The 2016 Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinfandel ranks as Artesana’s flagship wine. In the hands of two highly skilled women, Analía Lazaneo and Valentina Gatti, this unique offering combines power and panache in one bold, flavor-packed wine. The 2016 Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinfandel exhibits a deep purple, nearly opaque, color that foreshadows the wine’s depth and extraction. More impressive still is the wine’s heady bouquet of ripe black fruits, fig, dark chocolate and spice. Although delightfully scented and intriguing in aroma, the 2016 Artesana Tannat truly comes to fore on the palate, where it offers up plenty of mouth-filling flavors in the form of crushed black and red berries, bramble, chocolate and coffee along with hints of aromatic woods, all backed by ripe, sensuous tannins. The 2016 Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinfandel is not only the finest wine we have tasted from this up and coming property, it highlights the finest qualities of each of the wine’s three varietals in a generous, polished format. Moreover, the wine’s broad mid-palate and savory lingering finish promise a long life and even greater pleasure with additional bottle age. We suggest serving the 2016 Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinfandel cool (60-64° F) after thirty minutes or more of aeration. Enjoy!
Uruguay, like neighboring Argentina and Chile, thrives on pairing its rich red wines with some of the planet’s finest beef. With that in mind, we can think of no better accompaniment to Artesana’s robust 2016 Tannat Merlot Zinfandel than beef, preferably in the form of a juicy New York Strip, Porterhouse or Rib-eye. Short ribs and sliders offer wonderful accompaniments, too. Yet, strong cheeses, charcuterie, heady pasta dishes, and roast lamb rubbed with garlic and herbs pair beautifully with this wine as well. Grilled Italian sausages and a host of vegetarian specialties, including a vegetarian paella or cassoulet, provide other tasty accompaniments to this special wine. And many of us would be hard pressed to find a finer accompaniment to almost any eggplant and tomato based dish than the 2016 Tannat Merlot Zinfandel. Is anyone in the mood for a good steak, Eggplant Parmigiana or almost any other tasty morsel? Enjoy!
Artesana’s full-bodied 2016 Tannat Merlot Zinfandel offers the perfect foil to flavorful cow and sheep’s milk cheeses. Aged Gouda, Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne, Cantal and Pont l’Eveque are just a few robust cheeses that make ideal companions to Artesana’s flavorful, heart-warming Tannat Merlot Zinfandel. To enjoy more superb wine and cheese pairings or to learn more about the world’s finest cheeses, contact us at www.cheesemonthclub.com.
Editor’s Note:In addition to fashioning world class Tannat and Tannat blends, Artesana winery is the only winery in Uruguay cultivating Zinfandel. It has also been named Uruguay Winery of the Year by the New York International Wine Competition.
Uruguay, a South American oasis of peace and stability, has been making good wine for centuries, most of which heretofore has been consumed by the small but prosperous local population. Yet, in recent years the rich full-bodied wines of Uruguay have begun to flow north and find favor in “El Norte.” In the last five years, the trickle has become a steady flow, as new and longtime producers in Uruguay continue to raise the quality bar and embark upon the search for additional markets for their country’s distinctive wines. Yet, unlike Uruguay’s South American neighbors, Argentina and Chile, Uruguay is a country of small-scale, family-owned wineries with a European winemaking tradition. And as an added note, Uruguay is considered to have one of the purest vineyard environments in the world, ranking 3rd after Norway and Finland in the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) in 2005.
Artesana appears as one of Uruguay’s new and most exciting small estate wineries. It is located in Uruguay’s acclaimed Canelones winegrowing region, where the temperate coastal Atlantic climate produces growing conditions that are often compared to that of Bordeaux. Artesana is owned by an engaging American woman, Leslie Fellows, and her uncle. Award-winning Uruguayan winemakers, Analía Lazaneo and Valentina Gatti, handcraft iconic wines that express the unique terroir of the estate vineyard. Wines are made in small lots with minimal intervention, allowing the character of the fruit to be expressed. As the estate’s name implies, Artesana is truly an artisanal affair, as all of Artesana’s handcrafted wines are made with 100% estate-grown grapes and showcase Uruguay’s distinctive terroir and its signature grape variety – Tannat.
In addition to growing glorious Tannat, Artesana produces excellent Merlot and Zinfandel from the estate’s 20 acre vineyard. Artesana currently releases three exceptional Tannat based wines, a 100% Tannat offering, a Tannat-Merlot-Zinfandel (this month’s feature), and a Tannat Rosé. In addition, Artesana’s vineyard is completely hand-farmed using sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and low-input, dry farming to maintain the long-term health of the land. Vines are meticulously tended to produce low-yield, high-quality fruit and are field-selected and hand harvested. Moreover, all of the estate’s Tannat wines are brought up in a combination of French and American oak barrels and are bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Tannat hails originally from southwestern France where it has long figured in the wines of Madiran and the legendary “Black Wine” of France known as Cahors. The word tannin derives its name from the Tannat grape, which should tell us something about Tannat: it produces full-bodied, age-worthy wines with considerable tannic backbone. Alone or when blended with Merlot or other vinifera varietals from wineries such as Artesana, Tannat delivers a lot of bang for the buck. In centuries past, Tannat traveled to Uruguay where the deeply colored varietal produces full-bodied wines with dark fruit flavors and exotic spicy tones. As it does throughout Uruguay, Tannat rests at the heart of Artesana’s winemaking program along with the conviction that great wine starts in the vineyard.
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