Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Uruguayan Wine: Garzon Albariño

I have had the pleasure of tasting only  a few wines from Uruguay, but they have been memorable. The South American country is notched between Argentina and Brazil, with the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires to the southwest, right across the wide mouth of Rio de La Plata. Uruguay’s latitude puts them right in line with other wine growing areas like portions of Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Wine grapes are grown over most of the nation, with Tannat serving as Uruguay’s calling card. The Tannat grape hails from South West France, the Madiran region specifically, where it produces a wild and tannic wine. The juice there is so harsh that the French are said to have invented micro-oxygenation to try and tame it. The Tannat grapes of Uruguay, while still notably tannic, are much milder and user-friendly. They also grow Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, and white grapes like Chardonnay, Semillon and Riesling.

Bodega Garzon is in the Maldonado area, in Punta del Este on Uruguay’s southernmost tip, just 18 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The vineyards are on thin and rocky soil which drains well and is rich in minerals.Their sustainable, hilltop winery makes nearly half its energy needs through wind and sun..

The Garzón Albariño 2015 is a 100% varietal wine that hits a ripe 14.5% abv on the alcohol scale. It was aged for six months in stainless steel, in contact with the spent yeast cells to give a full mouthfeel.  Winemaker German Bruzzone works alongside enologist Alberto Antonini and viticulturist Eduardo Felix to fashion this invigorating white wine.

The wine offers a light, golden hue and the aromas we want with the Albarino grape. The honeysuckle is right up front, followed closely by pineapple and tangerine. An earthy note shows on the palate, a minerality that goes far beyond citrus zest.  There’s a bright acidity that will support a Cobb salad or chicken breast just as well as it does a handful of walnuts


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter