Written for Around the World in 80 Harvests
The tiny South American country is synonymous with this plucky variety that was first brought to its shores by Basque settler Pascual Harriague in 1870. Since then it has dominated Uruguay’s wine scene, accounting for up to 50% of plantations at its peak.
“Why Tannat?”, you might ask. Put simply, it is one of the most resistant varieties. Its roots don’t mind getting soggy and, come rain or shine, you’ll get a wine with colour, acidity and tannins. That’s an important factor to take into consideration for a nation which (unlike its South American brothers Argentina and Chile) receives an average of 1300mm of rain per year. The rest of the New World may produce fruit-bomb wines filled with sunshine and sugar, but Uruguay is an anomaly – more similar in climate to Bordeaux than Barossa. So Tannat triumphed and took over as the wine that delivered every vintage…
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