Hardy Wines and America’s Cup – A Brilliant Pairing

GEV Magazine writer Genevieve Dee and legendary sailor Sir James Hardy at a recent dinner as he pays a visit to the States from his native Australia on behalf of internationally-renowned Hardys wines.

By Genevieve Dee

The race for the America’s Cup, the world’s oldest sporting trophy is currently underway. The Kiwis are leading and are likely to bring the trophy home. Here to cheer them on is Sir James Hardy and his graceful and sophisticated wife, Lady Joan all the way from Sydney, Australia. To say Sir James is an accomplished yachtsman is an understatement. He has represented his country twice in the Olympics and was skipper in three of the America’s Cup challenges. This America’s Cup Hall of Famer, recognized by Queen Elizabeth II, pointed out how this exciting sport has evolved. From the stealth boat designs, use of carbon fibers that allow for break neck speeds of up to 50mph (double the speed of when Sir James was racing), the height of the sail – equivalent to the wing of an entire plane – and the immense level of fitness required to execute sailing strategies in a matter of seconds, to the innovative use of technology to capture the essence of teamwork in all its glory, nothing escaped Sir James. An excellent raconteur, he regaled us with memories of his sailing days. Most prominent was one when he walked into the Boston Yacht Club after sailing Ted Turner’s boat with half of Ted’s crew wearing confederate flag symbols on their shirts!

Enveloped in the understated elegance that is Quince, our intimate dinner party was composed of Sir James Hardy , Lady Joan Hardy, their niece Kate Hardy, Smuin Ballet’s Darren Anderson, Deborah Parker Wong of the Tasting Panel Magazine, Mary Ladd of KQED’s Bay Area Bites and Lisa Klinck Shea of Folsom + Associates. Pampered by impeccable service, appetizers specially crafted for this event titillated our taste buds. We then feasted on Chef Michael Tusk’s Summer Menu. We were treated to a refreshing Caprese, a burrata gelato with basil and crisps and savored the Bonito mixed with seaweed, wax beans and coastal succulents. Gnudi, a lobster mushroom served with tarragon and calendula flowers surprised us with its taste and soft texture. My favorite, Phil Paine’s Squab with ruby beets, pistachio and niabell grapes was absolutely divine! The Squab was tender, juicy and bursting with its smooth velvety flavor. Not to be outdone was the Late Summer Fruit dish with a delicate aloe, elderflower broth and black sesame.

Ambassador for Hardy Wines, Sir James treated us to the recently launched William Hardy Chardonnay 2012. Succeeding blends included the 2012 Nottage Hill Pinot Noir  and the 2012 Nottage Hill Chardonnay. The group also had the pleasure of tasting the 2011 William Hardy Shiraz and the special 2008 Winemaker’s Rare Release Handpicked Shiraz which will be launched worldwide next month. All the wines were flawlessly paired to the extravagant meal. Delving into geography to educate us on the different regions where the grapes were harvested, Sir James proudly told us of his great grandfather’s forte for blending wines and the impact of climate and soil vs. varietal on the wines. 150 years of tradition and 6 generations of Hardys has produced the Hardys Stamp of Australia, Nottage Hill and the William Hardy Wine Brands. They have consistently delivered distinct wines created from premium vineyards crafted for immediate enjoyment or long term cellaring, rendering Hardy Wines an Icon in the wine industry just as Sir James Hardy is in the sport of Yachting.