Vina Progreso Elisa's Dreams Tannat 2011
Purple in color with aromas of mushroom and red fruits. Great density in the mouth, plus extra long and robust taste of jammy wild fruits such as cranberries and blackberries. Lush oak and polished texture with a long and generous finish.
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Viña Progreso is a project from 4th generation winemaker, Gabriel Pisano. Gabriel was born in the vineyard, and his personality is that of an explorer. After studying oenology at Uruguayan Vine & Wine School, Gabriel traveled the world learning to make wine with world famous winemakers in the famed regions of Sonoma, California; Priorat, Spain and Apalta, Chile.
Upon his return to Uruguay, Gabriel brought with him new winemaking techniques and a love for the world’s varietals available outside Uruguay. Uruguay is famous for a varietal called Tannat, which is a bold and structured wine that pairs perfectly with the common Asado. While Gabriel loves this grape and its diversity, he is also experimenting with other varietals such as Sangiovese and Viognier.
Considered one of the most environmentally sustainable countries in the world, Uruguay is also the fourth largest wine producing country in South America. But in contrast to its neighbors (Chile, Argentina and even Brazil) Uruguay keeps more in step with its European progenitors where land small holdings are most common. Most Uruguayan farms are tiny (averaging only about five hectares) and family-run, many dating back multiple generations. At this size, growers either make small amounts of wine for local consumption or sell grapes to a nearby winery. In all of Uruguay there are close to 3,500 growers but fewer than 300 wineries.
On these small plots of land, manual tending and harvesting, as well as low yields are favored; this small agricultural country has never had a need for large-scale chemical fertilizers or insecticides. Their thriving meat industry also follows the same standards: hormones have been banned since 1968 and today all Uruguayan beef is organic and grass-fed.
Uruguay’s best vineyards are on the Atlantic coast, in Canelones and Maldonado (where cooling breezes lessen humidity) or found hugging its border with Argentina. With a climate similar to Bordeaux and soils clay-rich and calcareous, Uruguay is perfect for Tannat, a thick-skinned, red variety native to Southwest, France. A great Tannat from Uruguay will have no lack of rich red and black fruit, lots of sweet spice and a hefty structure. Sometimes winemakers blend Merlot or Pinot noir with Tannat to soften up its rough edges.
The best Uruguayan whites include Sauvignon blanc and Albarino.
Named for its naturally high level of tannins, Tannat is a brooding, rustic, dark red wine that sees its origin in the Madiran region of France. Similar to Malbec’s journey to Argentina from France, Tannat made a similar move in the early 19th century but landed in Uruguay in the hands of Basque settlers. Today Tannat thrives in its warm South American climate, producing a bold, black fruit driven red. Somm Secret—Uruguay producers have the freedom to blend firm Tannat with any other grape whereas Madiran law restricts Tannat’s blending grapes to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and the indigenous grape, Fer.