Uruguay wines were trending on Wednesday, March 5 during #winechat hosted by Protocol Wine Studio. We were chatting about Bodegas Carrau 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Sur Lie and 2010 Tannat Reserva.
There were 40 active participants from around the world on Twitter with more than 300 messages in the hour. In San Diego, a group of us paired the wines from Uruguay with incredible food of Pamplona and for Lent Pascualina at Cueva Bar.
While Uruguay wines are still new to most Americans, we were fortunate to have some excited tasters who had learned about the region at the 2013 Wine Blogger Conference. According to Wines of Uruguay, the country has 3,500 growers, 270 wineries, 22,000 acres of vines and 10 million cases of wine produced annually. The signature wine is Tannat with 22% of the vineyard plantings.
Our focus was on Bodegas Carrau with five siblings working to honor more than 260 years of winemaking by their ancestors. The family has two vineyards, 1) in Cerro Chapeau in northern Uruguay and 2) in Las Violetas in southern Uruguay.
The 2013 Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc is in Cerro Chapeau with an elevation of more than 1,000 feet over sea level, the highest vineyard in Uruguay. Here were the responses to this Sauvignon Blanc:
@JamesTheWineGuy B. Carrau Uruguay Sauv Blanc Sur Lie 13 > delicate notes of quince, yellow-pink citrus, fennel, tea, and white peach -> absolute delight
@winegrapestone found very good acidity in the Sauv. Blanc. Surprising for the latitude. Mellow passion fruit from the sur lie.
@SLHousman 2013 Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc Uruguay Tastes of green apples & pineapple slight floral finish
@themarymaynard The Sauvignon Blanc is buttery and mineral and I have a friend drinking it with me who say she will be buying it soon!!
@thewinecompass I think its cool they produce the Sauvignon Blanc sur lie. I remember a little yeastiness with the citrus
@themarymaynard I loved the sur lie also!!
@winegrapestone reminds me of the way merryedwards makes SB in Sonoma. Goes for $40+/bottle
@SacredDrop I agree! The SauvBlanc is smooth yet has a great amount of acidity and finishes strong.
@alawine 2013 Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc: Apple, pineapple, grapefruit, smooth, round, bright acidity. #7wordwinereview
@artpredator Wow so surprised & pleased by crisp yet rich& very aromatic 2013 bodegas carrau sauv blanc Uruguay! Love that its sur lies!
@amylieberfarb Clear white wine w/ green hues, Herbal bouquet reminds me of honeysuckle
@themarymaynard Buttery, smooth, refreshing, mineral #bodegascarrau Sauvignon Blanc
@artpredator As it opens, sauv blanc Bodegas Carrau moves from bright stone fruit to more citrus. It also changes a lot as it warms
The 2010 Bodegas Carrau Tannat is in the Las Violeta regions with an elevation of only 150 feet over sea level. Here were the responses to this Tannat.
@SacredDrop Tannat from Uruguay, tobacco, cigar box with dark berries, dry with good acidity and length.
@winegrapestone Tannat lots of plum and earth/leaves. Also good acidity. Well managed tannins.
@SacredDrop Tannat Reserva- Tobacco, licorice, candied cherries and red berries- Med-Full body.
@artpredator Lovely & unexpected complexity in nose of Bodegas Carrau 2010 tannat Las Violetas Uruguay & of course deep ruby red violet rim
@50StatesofWine Bodegas Carrau 2010 Tannat Reserva - vineyard grapevines are 25 years old on average
@JamesTheWineGuy B. Carrau Las Violetas Uruguay Tannat de Reserva 2010 - 13.5% ABV - alluringly dry - loving it.
@alawine 2010 Bodegas Carrau Tannat Reserva: medium body, whole plum, long dry nish #7wordwinereview very satisfying
@SLHousman Bottle #2 2010 Bodegas Carrau Tannat Tastes of dark plums & toasty oak
@amylieberfarb I'm used to Fruit forward Pinot Noir & this pleasantly surprising...no fruit notes but great oak
@wild4wawine Believe Tannat a great conversation starter and would please/surprise friends
We just took a selection of the Tweets for this recap. We are grateful for all the participants and for the following bloggers in spreading the word on Uruguay wines!
@wild4wawine Bodegas Carrau Winemaking Passion in Uruguay @OWOCwines
@winecompass The Unique Wines of Uruguay Tasting Tour 2013: Tannat and White Impress
@themarymaynard Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie"
Two years ago I traveled to the Okanagan Valley to experience the wines as I considered importing them to California. There are some great wines to be found, though I’m not importing any Canadian wine because of small quantities, duties and taxes that were too much as a new wine importer.
If from June 6-8, you’ll be attending the Wine Bloggers Conference here are my four tips to visiting wineries in Okanagan Valley:
1. Beautiful Okanagan Valley: Better whites in north, better reds in south
The Wine Bloggers Conference is set in Penticton, the southern city of Okanagan Valley. This area has some of the best wines in the entire valley (and British Columbia) with higher quality red wines. If you have the time and want a gorgeous two hour drive go north towards Kelowna. Along the way you can stop at wineries that have better white wines, lighter in style with less oak than we see in the United States. Also, if you visit any liquor stores, you’ll find lighter style wines from the Southern Hemisphere imported to Canada that you might not find in the United States.
2. Get ready for more than red and white wine
The Okanagan Valley has excellent red and white wines, but there’s more. By now you are preparing for Canadian ice wine. Also, their sparkling wines are receiving some of the highest accolades in international competitions. I was very surprised to find sparkling mead called Joy by Meadow Vista Honey Wines or the fermented and infused wines with sage and the “Flame” with a hot pepper at Silver Sage Winery. These wines are not gimmicks they are quite interesting and definitely worth trying.
3. Three small to medium size wineries to visit
As part of the conference you will have a tasting of the Great Estates of the Okanagan, (aka the larger wineries owned by the same company). If you are looking for small- to medium-size wineries to visit or try, check out these three.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery – perhaps the best winery in Canada as both red and white wines are incredible
Road 13 – great winery doing some unique blending lots of wines I’ve never tried blended before or since
Desert Hills Estate Winery – the smallest winery on the list with outstanding red wines
4. If you try something you like grab it
Beyond the ice wine of Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin it’s not common to see Canadian wine in the US. If you try a wine and really like it buy it then as it may be difficult to find elsewhere even in Canada.