Day Two: Wine Lovers in Uruguay

By April 1, 2011Wine Tours

What a glorious day for Wine Lovers: so many great wines and we managed to make a sizeable dent in just one day. First we started at Bodega Santa Rosa where we were greeted by owner Daniel Mutio  who after a tour of the winery owned by his family since 1898 treated us to a wonderful selection of his wines, accompanied by cheeses and local cold cuts. The winery was named after Santa Rosa who was the first canonized saint in South America, and also the grandmothers name. Santa Rosa specializes in sparkling wines and has 80% of the Uruguyan market. We had the sparkling wines made from chardonnay, chardonnay/pinot noir and their blanc de blanc. Then for still whites we had their gewurztraminer/sauvignon blanc blend and their chardonnay. All were fruit forward and very well made. We also had two reds: the tannat del Museo 2008, a blend of tannat with 20% merlot (my favorite) and their tannat Gran Riserva Juan Bautista Passadore 2006, a blend of tannat, cab sauvignon and merlot. I bought a bottle of the Museo for a future tasting with our wine club in New Haven.

Then we went to the Bodega Pisano which we were able to visit thanks to the French winemaker Jean Philippe Morney of Chateau Vannieres in Bandol whom we had met last October on our Southern France wine tour. Without that introduction we would never have been able to visit Pisano since they do not normally welcome visitors. We owe JP a big thanks since we were given the royal treatment by owner Daniel Pisano and his nephew Gabriel, both of whom joined us for a typical Uruguyan asado in the family dining room, accompanied by no less than 12 wines! All of the wines were superb and I list them here with asterisks next to the best of the best:

Rio de los Pajaros Brut Pinot Noir;

Rio de los Pajaros Torrontes 2010

Rio de los Pajaros Cab Franc/Syrah rosé 2010

Rio de los Pajaros Tannat Syrah Viognier 2008

Rio de los Pajaros Tannat 2009

Rio de los Pajaros Brut Tannat*

RPF Petit Verdot 2007

RPF Tannat 2007*

Pisano Arretxea Tannat merlot Cab Sauv 2006

Axis Mundi Tannat 2002 *

Fabula Late Harvest Viognier/Torrontes 2007*

Erxe Oneko Tannat 2007

As difficult as it was, we staggered or struggled to our final visit, Bodega Marichal where we were greeted by Juan Andres Marichal. Such a warm greeting and we were treated to some of their finest wines:

chardonnay 2010

Pinot noir/chardonnay

Pinot noir/tannat 2008

Tannat 2009 Reserve Collection

A Tannat 2005 Gran Reserve

We got in early evening to our hotel after a day of discovery. All of the wineries we visited export to the US but in minuscule quantities. By way of comparison, half of the production of either Concha y Toro or Trapiche exceeds the entire production in all of Uruguay! And for history buffs, Uruguay in Guarani language means River of the Painted Birds.

Lunch at Bodega Pisano

Author Vin Marottoli

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