The Wine Stylist Vol. 27 No. 06 Wine

Uruguay Wines – The Best-Kept Secret Of The South


Uruguay may be small in size, but it really packs a punch when it comes to quality wines. Oftentimes overshadowed by its neighbors Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, Uruguay’s wines should not be overlooked.  If you love discovering new wines and new regions, Uruguay is an exciting region that needs to be on your radar.  It combines a unique blend of old-world traditional winemaking techniques with new-world terroir and modern technology.

Uruguay Wines – The Best-Kept Secret Of The South

A small country with a population of 3.5 million, Uruguay is a country with European heritage with descendants from Italy and Spain.  With its European culture, it is no surprise they are making quality wines. In a region that loves to party and have fun, wine is part of their heritage and daily lifestyle.

Uruguay Wines

Winemaking traditions in Uruguay began in the 18th century when the Spanish brought wine to the region.  With 5000 hectares of vineyards and 180 wineries, the country is making a splash on the international wine scene.  A country that loves to drink and have a good time, they have the largest per-liter consumption of wine in the world, with 24 liters of wines consumed per capita (+18 years).  Most wines are made for domestic consumption, so you can be sure they are making the best of the best.

Uruguay Wines – Unique Terroir

Uruguay is in 30-35 degree southern latitudes, the same as Mendoza and Santiago. It is a region that blends old-world and new-world wine traditions.  The terroir is really interesting; It has a maritime climate with granite soils, lots of mountainous high-elevation vineyards, and many vineyards in the desert.  When it comes to climate and soil, Uruguay is similar to Bordeaux.  It is a grape-growing region with lots of rainfall as the Atlantic Ocean influences both regions.  Both have vineyards near rivers and tributaries, both regions are relatively humid, and both have a mild climate.

Uruguay Fun Facts

If Uruguay is a new region for you, here are some fun facts that are super interesting…

  • Similar in surface area to the state of Wisconsin, with a population close to that of Connecticut.
  • With 14,804 acres under vine, the wine regions are slightly larger than Saint-Émilion in Bordeaux and slightly smaller than Alexander Valley in California.
  • The only South American terroir whose climate is affected by the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 180 wineries are currently operating in the country. Most are family-run, with two-thirds located in the Metropolitan Region.
  • More than 50% of the grape harvest in Uruguay is done by hand.
  • The vineyards of Maldonado are planted above some of the oldest rock on earth, the Río de La Plata craton, which is 2.5 billion years old.
  • Tannat is the most widely planted variety in Uruguay at 3,892 acres.
  • In Uruguay, Tannat is also known as Harriague (Ha-ree-AH-gay), the surname of the first producer to plant it in the country.
  • The VCP label stands for Wine of Preferential Quality and distinguishes fine wines from mass-market versions.
  • The oldest winery in Uruguay dates back to 1854 and is called Los Cerros de San Juan. Visitors are welcome!
  • Uruguay has the longest carnival in the world, 50 days.  Even longer than Brazil!
  • Cows outnumber humans in Uruguay 4 to 1, and Uruguayans consume more meat per capita than any other country worldwide!

9 Wines From Uruguay To Try Now

There are many grape varieties planted in Uruguay.  Tannat may be the most iconic grape variety of Uruguay but Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Albarino are also widely planted.

Discover the best-kept secret of the Southern Hemisphere with these nine unique and exceptional wines.

Familia Traversa Sauvignon Blanc 2022

The Familia Traversa Sauvignon Blanc is grown on chalky clay soils only 12 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The wine has great freshness with passionfruit and lime.  The wine resembles a Graves-style Bordeaux white wine.  Light and totally refreshing on the palate, this Sauvignon Blanc is a great partner to seafood and sushi.

Cerro Chapeau Castel Pujol Folklore Blanco 2021

Bodegas Cerro Chapeau is located in northern Uruguay at 1000 feet above sea level.  The vineyards are comprised of red sandy soils with lots of iron.  Pujol Folklore Bianco is a lovely wine that is a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia.  The wine truly showcases the terroir.  This blend is aromatic on the nose and concentrated on the palate with notes of wildflowers and tropical fruit.

