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Tannat on My Radar

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 7.53.09 AMI enjoy many different wine grape varieties and the wines they make. I do have a short list of favorites though. Among my favorites are red grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagrantino,  Saperavi and Tannat. Today I have the opportunity to taste Tannat from Uruguay.

I was first introduced to Tannat in Virginia, where it is beginning to gain a foothold. Several producers in the state are making single variety Tannat wines, while others are using the grape in a blend. What call me to this variety was the dark purple almost black color and the outrageous tannins that many of the single variety Tannat wines possessed. I like tannins, especially those that I call kissing tannins because they pucker your lips.

The emphasis at the Wines of Uruguay Tannat Tasting Tour is on this variety originally from France but now has found a home in Uruguay. Of the 22,000 acres of vines in Uruguay, one-third are planted with Tannat. Other varieties also thrive in this South American country along the Atlantic Ocean and wedged between Brazil and Argentina.  Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño and Viognier all do well in Uruguay. If one looks at a map of the positioning of vineyards in Uruguay, they are roughly equal to vineyards in Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and the North Island of New Zealand.

I am looking forward to tasting different Tannats. I enjoyed this grape variety so much that in 2010 I made a blend of Lake County California Cabernet Sauvignon 80% and Virginia Tannat 20%. I want to make a bold wine bolder. I succeeded.

The Wines of Uruguay Tannat Tasting takes place today in Washington D.C. at the Sofitel Hotel, Lafayette Square, 806 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20005. The tasting is open for members of the press and trade from 12:00 noon until 4:00 pm.

For more information visit: Wines of Uruguay and Uruguay Wine Tours


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