Tannat is a black grape from France, that has found a home also in South America, especially in Uruguay. Not only is it the most planted variety of the country, it is also seen as Uruguay’s national wine grape variety.
Above all, Tannat is recognised for its colourfulness and high levels of tannins. It also provides fairly high levels of acidity as well as sugar, leading to wines high in alcohol that needs to rest in the bottle for some time to make them more “user friendly”.
Flavours are of dark red fruit, blackberries, blueberries, hints of black current. Higher fruitiness when young. Ageing means less fruitiness in favour of deeper flavours such as tobacco, with hints of meat and wild game.
Tannat is possible to find as dry varietals, as blends and as rosé wines. When blended it is most commonly with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Fer.
The wines from France’s South West tend to be more tannin rich compared to their Uruguayan counterparts. In both cases, you will have a robust red wine that is likely to become even more pleasant with age.
Red meat is what comes to mind when you think of pairing a Tannat dry varietal with food, for example a sirloin steak. If the wine is of some age, you can also try with for example roasted lamb. The wine is best served at 16-19°C/61-66°F.
Where is it grown?
Four countries report planted area larger than 290 ha/716 ac. In France, almost all plantings are in the South West vine region, especially in the Madiran district.
In Uruguay, the major plantings are found in the region Canelones (just north of the capital Montevideo).
In Argentina, Tannat is wide spread, although many regions report less than 50 ha/124 ac. In Brazil, most wine production takes place in the north-eastern region Rio Grande do Sul, so also when it comes to Tannat.
- France 2.863 ha/7,076 ac (an increase with 4%), MPG 31, PTPA 0,3%
- Uruguay 1.815 ha/4,485 ac (a decrease with 25%), MPG 1, PTPA 24%
- Argentina 705 ha/1,741 ac (a fourfold increase), MPG 25, PTPA 0,4%
- Brazil 295 ha/729 ac (an increase with 62%), MPG 18, PTPA 0,6%
Tannat is furthermore reported to be planted in USA (California), South Africa (not divided per region in the statistics), Italy (in the very north – Bolzano – and in the very south – Sicily), Portugal (in north-east), Chile (Central Valley), and Hungary (Szekszard).
Tannat’s origin is recognised as being in the region South West in France, most likely in Madiran, not far from the Basque/Spanish border. It could also be that it originated in the Basque part of the area and later was linked to Madiran. It is nevertheless in this area, e.g. around Madiran, that the variety has been documented for almost two-hundred and fifty years.