TANNAT the Uruguayan Grape ? | Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay | Tannat is a red wine grape, historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC and is now one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay, where it is considered the “national grape”. It is also grown in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and in Italy’s Puglia region where it is used as a blending grape.Tannat wines produced in Uruguay are usually quite different in character from Madiran wines, being lighter in body and lower in tannins. It is also used to make Armagnac and full bodiedrosé. In France, efforts to solve the harsh tannic nature of the grape lead to the development of the winemaking technique known as micro-oxygenation.
The Tannat vine was introduced to Uruguay by Basque settlers, especially Pascual Harriague, in the 19th century. Along with the Manseng vine it quickly started to flourish in its new home. Today it is often blended with Pinot noir and Merlot and is made in a variety of styles including those reminiscent of Port and Beaujolais. From Uruguay the vine spread to Argentina and from thereflying winemakers promoted the grape’s resurgence in California at the end of the 20th century.
Plantings of Tannat (also known in Uruguay as Harriague) have been increasing in Uruguay each year as that country’s wine industry develops. The Tannat wines produced here are characterized by more elegant and softer tannins and blackberry fruit notes. Vineyards in Uruguay have begun to distinguish between the “old vines” that are descendants from the original cuttings brought over from Europe and the new clones being produced today. The newer vines tend to produce more powerful wines with higher alcohol levels but less acidity and complex fruit characteristics.
In Colonia del Sacramento you may visit the Bodega Caluva, Los Cerros de San Juan, Bodega Turistica Bernardi, Bodega y Granja Narbona and Bodega Irurtia to taste some of the great exponents of TANNAT produced in the area. Another reason to visit this beautiful destination. Last night I had a great bottle of TANNAT Don Pascual, that went smoothly and combined perfectly with the fabulous dinner that Marcial from Casa los Jazmines put together for me. Thank you Marcial. !!! Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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