|Roger, The Wine Guy|
Tannat is a late ripening, warm climate grape that has been cultivated since the 1700's in southern France. It is particularly popular in the Pyrennes mountain regions near the border with Spain and it is believed that it was transported to South American by French Basques during the late 1800's. Today Tannat is an important varietal in Uruguayan viniculture and comprises nearly 1/3rd of all the vineyard plantings there. It is popular both as a single varietal and as a blended partner with one or more of the noble red grapes, usually Merlot.
Not unlike two other red grapes of French origin (Carmenere and Malbec), Tannat found its new home in South American to be an opportunity for new expression in flavor and new popularity. Just as Carmenere has become a signature wine for Chile and Malbec has become a signature wine for Argentina, Tannat has become a signature red wine for Uruguay. It prospers in the warm climate offered in the Uruguayan delta country and benefits from the sea breezes and cool nights. The Uruguayan grape offers many of the characteristics of its French ancestor but with
|A recent Wine Guy find in Cuenca:|
Pisano CIS Platino Tannat Merlot
more expression of fruit and less peppery spice notes. Tannat wines of both origins (especially when not blended) have shown a tendency to be lighter in color when first poured and then darken as they air. Before retiring and moving to Ecuador, the Wine Guy used to utilize Tannat in discussing the benefits of decanting and aerating wines before groups. Seeing it deepen and darken in the decanter helped visualize what happens to good wine that is allowed to breathe.
Another characteristic of Tannat is the presence of a greater number of pips (seeds) than in most of the common red grape varietals. As a result, Tannat wines generally have higher levels of flavoids, polycanidins, polyphenols and reservatrol. These are the four primary antioxidants found in wine.
For those seeking the health benefits of a daily glass of wine, Tannat offers some excellent possibilities!
My fellow Ecuadorians might enjoy one of Tannat offerings from Pisano. This winery is one of Uruguay's export leaders and they offer several Tannat and Tannat blends. The bottle pictured at the right is an enjoyable, affordable tannat-merlot blend that can be readily found at retail in Cuenca.
Go explore the possibilities of Tannat soon. Here's hoping you find it as enjoyable as I do!