Sunday, June 1, 2008

Review and Rating: *** $ CataMayor Tannat, 2005, San Jose, Uruguay

Review: Tannat is an unusual grape - seen infrequently in the states, it is considered the national grape of Uruguay, although it is believed to hail originally from southwest France. It typically makes a dry red wine. In France, tannat is known for its high tannin levels and fruity, raspberry-like aromas. We'll see what the Uruguayan version is like - sampling the CataMayor Tannat, 2005, from Bodegas Castillo Viejo.

In the glass, it is a deep, dark ruby red, going somewhat opaque in the center - but with an odd, brick-like highlight at the rim. This is quite odd for such a young (3 year old) red.

Aromas come out of the glass in shovelfuls - bold, thick aromas of raisins and stewed plums - smells more like a sweet port than a dry red.

On the palate, the tastes are consistent with the aroma - think of a dry version of a port dessert wine, flushed with sandy tannins. That is an odd combination at first, but it comes together after a sip or two. The finish is defined by the drying tannins, but it is not exceedingly long lasting. It's intriguing for sure, but I would sample another wine the same evening, so that leads me to three stars out of five. Selling at a "practically free" price, that makes this a screaming bargain.

No other professional ratings that I can see, but an interesting write-up here, where the CataMayor Tannat is described as, "deep ruby with purple edges, clean on the nose, with aromatic notes of black raspberry, blackcurrant, rosemary, and a note of forest floor I initially recorded as 'twigs.' There is plenty of black and red fruit for the palate, led by more black raspberry."

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