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 Filed as : Regional Spotlight~ Rest of World

The Dark Horse of South America

Jul 18, 2011
The Dark Horse of South America
Value, flavor, and adventure

flag_of_uruguayOne hundred and eighty-one years ago today, Uruguay ratified its constitution and established itself as an independent country. We think that calls for a toast!

Nestled between Argentina and Brazil, the tiny South American state is establishing its reputation as a New World wine producer while international markets for South American wine burst wide open. Much of Uruguay’s wine production has focused on tannat, a grape variety native to southwest France, but imported to Uruguay around the time the country gained independence.

We’ve enjoyed Uruguayan tannat wines before, so we know the grape has potential. Tannat is tannic and highly structured (making it great for grilled steak!). We’ve also found it smoky and filled with red cherry flavor. In particular, we like tannat-based blends and there are even late-harvest tannat dessert wines that are knockouts.

While the tannat grape may be the epicenter of Uruguayan winemaking, the country is producing wines across a range of varietals. One of our favorites is the 2009 Carrau Sauvignon Blanc. Citrusy and complex, with unexpected spiciness, it’s a steal at $12.99.

So, in the end: we think now’s the time to expand your palate with the quirky and often inexpensive wines coming out of this blossoming South American wine producing country. Why not try a bottle to celebrate Jura de la Constitución?

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Which of these wine regions is NOT one of the six major wine regions of France?