Wine Pick of the Week: Tannat

Oenophiles love the obscure. So why does Tannat, the “national grape of Uruguay,” get no love? It has French pedigree, a tannic backbone that allows for serious aging, and no one’s ever heard of it—the three things wine geeks love. Sure it has a reputation for being a little dense when it’s young (don’t we all?), but modern techniques have softened its youthful profile considerably. The grape reaches its zenith in the Madiran in France—one of the world’s hidden wine gems—but, surpise, Argentina nails it on the budget end of things, while early efforts for growing Tannat in the Okanagan seem more than encouraging.

2008 Finca Las Moras Tannat ($15)
Chocolatey fruit, ripe structured tannins but also accessible right now. This Vanmag Wine Awards winner was noted for its exceptional value. 

2010 Moon Curser Dead of Night ($38)
This Tannat-Syrah blend from an Okanagan producer is a blockbuster, but manageable with rich plum and violet flavours. A billboard for planting tannat in Western Canada.