I had an unusual wine at a tasting the other day. I am always on the lookout to try different varietals and was intrigued to try a 2002 Vinedos de las Vientos Tannat ($23) from Uruguay.
I had never had Tannat varietal before. The wine had a very unusual flavor, earthy and rustic, with a lot of tannins. Yet it still was unlike many other wines. It is a big, bold wine and definitely should be accompanied with food, especially wild game or big meats. I enjoyed this wine, and would recommend it to the the adventurous.
I even did a little research on Tannat:
"Tannat is widely considered to be the national grape of Uruguay. Once grown exclusively in the Madiran region of southwest France, Tannat was brought to Uruguay in the 1870s. It has become centerpiece of a small but intense wine industry, making up 25 percent of the country's vineyards. Uruguay boasts some 300 wineries, but most of them are very small and produce no exports. The entire country has fewer than 25,000 acres in vines, about 1/20 the vineyard land of neighboring Argentina.
Tannat is named after its most prominent feature, a high tannin content. In Uruguay, they say that their Tannat is softer than the Tannat of Madiran, thus allowing them to create 100-percent Tannat wines that can be drunk young. Tannat is not easy to find in the States. Uruguay ships only a tiny percentage of its production overseas."