with a grape variety named Peloursin in 1880 in the south of France.

The resulting variety has plump berries, big bunches, and creates wines of deep colour and robust tannins. Early French winemakers thought these Durif wines tasted just like concentrated Syrah wines made from very small berries-hence the nickname Petite Sirah, an amusing descriptor because, when see the grapes or taste the wine, there is nothing “petite” about Durif.

Adam’s Recent Cool Discoveries

Music: I’ve been listening to Townes Van Zandt this week. He’s not the most cheerful of country blues singers, but his melodies, gentle picking, and carefully worded lyrics always put me in a pensive, relaxed mood.

Food: Following a chunky steak and mushroom pie at Ararat’s Waacks bakery, I am been craving simple, wholesome meals this month. I don’t know how many gold medals these guys have won for their baked goods, but I can attest they are all well-earned!

Movie: Stand Up Guys, starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. Once you’re comfortable with the idea of three aged ex-gangster dudes reliving their dodgy past, this plot will keep you entertained with gunfights, a stolen muscle car, a Viagra overdose, righteous retribution, and some slick humorous banter.

Drink: In the U.S., the town of Portland, Oregon, has become so hip, it has a popular television show named after it. We recently visited the city and in a 1920’s-style cocktail bar, I ordered a whiskey sour, a long-forgotten favourite, this one made with Four Roses bourbon. This particular whiskey provided a distinct character, and this barkeep’s version didn’t include the usual egg white, which I think makes it task like raw soufflé.