Yes there are over 270 wineries and counting in Uruguay. Vines were first brought to the country by Basque immigrants. The signature grape of the country is the tannic Tannat. More Tannat is grown in Uruguay than anywhere in the world.
God bless the so very adventuresome Liquor Control Board of Ontario for taking a huge risk in bringing in this Juan Carrau Tannat. Please do not be frightened!
In colour black cherry. On the nose cherry predominates but there is also some chocolate covered cranberry, earth and pomegranate. On the palate big tannins but certainly not huge. There are cherries, cherry liqueur and a thin coating of chocolate. What strikes me is both the delicious simplicity but a sense of pureness. It demands an asado platter of grilled meats but as we are not in Uruguay you can try your hand at an asados which might include beef, lamb, chicken and sausage. Or keeping it a bit simpler an Argentinian dish which would be a grilled side of flank with chimichurri sauce with a red onion salad.
I was expecting a much rougher and tannic wine that would need a few years to soften but this wine is immediately accessible which may be why the LCBO selected it. Goodness, no need to frighten off customers! Why it is so easy going you can sip it without food. Although I was expecting a tiger I encountered a pussycat. With a Tannat from France I just might say give it a few years in the bottle to soften. With this Tannat it is ready to drink and keep it hanging around for a few years if you like but I do not think it will improve with age.
As BBQ season approaches with vaccines making it possible to invite people over you may want to stock up on this wine and impress the gang with your “unique” find. Yes you are now a wine savant!
Now the bottle says produced and bottled for Juan Carrau so in effect they may simply have bought from a third party and put their name on the bottle? The Juan Carrau name has been a wine producer in Catalonia in Spain for ten generations.
(Juan Carrau Tannat 2019, Las Violetas, Canelones, Montevideo, Uruguay, $18.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 638791, 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A little birdie told me so Rating 90/100).