...From Places You've Never Been, Made From Grapes You've Never Heard Of
That's my alternate title for Dr. Vino's WBW#37 - "Go native!". After all, that is really the purpose of this week's WBW - Tyler wants us to break out of our ruts and try something REALLY different. With South West France on the mind and the Good Professor offering bonus points, I couldn't resist drinking two Tannat-based wines this evening:
2001 Chateau D'Aydie (Madiran, France)
2002 Bodegas Carrau "AMAT" (Uruguay)
Ok, so you heard it here first, Uruguay is an up and coming wine region. Overshadowed by Argentina and Chile, and unloved because of its bet on Tannat, I fearlessly predict that Tannat will do for Uruguay what Malbec has done for Argentina. Read on....
The 2002 Bodegas Carrau AMAT is a fabulous, interesting wine. A deep, cherry red in the glass, I put the glass to my nose and .... smiled, a big, fabulous, Cheshire cat grin. Cool and right out of the decanter, it smelled rich and chocolatey with dark cherry fruit. Then I let it warm up and oxygenate - leather, mushroom, earth, pepper, tobacco and smoke. On the palate this rich, full-bodied, wine presented powerful velvety tannins that danced across the tongue - omnipresent, but not overpowering. Brooding, complex, interesting, and only slighty rough around the edges, this wine is tempting now but should be cellared for a few more years. Long after the wine has gone I am still sniffing the glass and smiling...mmmm, THIS is Tannat.
Price: C$21 (SAQ)
The 2001 Chateau D'Aydie comes from Madiran, a region in South West France and the "home" of the Tannat grape. A dense, dark purple in the glass, this wine has to be decanted carefully, as it threw off a mountain of sludge. More delicate on the nose and definitely showing the elevated alcohol, I thought this signfied that the wine was not 100% Tannat, but the label assured me that my nose deceived me. Bone dry and 'hotter' on the palate, this medium-bodied tannat was more off-balance than the AMAT, but the acidity and tannins were a nice match for the olive and pasta dinner. It may benefit from a few years in the cellar, but I am not sure it has enough "stuffing" to go the distance. Nice, but disappointing at this price - for a few bucks less you can have the AMAT above (or a Bouscasse), or for a few more you can enjoy the heavenly Montus.
Price: C$29 (SAQ)
Given the price and score, I have to recommend the Uruguayan Tannat, which is growing up very well in its new home. Please do try one of these!
For Tyler: In lieu of Bonus Points for the new/old world presentation of a freaky grape, I humbly accept your attendance at a tasting with Brooklynguy and I on Nov. 4th...Cheers!