Tannat is a rich red wine that was born in a tiny village in the south of France. Some wine enthusiasts debate it has the potential to become the next Malbec. Well, not the French Tannat, perhaps, but the Tannat produced in Uruguay. That’s right, this grape found its second home in South America, right by Argentina. In fact, the hot climate and high humidity helped it grow and prosper dramatically!
The flavours of the wine will vary, depending on where Tannat is grown and how long it’s been aged for. The tastes can range from red to black fruit, with aromas of coffee, dark chocolate and smoke, and signature notes of brown spice and cardamom. The more Tannat is aged in oak, the spicier character the beverage will carry. Similarly, the more maceration, the more intense tannins and colour pigments will be in the final product.
French Tannat recreates many red fruit flavours like raspberry, with gripping tannins, searing acidity and remarkable power, and that’s why it’s often blended with the world famous Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, in order to ease astringency. Many local wine producers also make single varietal Tannat, due to its opaque “rich wine” colour, cellar-worthiness, and elevated alcohol content.
Uruguay Tannat is much softer on the approach, with a fruit profile made of mostly black fruits like plum, black cherry and blackberry. Unlike much of the Old World, Uruguay Tannat creating is a much more creative process that involves mixing the grape with others to soften its structure. It’s not rare to see Tannat mixed with Syrah, Pinot Noir or Merlot. Thanks to the immigrants from France who brought Tannat to Uruguay in the 1800s, the grape’s become the country’s dominant variety, representing almost half of the nation’s plantings.
Due to tightly wound tannins, Tannat asks for protein and fat rich foods that will soften the intense, gripping tannins. It will pair really well with beef, sausage, roasted lamb, cassoulet and assorted aged cheese.
If you’d like to try a bottle of this wine, buy Tannat at the ZYN liquor store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or shop online at ZYN.ca!