|Photo Credit: Movie Almost Famous|
The latest claim to fame is that Uruguay is taking the world of viticulture by storm, with its distinctive Tannat wines. Discovering this variety was a major highlight of the recent Wine Bloggers Conference. A boisterous group of wine enthusiasts had an opportunity to sip and savor the unique wines of Uruguay.
I compare this to watching a soon-to-be discovered rock band playing in a dive bar for tips just prior to getting a major record deal. At first sip, you knew they were onto something and that this was a launch pad to Global Grape Domination. "Yea for us" for getting to partake in Uruguay's best pours in small city in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. Yes, I'll be claiming "I knew them when."
|Credit: world maps|
Uruguay sits between the 30th and 35th parallels in line with Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Winemaking began in the 18th century when the Spanish brought vines to the region. With approximately 3,500 grape growers and 270 wineries, Uruguay produces 10 million cases of wine annually from its 22,000 acres of vines. Maybe its with good reason but Uruguay selfishly keeps 95% of the wine produced for themselves. Luckily for us, they are finally ready to share and have plans of wine being their tastiest export.
|Photo Credit: Welcome Uruguay|
Here's a couple "stand out" wines I had the pleasure to sip. I wish I could have this tasting back as it seamed fast and furious and I really needed to spend some more time with these wines. I guess its good they left me wanting more. Now I'm on a mission to get to know the wines of Uruguay much more intimately. Naturally, I want to go there.
|Photo Credit: Artesana|
Artesana poured a Tannat-Zin-Merlot blend (2011) that was very elegant and extremely smooth. The boldness of the Tannat was artfully tamed in this blissful blend. This is a wine that begs to be paired with strong cheeses or grilled foods. It's well-balanced and surprisingly light on the palate. I also tried Artesana 100% Tannat (2011 and I really liked it as well. Big, bold and deliciously distinctive.
|Photo Credit: SIP|
Bodegas Carrau offered their 1752 Gran Tradicion. This wine was very deep maroon in color. This was a Tannat blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The enveloping aroma was tart currant and plum followed by a dried currant taste. Tannat is the ever present variety but the tannins are as smooth as silk.
|Photo Credit: SIP|
Bouza Bodega Boutique poured their Albariño 2012. Albariño (Alvarinho) is a green-skinned grape variety native to Galicia on the north Atlantic coast of Spain which lends itself well to Uruguay.
This was fruit salad in a class. Delights of tropical fruit aroma with white flowers. The taste lead with tart pear and peach, tangy green apple with a mineral palate and crisp acidity. This standout wine was well balanced and with lively acidity and a long finale. This is a perfect summer sipper.
Thank you Wines of Uruguay, it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I look forward to our next encounter. I just know it will be remarkable.
Life's fast, sip slow.