BIG BRUTE TANNAT: Popular in Uruguay?
What is a grape with Basque origins found and flourishing doing in Uruguay! Well many Basques immigrated to Uruguay and with them they brought their Tannat. The grape still exists in France where Madiran is its hotspot. It is usually quite tannic in France unless blended. As a single varietal it is a tough brute like the Italian Barolo and needs a few years of age to be accessible.
In Uruguay it is reputedly thought to be softer and more approachable. Uruguay is the 4th largest South American wine producer but exports less than 5% of its production.
The wine we are trying is from the Carrau Winery now into its tenth family generation and is 265 years old.
It has a light purple colour.
On the nose blackberry, cassis, blueberry and red plum with a hint of dates.\It’s not coming on like a brute!
On the palate very mild tannins. So very UnFrench! It is very drinkable as it is so approachable. There are no explosives or incendiaries in the wine. Looks like I was getting hyped up with some French experience I have had with Tannat. So what about the taste? Gentle black cherry, blackberry and cherry cola. A bit of a rip tide finish where you think this is an inoffensive weakling but undercurrents present a surging finish with a bit of licorice.
My overall impression is that this is no brute but a bouncy little puppy. I’d like to pair it side by side with a pit bull Madiran. I have a feeling it would rip up the little puppy from Uruguay but how comfortable are you with the pit bull?
This is no wildly attractive wine with complexity but a pleasing quaffer suitable for simple pastas. My curiosity is piqued. The last Tannat from Uruguay I reviewed this year was a Garzon 2016 where I gave it a 92.
(Juan Carrau Tannat 2017, Las Violetas, Uruguay, Bodegas Carrau, Montevideo, Uruguay, $15.95, LCBO # 638791, 750 mL, 13%, Set The Bar Rating 87/100).