Monday, July 4, 2016

Uruguayan Wine: Sauvignon Blanc

Uruguay 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 as 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 Garzón 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 Sauvignon Blanc 2015 carries a lively acidity at only 12.5% abv, perfect for summer sipping. The pale straw-colored wine offers a zippy and citrus-laden nose, with tons of wet-rock minerality. There is a grassy element, but not a pungent one like that found in New Zealand. It’s more of a South African-style minerality that comes across. The palate is as fresh as can be, with a fruity tartness and a suggestion of sweetness. It's a great match with a seafood salad. Crab or Shrimp Louie hits it just right, as do peel and eat.