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Marichal Uruguay Gran Reserve A Tannat 2011
The wine world is vast and constantly expanding. With shifts in climate, fashion, and technology, new regions are constantly developing and experimenting to learn which varieties work best on which vineyard sites. Often, since these regions have yet to gain worldwide popularity, they are great sources for the savvy consumer looking to try something new and interesting at a budget-friendly price.
A brooding, rustic, and dark red originating from the Madiran region in southwest France, Tannat is named for its naturally high level of tannins.
The vines ended up in the hands of Basque settlers who are responsible for bringing the variety to Uruguay in the early 19th century—similar to Malbec’s journey to Argentina, which actually happened after Tannat’s trans-Atlantic journey, and by a Frenchman. Today the grape has become much more important in Uruguay, where it thrives in its warmer South American climate, making a wine still deep in color and bold in tannins but with riper, more forward fruit complemented by sweet autumn spice and roasting coffee aromas. Producers have more freedom here to blend with softer varieties like Pinot noir or Merlot, and often do in order to soften up Tannat’s firm character.
From its home in Madiran, Tannat produces bold, inky and granular wines, concentrated in black and blue fruit with aromas of wet earth, dried herbs and graphite. They’re often composed of 100% Tannat but the law allows no less than 60%; the remainder of the blend can include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and an indigenous grape called Fer.
Try Tannat with a big juicy steak, a rich Pasta Bolognese or any strong cheese.