Tannat Day in Uruguay Date in the current year: April 14, 2024

Tannat Day in Uruguay Tannat is a red wine grape variety that originated in South West France but is most closely associated with Uruguayan wines. Uruguayans even celebrate Tannat Day on April 14 to honor the person who introduced Tannat to Uruguay and promote Uruguayan wines on a global scale.

Despite being one of the smallest countries in South America, Uruguay is the fourth-largest wine producer on the continent, behind only Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Wine grapes were introduced to Uruguay by Basque and Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. Tannat in particular was first planted in Uruguay by Basque settler Pascual Harriague in the 1870s. Because of this, Tannat is also known in Uruguay as Harriague.

From Salto, where it was originally planted by Harriague, Tannat spread to other parts of the country. Since its introduction, it has become the most widely planted grape variety in Uruguay that is grown in all of the country’s wine regions. To highlight the importance of Tannat and celebrate the person who brought it to Uruguay, the National Viticulture Institute declared April 14 – Harriague’s death anniversary – as Tannat Day.

Outside of Uruguay, Tannat is usually blended with other grape varieties because of its naturally high tannin levels. However, Uruguayan winemakers have learned to manage its tannins and produce varietal Tannat wines. Tannat wines from Uruguay tend to have lower and more elegant tannins and a lighter body than their counterparts produced in Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, France, Italy, Peru, or South Africa.

Uruguayan Tannat wines usually have a refreshing, moderately high acidity and notes of blackberry, black cherry, plum, raspberry, and spice. They are often age in oak barrels for a smoother taste and smoky notes, but some Uruguayan wineries also produce young Beaujolais-style Tannat wines and even Port-style fortified wines.

Over the past decades, Uruguayan winemakers have begun to distinguish between the “old” Tannat vines descended from the original cuttings brought by European immigrants and the “new” vines that were produced by cloning. The “old” vines tend to produce more complex wines with higher acidity, whereas the “new” vines produce more powerful wines with higher ABV. Some wineries use both types of vines to make bends or blend Tannat with other grape varieties such as Merlot and Pinot noir.

Since Tannat wines tend to be very bold and tannic, they pair well with food that is high in fat and protein such as cassoulet, duck confit, grilled or roasted meets, sausage, and aged cheese. Other foods that go well with Tannat include charcuterie board, pasta dishes with red sauce, and grilled vegetables and mushrooms.

How can you celebrate Tannat Day? The holiday is a perfect occasion to learn more about Tannat and other Uruguayan wines, share a bottle of Uruguayan wine with a friend, attend a wine tasting or a wine and food pairing class with a focus on Uruguayan wines, or even plan a trip to Uruguay. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #TannatDay.

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Tannat Day in Uruguay, holidays in Uruguay, Uruguayan wines, winemaking in Uruguay, Tannat