Tannat is a grape that shares many common traits with Malbec. It originated in France in an area called Madiran but has found its real home in South America; Uruguay. Here it seems to produce wines with the sort of ripeness and depth that has a more easy going charm than its French counterpart. Although both styles are worth trying. And like Malbec it has that robust structure and punchy delivery that firmly places it in the fully charged red category.
Uruguay is a slightly cooler, wetter coastal region than Mendoza in Argentina. So if you compare the style of this wine to Argentine Malbecs you get the same rich plummy fruit, with spicy undertones and a big grip; however you also get a fresher herbal dimension to it.
In Madiran it is typically blended with a little Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. These wines have a very dense structure, firm cassis flavours and spicy herbal dimensions.
Tannat is so high in tannin you might think it had inspired that term. This is due to having thick skinned berries. Oak ageing can help soften the tannins by allowing a bit of oxygenation which mellows the tannin over time.
Malbec, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
France: Madiran, Cahors
Uruguay: Canelones, Garzon
Argentina: Mendoza, Salta
Grilled meats, sausage casserole, duck, sheep cheese, aubergine parmegiana