The Dozen Vol. 26 No. 12

The Dozen – Uruguay Climbs Onboard

The third major wine country of South America asks, 'Why Not Tannat?'


Uruguay would like to be part of the conversation.

There’s Chile and Argentina, Argentina and Chile. For most wine lovers, that’s it in South America. Brazil pops up from time, but seldom seriously. Venezuela, Columbia, and Peru – those Equatorial countries have vines but are mainly jungle vines.

But Uruguay? Why not? It’s mainly in the temperate zone, and while Chile can claim the Pacific and Argentina mainly the continental climate east of the Andes, Uruguay owns the milder Atlantic coastline mainly to itself.

Plus, Uruguay has a signature grape in Tannat, originally from the Southwest regions of France and known for its fruitiness balanced by big tannins and not-unpleasant bitters around the edges.

The Dozen has several wines from Uruguay to taste, mostly Tannat, but a few, not Tannat. Here we go:

2020 Traversa Montevideo Uruguay Sauvignon Blanc ($12). A French-style Sauvignon with mellow, slightly juicy green flavors and good acidity.

2022 Juanico “Don Pascual” Uruguay Coastal White ($14). Fruity and mildly spicy with a crisp finish.

2020 Waypoint Wine “Heintz Vineyard” Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($60). Very Chablis-like, with lots of minerality, apple and herbal flavors, light toast, and a long finish – excellent.

2020 Artesana Canelones Uruguay Tannat Merlot Zinfandel Reserva ($22). Quite enjoyable – and while creamy blackberries and cherries reign, it still has the Tannat (55%) raspy attitude.

2018 Antigua “Prima Donna” Canelones Uruguay Tannat ($23). Very enjoyable, with blackberry fruit blended well with oak and with considerable tannins.

2019 Prats & Symington “Post Scriptum” Douro Red Wine ($24). Herbal and garrigue notes with purple fruits – cassis and blueberries – and a tannic, tangy finish – good with stews and thick soups.

2020 Prosper Maufoux “Vigne au Roy” Haut-Côtes de Nuits Bourgogne Rouge ($25). Almost whizzy tanginess – lean but Pinot flavorful.

2020 Viña Progreso “Overground” Progreso Uruguay Cabernet Franc ($26). Quite tannic, with good purple fruit and lightly creamy, but it could use a little more zip for freshness.

2020 Garzón “Single Vineyard” Uruguay Tannat ($29). Garzon is probably the best-known and well-financed of Uruguay’s wineries. This Tannat is full-bodied but very lively, almost pétillant on the tongue, with lightly creamy black raspberry flavors and a tangy, tannic finish.

2018 El Capricio “Aguara” Durazno Uruguay Special Reserve Tannat ($55). Good aromas and flavors of creamy blackberries and dark cherry flavors with some meaty undertones and fairly tannic.

2017 Gamble Family Napa Valley Cabernet Franc ($96). Delicious – rich flavors of blackberry and dry-jammy black raspberries, figs, nut shells, light chocolate, very linear and still fresh despite rich flavors.

NV Vermut Flores Uruguay Rosé Vermouth ($16). Somewhat limpid even for Vermouth – very herbal with a sweet cherry finish.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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