Are you tired of the sameness of red wines like California merlot and cabernet sauvignon? Are you looking for something unique among the ocean of wines that are alike? Try Tannat wine from Uruguay.
Tannat has been made in Madiran in southwestern France since the 17th century. French Basques brought the Tannat grape to Uruguay about 1870, and the grape quickly adapted to the climate and soils of that South American country. Today, more Tannat wine is produced in Uruguay than in southwestern France, and the grape has become a symbol of the Uruguayan wine industry, much like malbec has become synonymous with Argentina.
The grape produces a darkly colored, bold, and tannic wine that ages extremely well. Modern vinification techniques have refined Tannat wine so that the tannins are less imposing and the wine is more fresh and appealing when young. Beyond it’s vinous appeal, it may also offer special health benefits. The grape has very high levels of antioxidant polyphenols, largely due to the fact that the grapes have more seeds than other varieties. Studies have shown Tannat wine has 200 percent more polyphenols than cabernet sauvignon, and 400 percent more than merlot.
Don Cesare Secundino Pisano, the first generation of his Italian family to be born in Uruguay, established Pisano Wines in 1924. The winery has produced some of Uruguay’s best wines in recent years, and Pisano is the most widely distributed Uruguayan winery in the world.
Estate grown and bottled, the Pisano Tannat is dark purple in color with effusive aromas of blackberry, earth, mushrooms, pepper, and oak. The palate is driven by rich flavors of blackberry, black raspberry, spice, and dark chocolate framed by modest, chalky, dry tannins. The wine is very approachable, with a silky mouth feel, and a finishing burst of fruit goodness.
Pair this hardy wine with rack of lamb, wild game dishes, and pasta with rich sauces.
The 2013 Pisano Tannat is priced at $20 and is available throughout Orange County at Total Wine & More stores.