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Sep 25, 2006 02:15 AM


I had an unusual wine at a tasting the other day. I am always on the lookout to try different varietals and was intrigued to try a 2002 Vinedos de las Vientos Tannat ($23) from Uruguay.

I had never had Tannat varietal before. The wine had a very unusual flavor, earthy and rustic, with a lot of tannins. Yet it still was unlike many other wines. It is a big, bold wine and definitely should be accompanied with food, especially wild game or big meats. I enjoyed this wine, and would recommend it to the the adventurous.

I even did a little research on Tannat:

"Tannat is widely considered to be the national grape of Uruguay. Once grown exclusively in the Madiran region of southwest France, Tannat was brought to Uruguay in the 1870s. It has become centerpiece of a small but intense wine industry, making up 25 percent of the country's vineyards. Uruguay boasts some 300 wineries, but most of them are very small and produce no exports. The entire country has fewer than 25,000 acres in vines, about 1/20 the vineyard land of neighboring Argentina.

Tannat is named after its most prominent feature, a high tannin content. In Uruguay, they say that their Tannat is softer than the Tannat of Madiran, thus allowing them to create 100-percent Tannat wines that can be drunk young. Tannat is not easy to find in the States. Uruguay ships only a tiny percentage of its production overseas."

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  1. It is also used in some Basque wines, Irouleguy for one.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wally

      The Basque region is right next to Madiran, so that's not surprising. A little Tannat makes it into Cahors too.

    2. If you liked that try....Eolo, Tannat/Ruby Cab, Vinedo De los Vientos, Uruguay it's a real sophisticated bottle of wine.

      1. Quara has a tannat from the Cafayate valley that is inexpensive (around $10), tannic, and probably ageworthy. Very tasty, but needs to breathe alot when drunk young.


        1. I have had the opportunity to drink two California Tannats during
          the last 2 weeks:

          a) The Cambiata 2005 Tannat: was surisingly soft and round
          in the mouth I expected a tannic explosion that would burn my mouth,
          but tannins were surrisingly contained. The wine had a beautiful
          dark purple color. I think this wine is a good choice for a change
          of pace or for fooling your friends in a blind tasting.

          b) The Putah Creek 2006 This winery operates out
          of my hometown, Davis, CA. Again the wine was dark
          purple and not as tannic as I feared. It was also
          relatively soft, but not as well finished as the Cambiata.

          My next sampling will be the Tablas Creek Tannat if I
          can manage to get hold of it. Still on balance, I feel Tannat
          lacks the sructure and backbone of more established varietals
          like Cabernet, Syrah or Mourvedre. Its new found popularity
          is due to the fact that it is supposed to have the highest
          concentration of resveratrol among wines, due to its high
          tannin content. French men in the Gers, the area where
          Madiran is grown, live in their 90s at twice the country's

          3 Replies
          1. re: bclevy

            Tannat is a rustic red wine, with some harsh edges that need to be softened by food, especially fat.Gers still produces a lot (Madiran), and I've had a few Tannat from there, but none from anyplace else.

            Tannat has a very high level of the "good" suff we drink wine for -- procyanidins.
            Learn more by reading the research/articles of Roger Corder and his writings.

            But Cabernet has almost as much, and is much better tasting.
            Highest of all is the red from the Nouro region of Sardinia. I believe.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              ms. lorraine, Sagrantino from Umbria ranks pretty high in that procyanidins list, does it not? Have you been favorably impressed by any of those Nouros? I have a weak spot for these highly tannic wines and haven't tried that one yet. grazie

              1. re: moto

                Yes. the Sagrantino from Arnoldo Caprai was measured to have the highest amount of procyanidins OF ALL THE WINES TESTED in Italy. But that doesn't mean all Sagrantino in general is high in pros, ony that this AC Sagrantino is.

                Corder's rating system:

                V = Average (30-45 mg per 4-ounce glass)
                VV = Shows promise (45-60 mg)
                VVV = Good (60-90 mg)
                VVVV = Very good (90-120 mg)
                VVVVV = Excellent (120 mg+)


                1. Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano, Arnaldo Caprai, Umbria VVVVV
                One of the very highest Corder has found so far, anywhere
                2. Rosso Superiore del Mandrolisai, Cantina del Mandrolisai, Sardegna VVVVV

                4 V's from North to South:

                3. Barolo Ciabot-Berton, Piemonte VVVV
                4. Langhe Nebbiolo De Forville, Piemonte VVVV
                5. Dolcetto di Dogliani, Luigi Einaudi, Piemnte VVVV
                6. Palazzo della Torre, Allegrini, Veneto VVVV
                7. Morellino di Scansano, Le Pupille, Toscana VVVV
                8. Morellino di Scansano, Lohsa, Toscana VVVV
                9. Poggio Bestiale, Fattoria di Magliano, Toscana VVVV
                10. Aglianico Contado, Di Majo Norante, Molise VVVV
                11. Aglianico Beneventano, Vesevo, Campania VVVV
                12. Fatascia Syrah, Alire, Sicilia VVVV
                13. Merlot, Ceuso, Sicilia VVVV
                14. Kent'annos, Cantina del Mandrolisai, Sardegna VVVV


                1. Madiran, SW France VVVVV
                2. La Mere Grand, Vignoble du loup Blanc, Languedoc-Roussillon VVVVV
                3. Domaine la Rouvioule, Minervois la Liviniere, Languedoc-Roussillon VVVVV
                4. Mas de Daumas Gassac 2003, Languedoc-Roussillon VVVVV
                5. Pommard VVV to VVVVV.
                6. Cahors, SW France VVVV
                7. Lo Cagarol, Domaine Tour Trencavel, Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon VVVV
                8. Cuvee Gaia, Les Trois Blasons, Minervois la Liviniere, Languedoc-Roussillon VVVV
                9. Arenes Sauvage, Cave de Tain, Cornas, Rhone VVVV
                10. Chateau Montaiguillon 2002, Montagne-St. Emilion, Bordeaux VVVV

                California Cabernet ranks very high. Sorry I don't have the rankings for that.

                Read more here: