That Uruguay became famous for its brooding, dark black Tannat wines is perhaps surprising. With an Atlantic coastal climate and endless, golden sandy beaches, you would have thought that Uruguay was bound to be white wine territory.
In a country where cows outnumber people three to one, and beef is a staple at almost every meal, it was perhaps a cultural steering that led wineries to make Tannat their champion variety. It certainly pairs well with the local asado (barbecue), and the thick skins have proved an asset in the country’s often rainy climate. Tannat’s naturally stable nature, with high acid and feisty tannins, probably also helped it become the most desirable variety on which to lean.
Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 10 coastal whites from Uruguay worth seeking out
Tannat dominates Uruguay’s plantings – accounting for more than a quarter of vineyards today – and it’s unlikely to be knocked off its throne any time soon. However, there is a rising tide of fresh coastal white wines that are changing the landscape of Uruguayan wine and enticing winemakers and wine drinkers alike.