Promoting Argentina, Chile and Uruguay - Part 3
Part 3 - Uruguay
Until recently the whole of production was consumed domestically, but in recent times export markets are opening up and with that there has been a great improvement in technology and quality of wine. The country is very flat, around 1600km from the Andes but is directly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, giving high humidity and providing lots of cloud. There is a definite maritime influence on this wine region (not unlike Bordeaux).
Some 90% vineyards are located in the south in which there are around 2,400 growers and some 280 commercial wineries with small to medium sized operators (average land holding is around 4ha). Vineyards are planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The big potential lies with Tannat, originating from Madiran, South West France. The variety produces big, tough and tannic wines and is seen to be hardy to the climate conditions. This variety makes up around 25% of vineyards planted, with the majority being planted to international varieties and the balance is hybrids, which is reducing in size.
Winery: Narbona is located northwest of the department of Colonia, about 15 Km from the city of Carmelo in Uruguay. The climate is wet and warm.
Contact: Fabiana Bracco Bosca - hosted the tasting showcasing a number of producers from Uruguay. She was engaging, energetic and very knowledgeable on wines from this country. I wish we had both had time to head downstairs for a meal and glass of wine! The wines below aren’t entry level, but many of them are only available in tiny quantities and it was wonderful to sample them all.
- Narbona Puerto Carmeio Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Punta del Este) $ 38rrp - Savoury and nutty with dried herbs and a mineral drive that extended the length
- Narbona Tannat Rose 2011 (Colonia) $ 62rrp - Earthy & savoury with mid palate tannic drive, sweet fruit contribution and generous mouthfeel making it a red wine drinkers rose!
- Narbona Pinot Noir 2011 (Colonia) $ 72rrp - Earthy with a dark fruit profile, bramble, bacon notes and underlying dry herbs. The palate was medium bodied and the wine just beginning its drinking journey. Time on its side.
- Narbona Puerto Carmelo Tannat 2010 (Colonia) $ 38 rrp - Tar and roses with a tight and concentrated profile. A brooding wine with intention and length.
- Narbona Tannat 2010 (Colonia) $ 77 rrp - All I could think of was pork or sweet meat with this wine. It was dark with a cocoa / chocolate / mocha character that was engaging. The wine was tannic with a dusty undertone and dark fruit profile.
- Narbona Luz de Luna Tannat 2011 (Colonia) $ 202 rrp - Expensive, yes but wow was this an impressive wine with concentration, opulence, layers of complexity and a very long finish.