Juanico Don Pascual Coastal White Albarino Blend 2022

Located just 15 miles from the ocean, this Coastal White is a blend of Albarino and Chardonnay with a bit of Pinot Grigio and Verdejo.  Close proximity to the ocean keeps the temperature down, so you have nice acidity and mouthfeel.  This Albarino blend is aromatic and balanced and has nice salinity from its coastal influences.

Antigua Bodega Prima Donna Tannat 2018

This Tannat comes from a unique terroir of natural pink granite that gives the wine nice minerality.  The wine has a nice balance of fruit and oak.  The mouthfeel has sweet tannins that work well with meat dishes and barbecues.  The wine is fresh and has a full-body sensation on the palate.

Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinafandel Reserva 2020

This Tannat blend is bold and beautiful and can be paired with grilled meats and strong cheeses.  It is bold, juicy, and full of black fruit and spices.  This Tannat with a blend of Merlot and Zinfandel makes it light and silky.

Viña Progreso Overground Cabernet Franc 2020

The wine has an intense color, flavor, and structure, showing the character that the climate and soil imprint on each wine.  Cabernet Franc works well in Uruguay’s humid conditions.  The wine is all about freshness, minerality, and good acidity.  The bright acidity makes it a great pairing for a variety of foods.

Bodega Garzon Tannat Single Vineyard 2020

Garzon is focused on producing wines of the highest quality with a distinctive identity, strong personality, and sense of place.  This classic Tannat is deep purple in color with fresh aromas reminiscent of red and black fruits such as plums and raspberries. It has a great personality in the mouth. The ripe tannins and minerality make it a terroir wine of great identity.

El Capricho Aguará Tannat Special Reserve 2018

Aguará is an exceptional Tannat of intense and dark red color. The palate is elegant and complex, with flavors of nuts and cassis. It is a complex and refined wine with nice harmony—a wine with great potential for aging.

Vermut Flores Rosé Vermouth

This Vermouth blend of 27 botanicals is made with Tannat rosé with short maturation.  Its botanicals are roots, barks, herbs, fruit, and flowers such as rose, hop, chamomile, and elderflower,  Vermut Flores is a medium pink color with floral notes and complex spice that is a marvelous play between bitterness and sweetness.  Serve it with ice and a slice of lemon or orange—a super fun wine showcasing the innovations of Uruguay.

Don’t miss Features, Reviews, News, and Recipes from top Restaurateurs!

Suggested roles: Restaurateur (e.g. manager, owner, cook, chef, sommelier, bartender, mixologist), PR (e.g. PR agency), Producer (e.g. winery, distillery), Marketer (e.g. ad buyer), Consultant, Journalist

Suggested interests: wine, spirits, food, recipes, cocktails

We don’t spam! Check out our Privacy Policy. You may manage your subscription here.

Don’t miss Features, Reviews, News, and Recipes from top Restaurateurs!

Suggested roles: Restaurateur (e.g. manager, owner, cook, chef, sommelier, bartender, mixologist), PR (e.g. PR agency), Producer (e.g. winery, distillery), Marketer (e.g. ad buyer), Consultant, Journalist

Suggested interests: wine, spirits, food, recipes, cocktails

We don’t spam! Check out our Privacy Policy. You may manage your subscription here.

From Wall Street to the wine cellars, Rupal Shankar is living her best wine life in New York City. When she is not writing, Rupal is globetrotting the world exploring food and wine. Rupal is a professional wine writer who enjoys sharing her experiences of wine, food and travel. She loves learning about wine through her travels but also has formal certifications: WSET Level 3 and French Wine Scholar. Continuing her formal education, Rupal is currently enrolled in the WSET Diploma program, in addition, she is studying to get her master's certification in Champagne. A Wall Street professional by day and a yoga teacher and wine writer by night, Rupal loves combining her passions - wine and yoga. She offers wine and yoga classes and workshops, “Vinyoga”.

1 comment on “Uruguay Wines – The Best-Kept Secret Of The South

  1. Pingback: Uruguay Wines - The Best-Kept Secret Of The South

What did you think of this article? We'd love to hear from you!

%d bloggers like this: