The SOMM Journal

February / March 2016

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Bodega Marichal produces several great examples. The 2013 no-oak Tannat ($12), is a delicious mouthful of dark cherries and mocha, very easy to drink and exhibits very soft tannins. GLOBAL VINEYARD IMPORTERS, BERKELEY, CA Pizzorno Family Estates is another example of hands-on winemaking starting in the vineyard. They have crafted an extraordinary 2011 Select Blend ($24) with Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that appeals to the American palate. SOMMELIER IMPORTS, NY; ICARUS IMPORTS, SAN FRANCISCO; DAVID MAYFIELD SELECTIONS, WACO, TX Giménez-Méndez pro- duces several Tannats in a wide range of prices. Their 2011 "Premium" Tannat ($40) is harvested with one bunch of grapes left on the vine until harvest is complete and then added to the mix with several days of additional ripening. The wine is rich and complex with a seductively minty nose. VINAIO IMPORTS LTD, BRONX, NY A varietal that was an unexpected surprise was the 100% Tempranillo B15 ($43) from Bodega Bouza. Remarkably balanced with aromas of dried fruit, spices, vanilla and toast, it really shined paired with food from their excellent restaurant that establishes them as a player on the world stage of enjoying wine with food. ELIXIR WINE GROUP, BEND, OR Juanicó/Familia Deicas was founded in 1830 and now has the biggest out- put of wine in Uruguay. Their 2009 Massimo Deicas Tannat ($190) shows full commitment to integrated viticulture, with careful monitoring of growth and individual hand-picking and -sorting, creating a version of Tannat at its pinnacle. PAUL HOBBS SELECTIONS Viñedos y Bodega De Lucca is the playground of owner/winemaker/ grower Reinaldo De Lucca, who studied at University of Montpellier in the South of France and is making wine in the Bordeaux style. His 2011 Merlot Reserve ($13) and 2008 Rio Colorado ($45) blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat and Merlot are both noteworthy. CSO IMPORTS, BRISTOL, TN { }  123 Wineries with new phi- losophies and innovative techniques are beginning to successfully blend Tannat with other variet- ies. Alto de la Ballena near the tony resort town of Punta del Este, with its hilly topography and proximity to the sea, enjoys great conditions for making wines of the highest quality. Their 2011 Tannat/Viognier (~$26) is sexy with a blond brownie/cookie–like nose. The Viognier acts as a dominatrix, taming the "bad boy" Tannat. CLASSIC WINES, INC. STAMFORD, CT Bodegas Carrau dates back to 1887 and is considered one of the pioneers of fine wine in the country, now produc- ing over one million bottles of wines, including red, white and sparkling releases. The 2009 Amat Tannat ($25) is rich, complex and developed showing deep berry fruit with undertones of tobacco, figs, mint and rosemary. MHW LTD., MANHASSET, NY White wines from Uruguay such as Albariño and Viognier are being successfully cultivated and present interesting alternatives to the popular Sauvignon Blanc. A very big player is Bodega Garzón. In 2000, the Argentinian tycoon Alejandro Bulgheroni saw immense potential in Uruguay as a wine-producing country. His agricultural empire, Agroland, includes extra virgin olive oil, almonds, chestnuts and pecans. He has the latest and best in equipment for a state-of-the-art winemak- ing facility and is fast changing the face of the industry with his worldwide presence. The wines currently imported into the U.S. are 2013 Tannat ($20), 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($18) and a remarkable 2014 Albariño ($18), the only one made in the region. BLENDS INC., NAPA, CA For more information see PHOTO: RACHEL CANE

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