Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hardys Boxed Wines Reviewed

From the News-Leader of Springfield, MO, August 26, 2007.

Boxed wine cheap, but doesn't taste it

Hardys of southeastern Australia is a major producer of wines in the land down under.

One of the company's claims to fame is the production of really good wine packaged in three-liter boxes, the equivalent of four regular bottles of wine. These boxes are made of heavy cardboard with a plastic bag inside that is filled with wine and sealed. At the bottom of the bag is a pouring spigot.

The wine can be kept in the refrigerator or on a shelf without any deterioration problems from oxidation for an incredibly long six weeks. The boxes also are a great way to carry your wine to a party, barbecue or out to the lake.

The wines from southeastern Australia are similar in style to the wines of California's Central Coast: full-flavored, fruity and very easy to drink. To us, the Australian wines have a bit of a mineral flavor in the background which enhances the drinker's enjoyment. Putting it simply: Hardys wines are good, sound table wines. They are the type of wines that you can serve every night with dinner without fracturing the budget. While they are affordable, they are not cheap in quality. Hardys offers an excellent value for your wine-buying dollar.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Shiraz (three-liter box/$18.99): Shiraz is about as Australian as zinfandel is American. It is the signature wine of the land down under. The grape variety used in shiraz is known as the syrah to the rest of the world. The name and style "shiraz" has become so popular that many other wine-producing countries are now making shiraz wines, including our own. Hardys 2006 shiraz is typical of an Australian shiraz, displaying all of the charm and warmth for which the variety is famous. The deep ruby color heralds an aroma of full and inviting plum, red berry, spices and oak. The flavor is clean and soft with no rough edges or harsh tannins. There are hints of red summer berries mingling with plum, and a soft and interesting oak background. This wine will go exceptionally well with lamb dishes as well as lighter meats and pasta.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Merlot (three-liter box/$18.99): The idea of the term "fruit-forward" will make perfect sense to you with the first sip of this excellent merlot. The aromas of plums, blackberries and cedar rise from the glass when the wine is poured. The flavor is a romp of blackberries, boysenberries and plum wrapped in a soft oak robe. The finish is expansive and fruity. To sum it up, this wine at this price is an outstanding bargain.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Chardonnay (three-liter box/$18.99). Here is a perfect example of a modern Australian chardonnay, and an example of what can be accomplished with grapes from a fine growing area. The aroma stresses green apples, pears, melons and spice, with oak and vanilla in the background. The green apple and the melon are the most prominent flavors, with an entire collection of tropical fruits lying just offshore. This chardonnay deserves your attention, especially at the price.

- Hardys 2006 South Eastern Australia Cabernet Sauvignon (three-liter box/$18.99). This wine is a full-flavored delight that is further enhanced by a deep, dark, ruby color. The aromas of cherry and blackberry are presented up front and seem to fill the room when the cork is pulled. The flavor is as big and expansive as the aroma and is loaded with cassis, spice and a dusty mushroom flavor in the background. This is a well-made, full-flavored wine that takes second place to none in or around its price range.

Sheila and Bennet Bodenstein of Nixa write about wines each week for the News-Leader. E-mail your wine questions to | Homes

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