Day 9 – 12 days of Wine – Uruguay and Tannat
Pisano RPF Tannat 2017, Progresso, Canelones, Uruguay
Uruguay is in South America, south of Brazil, and east of Argentina. Its southern edge kisses the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio de La Plata. Most of the vineyards are near the coast.
In Latin America, Uruguay ranks #1 in cleanest air and the most gay-friendly. They also have a free university system.
On top of that, the country is beautiful. There are hot springs in Salto and breathtaking mountain views with waterfalls and natural pools in Salto del Penitente. There are expanses of natural reserves in Maldonado for hiking and historic buildings of Montevideo.
The wines in Uruguay lean to old world style. Elegant, with lots of marine influence. While a wide variety of grapes are grown here, the two most important are Albariño and Tannat.
Tannat is not the most well-known wine grape. It is deep and tannic (hence the name) and initially made its home in Madiran in Southwest France. Basque immigrants brought this grape to Uruguay.
As Malbec found a home in Argentina, Tannat has found its home in Uruguay. Brought here in the late 1800s, today, there is more Tannat grown in Uruguay than anywhere else in the world.
In these wines, you will find notes of cranberry, blackberry, plum, cassis, oak, wet stone, licorice, and cardamom.
Located in Progreso in the Canelones District of Uruguay, this winery belongs to a group of small family vignerons. Three Pisano brothers run the winery now; one is a winemaker, one a vineyard manager, and the other deals with sales and exports.
Gustavo, Eduardo, and Daniel are 4th generation. The family immigrated to Uruguay in 1870 from La Liguria, Italy. In 1914 they planted vineyards in Progreso.
Pisano RPF Tannat 2017
RPF stands for ‘Reserva Personal de La Familia’ (Family Personal Reserve). This wine was the good stuff that they set aside for themselves. Well, then some friends, and before you knew it, the word was out. Now they share this wine with the world.
Hand-harvested from low-yielding plots, they only make this in the best vintages. It ages 6-12 months in new oak and another 6 months in bottle.
It is 100% Tannat. This wine was tight when we first opened it, with mint and eucalyptus hitting your nose. It opened to cherry syrup and baking spice. In my mouth, it was lush with red fruit. Tannat is typically known for its tannins, which were present but lush and soft in this wine. As it opened, I found minerality, like wet stone and then graphite, and it became more jammy. I loved the way this wine continued to evolve in my glass.
13.5% abv $22.99 Total Wine $19.99 Vivino
Why we chose this wine
First, Amanda of the South American Wine Guide recommended them on her site, and I trust her and her palate explicitly. (follow the link for more information on them and a great video from their vineyard)
Second, they use biodynamic & organic farming methods.
Third, they are small and have just two vineyards totaling about 30 hectares. They are making wines that are as robust as they are, filled with passion and personality. These wines tell the story of the family and the place.
Bison meatballs with chimichurri
Meatballs are delicious and a crowd-pleaser, but they can also be a bit pedestrian. We decided to off-road a bit with these, make them with bison, and then top them with a little Chimichurri.
Chimichurri is used widely in Uruguay, while buffalo is not. So this is a bit of a mash-up. Bison is high in iron, which gives the meat an earthier flavor that I thought would pair well with Tannat.
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, this book creates “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
Robin has always had a love for spoons, with a drawer full of them in all different shapes and sizes. There is comfort in eating something from a spoon and something very sensual also.
Creating a spoon filled with flavors and aromas that will be eaten in a single bite, allowing the flavors to meld and pop in your mouth, is a joyful endeavor, and you are encouraged to make these your own.
The spoons range from savory to sweet, with something for everyone, and while they are paired with wines, they are delicious on their own.
These recipes are wonderful for appetizers and hors d’oeuvres or simple to create something delicious to spoil yourself, much like a pint of ice cream.
Each of these spoons is paired with a specific wine, and you get a bit of background on the wine, its flavors, aromas, and a bit of its story. She also includes other suggestions for wines to pair with the spoon.
The book is a feast for your eyes, with photos of each layered spoonful.
There are also photos of the wines with the elements of their flavor profile surrounding them. Those elements often inspire the pairing.
The goal is to make your mouth water and encourage you to create your own “Tempting Spoonfuls.”
“Tempting Spoonfuls – Pairing single bites with glorious wines” – Our first book paired wines from boutique wineries on the west coast, in California, Oregon, and Washington, with delicious spoonfuls.
This book is 60 pages, 18 recipes, lots of beautiful photos, and insights into some fantastic small wineries!
“Tempting Spoonfuls – small bites paired with wines from around the Globe” – This book takes us around the globe to explore 12 wine regions, a wine from the region, and then gives you a recipe for a pairing!
A slightly larger book at 104 pages, this time you learn about pairing with a type of wine from a region. Rather than a specific bottle, you can look for a style of wine from a region and feel confident that it will go well with the recipe pairing we provide. We give you 12 recipes, each to pair with a wine.
Either of these books gives you wonderful recipes to create appetizer spoons to pair with wines for a party!
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.