Wines of Uruguay Tasting

On November 11th I attended a tasting of wines from Uruguay sponsored by Uruguay Wines. This is the first time I’ve been to a comprehensive wine tasting of wines from Uruguay, in the past I’ve had a bottle of Tannat here and there but never a tasting where I could try several.

Tannat is the star grape in Uruguay, the varietal is a native of South West France and the main grape in the Madiran AOC of that country. It was brought into Uruguay by Basque settlers. This tasting was a great opportunity to sample several in one sitting.

The tasting was held at Estancia 460, a cozy Argentinian restaurant at 460 Greenwich Street in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan and the event was open to consumers.

Most of the reds were of course Tannat or Tannat blended wines, though I did try a couple of Cabernet Franc bottled on their own. They were pouring a few whites, it seemed that Viognier and Albarino are the trending whites, I also sampled a couple of Orange wines and interestingly, a red and a rosé vermouth from Vermuth Flores.

If you like California style fruit forward and accessible wines you will love the Tannats coming out of Uruguay. Generally black in color with aromas of crushed rock, slate, gun-metal and blueberries with good structure that are ready to drink.

Some of the wines I sampled:

2018 Antigua Bodega Tannat/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon: Medium purple with a dusty nose, juicy dark fruit with red licorice and dusty notes on the nice balance.

2020 El Capricho Aguara Tannat: Clear red with a purple rim, crushed red fruit and slate on the nose, bright fruit with forest floor and slate on the fruit, good grip at the end.

2017 El Capricho Tannat Reserve: Clear red fruit, crushed rocks and forest floor on the nose, bright red fruit with slate and earth notes on the fruit with a nice grip at the finish.

2018 Bouza Monte Vide Eu Tannat/Merlot: Opaque dark black, crushed red berry and gun metal on the nose, chewy, thick with dark chocolate notes, nice balance.

2018 Bouza Tannat A6 Parcela Unica: Black in color, closed nose of green herbs, chewy and thick with dark chocolate notes on the nice balance.

2019 Familia Traversa Tannat: Clear medium, crushed red fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and bitter almond notes on the balanced finish.

2018 Pedregal Roble Tannat/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon: Clear medium red, dusty slate, earth on the nose, silky red fruit and balanced.

2018 Pedregal Prima Donna Tannat: Dark red to black, bright red fruit and earth on the nose with tobacco notes on the balanced finish.

2017 Artesana Tannat/Merlot/Zinfandel: Opaque dark red to black in color, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, silky black licorice fruit with green olives and a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2016 Alto de la Ballena Tannat/Viognier: Opaque dark red, overripe fruit on the nose, chewy fruit with crisp acids

2020 Bracco Bosca Tannat Clasico: Opaque medium red with some stinky notes on the nose, clean bright red fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids

2019 Bracco Bosca Cabernet Franc: Opaque medium red, cigar box and red fruit on the nose, sweet dusty red fruit, nice balance.

2019 Famiglia Deicas Bizarra Extravaganza Orange: Cloudy rusty orange, tangerine notes on the nose, chewy fruit with good balance at the end.

2017 Y. Rousseau Single Vineyard Tannat

This wine is not something you see coming out of California very often, a wine from the Tannat grape varietal. The grape is native to the French Basque region in the southwest part of the country and grown in Gascony in the Madiran AOC.

It’s been grown in California for over a hundred year used primarily as a blending grape to beef up wines. It’s gotten a foot hold in Paso Robles but this version is grown in the tiny Clarksburg AVA which is West of Napa Valley and about an hours drive North of Lodi.

Yannick Rousseau, a French native born in Gascony is the owner/winemaker.

2017 Y. Rousseau Tannat, Clarksburg, California

A blend of 90% Tannat and 10% Syrah. Opaque dark purple to black with crushed blueberries, menthol and sage on the nose, juicy black fruit finishing with dark citrus notes, mouth coating tannins and moderate acidity.