5 to Try: Uruguay Wines


In our July/August 2023 issue, Betsy Andrews examines the evolution of Uruguay wines. The small, coastal South American country has a history of winemaking dating back to the 1800s, yet the wines still remain largely under the radar on the global market. However, new generations of winemakers are both preserving their family’s traditions while experimenting with newer styles and techniques as the country solidifies its identity in the wine world. And while exports to the U.S. are still somewhat limited, great bottles can be found that represent the range of both classic and modern wine from Uruguay.

Marichal Uruguay Tannat

Tannat represents about a third of Uruguay’s wine production and remains the country’s signature grape. Bodega Marichal, in the Canelones region, has been making wine since the early 1900s. And while their Grand Reserve Tannat from 45-year-old vines demonstrates the robust, tannin-forward qualities of the grape, their lighter-bodied Marichal Tannat offers a fresh, modern take. “Unoaked and cold-macerated from young vines, skins removed after fermentation, it’s an easy-drinking red boasting of bright, cherry flavors and a touch of earth,” says Andrews. $14.99. wine.com

Pisano Río De Los Pájaros Reserve Torrontés

Family winery Pisano, also in Canelones, produces a half dozen lines and works with a variety of grapes, with an emphasis on Tannat and red blends. However, their Río De Los Pájaros Torrontés is a unique take on the floral Argentinean white grape. Elegantly steely in structure, the aromatic wine is lively with fruit flavors from bright citrus to juicy peach. $18.99, totalwine.com

Uruguay wines Revolution Tannat Vina Progreso
Viña Progreso Revolution Tannat

Viña Progreso Revolution Tannat

In addition to crafting the family’s classic wines at Pisano, fourth-generation winemaker Gabriel Pisano also makes his own experimental label Viña Progreso, with wines ranging from a Torrontés pet-nat to a meaty Cab Franc. The Revolution Tannat from his Overground collection is a solid representation of the classic style as interpreted through a modern lens, with rich, aromatic fruit bolstered by firm tannins. $19.99, wine.com

Bouza Pan de Azúcar Riesling

Montevideo-based Bodega Bouza sources fruit from regions across Uruguay. Highlighting the oceanic terroir of the coastal region of Maldonado, grapes for the Pan de Azúcar Riesling are harvested from vineyards just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean. “Fermented in steel and aged in the bottle a year before release, the wine has the heady aroma, stalwart minerality, and lusciousness of a Riesling from Germany’s Mosel,” says Andrews. $30.80, mrdwine.com

Bodega Garzón Marselan Reserv

Bodega Garzón places heavy emphasis on lessening environmental impact, from a LEED-certified winery to avoiding herbicides when possible. Garzón’s winemaker Germán Bruzzone favors Marselan in part because the vines are more resistant to mildew. The winery’s “intense, textural Marselan Reserva has me picturing dark fruit flung against a granite wall,” says Andrews. $18.99, wine.com





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