Uruguay Wine Travel Guide
Tucked in between the countries of Argentina and Brazil, the country of Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America. Although only about the size of the state of Washington, with fewer than 4-million residents, when it comes to wine Uruguay is a world leader in the little-known grape varietal, Tannat.
What is Tannat? Most people have never heard of this obscure red-wine grape that originated in southwest France. It is named after the most prominent characteristic of the grape, which is the tendency to produce high levels of tannin. Tannins occur naturally in grape seeds and stems, imparting astringent, bitter notes to wine but also helping to contribute to wine’s ability to age over time.
In France Tannat was only used as a minor blending grape, but in the warmer climes of South America, it ripens beautifully, producing a deeply colored, smooth spicy red wine with excellent complexity. It seems to flourish especially well in the rich clay soils of Uruguay. Modern winemaking techniques have also helped to limit Tannat’s tannin levels and bring out its luscious fruit flavors.
Today, the small quantities of Tannat-based wines produced in Uruguay limit its exposure on the world stage. Those who have had the opportunity to taste Tannat marvel at how affordable the wine is, given its high quality. Travelers to Uruguay will want to bring home a few bottles just to share the experience with friends. But don’t forget, many other delicious wines are made in Uruguay besides Tannat.
Visitors to Buenos Aires, Argentina often find that a brief side trip to Uruguay is as close as a ferry ride away. Uruguay’s beaches have long been favorites with locals and visitors alike, especially those seeking quick escape from the steamy summers in the city. Within a short distance of the coast, you could be exploring the Uruguayan wine country on a wine tasting trip like no other.
Uruguay’s wine industry may be small, but it has a long and proud tradition of welcoming guests. Enjoy a leisurely tour and tasting experience that you will remember for a lifetime. While you’re in Uruguay, don’t forget to visit the unspoiled beauty of the rural countryside. Uruguay is off the traditional tourist maps so travelers can enjoy a slice of country life that is authentic and interesting. Begin today planning a relaxing, unique wine vacation with Uruguay as your next destination.