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by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
From Hardy to Taltarni
Our tastings continue to indicate the country providing the best imports for the dollar is Australia. So today, we're looking at two arrivals from that country. One was the greatest Aussie wine pioneer, Thomas Hardy, who came to California in 1883 to look over the competition. The other is an Aussie winery with wines that today are providing competition.
California vineyards increased from 56,000 acres in 1880 to twice that in five years. As Hardy was arriving in San Francisco after a 24-day voyage from Sydney, Napa County was just completing planting another 4,000 acres. Exciting times! Some of his observations:
At the large San Francisco wine houses, "people come in and pop down their five cents and help themselves to a glass of wine."
Winegrower Charles Krug was so large he had "five travellers employed [selling his wine] all over the country."
Hardy sipped a White Zinfandel in Sonoma County.
While he forecast some bumps in the road along the way, Hardy concluded that the state would be able to produce fine wines, since he had "tasted excellent old wines and very promising new wines made from old hillside vineyards." However, they were not yet ready to provide Australia competition for the European market.
Another Australian Arrival—Year 2000
So Australia was looking at export markets long ago, and now includes the U.S.A. as a major target. Our Winery of the Week has a very close connection to the outstanding Napa Valley producer, Clos Du Val. Clos Du Val is run by one of the Valley's best, Bordeaux-born Bernard Portet. Today's Australian winery, Taltarni, is run by Bernard's younger brother, Dominique. What do the critics think of his work? Some comments.
If you want a single recommendation, try the $16
Cab, since a Taltarni bottle won a major
There's much more about Taltarni in the May 15, 1998
WineDay titled "A Winery in the Pyrenees".
Note I - About the name of the winery, it is located at Moonambel on a road named Taltarni.
Note II—The first winery in the area was founded the year gold was discovered in California, 1848. It survived until 1929 when Prohibition reigned in California. A Methodist minister purchased that Australian winery and instituted his own Prohibition. That is, he tore out the vines and shut down the winery!
06/14/00—Napoleon Takes Marengo
06/13/00—Rats! Not Enough Grapes
06/12/00—Quite a...Few Good Men
06/09/00—Much Ado About Peju
06/08/00—A Fantastic Fusion
06/07/00—Sing a Song of Sirah
06/06/00—From Movies to Monterey
06/05/00—An Ovation for the Bride
06/01/00—The Father of the Brides!
This page created June 2000