In the hands of two highly skilled women, Analía Lazaneo and Valentina Gatti, Artesana’s unique 2017 Tannat Merlot Zinfandel combines Tannat’s power with the panache and rich flavors of Merlot and Zinfandel. The 2017 Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinfandel exhibits a deep purple nearly opaque color that foreshadows the wine’s extraction and primary grape varietal 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 2017 Artesana Tannat truly comes to fore on the palate, where it offers up plenty of mouth-filling flavors in the form of crushed black fruits, bramble, chocolate and coffee along with hints of aromatic woods, all backed by rich tannins. The 2017 Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinfandel integrates the qualities of each of the wine’s three varietals in a generous, polished format. Moreover, the wine’s concentration and savory finish add to the wine’s palate appeal and promise fine drinking pleasure for several more years. We suggest serving the 2017 Artesana Tannat Merlot Zinfandel cool (58-62° F) after twenty to thirty minutes of aeration. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2024. 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 2017 Tannat Merlot Zinfandel than beef, preferably in the form of a juicy New York Strip or Rib-eye. Short ribs and sliders offer wonderful accompaniments, too, as do Carne Asada Tacos prepared with marinated flank steak, chipotle crema, cilantro, salsa picante, and white Cheddar. Strong cheeses, charcuterie, heady pasta dishes, and roast lamb rubbed with garlic and herbs all 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 2017 Tannat Merlot Zinfandel. Is anyone in the mood for a slider, taco, Eggplant Parmigiana, or almost any other tasty morsel? Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: In addition to fashioning world class Tannat and Tannat blends Artesana winery is the only winery in Uruguay cultivating Zinfandel. In 2017, Artesana was 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), 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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