A story published by the Associated Press on Tuesday spotlighted tannat grapes from Uruguay. According to the story, the cultivar was brought to the country by the French winegrower Pascual Harriague in the 1870s. The warm climate of Uruguay was perfect for this thick skinned hardy grape that over time evolved from producing homemade rustic wines to fine tipples.
The leading wine publication Wine Folly describes tannat as a big, bold red wine like a Shiraz or Melbac. Suffice to say that it pairs wonderfully with red meats and spicy foods. Infact, in Uruguay this is the that pair best with their signature steak. It is the ‘perfect tipple to cut through a fatty steak -- of which Uruguayans eat more per capita than almost any other nation’ points out the AP story.
The wine is often blended with popular red wine grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. On its own, it is high on tannins and acidity which is why it’s a good accompaniment to red meats. It will be a perfect wine to accompany tandoori chicken, seekh kebabs and kosha mangsho.
Tannat originated in France and is now prevalent in the South West with Madiran, a small appelation, being a key area that grows it. If you want to pick up a French Tannat, look for Madiran AOC on the label. Argentina is the third country that produces Tannat, although the acreage is smaller compared to France and Uruguay. Tannat is a rare red wine and if you want to get your hands on it, look for Garzon, Ombú Clasico and Once Upon a Time from Uruguay; and
Chateau Peyros and Famille Laplace in Madiran appellation, France. The AP story noted that Uruguay celebrates April 14 as Tannat Day.