When people think of Uruguay, progressive politics, quality grass fed beef and sandy beaches may be the first things that comes to mind but they are no strangers to wine. In fact, Uruguay is the fourth largest wine producer in all of South America. Located between the 30th and 35th degree southern latitude Uruguay lies along the same geographical lines as other prominent wine producing nations such as South Africa and Australia! With its subtropical climate, abundance of rainfall and rare occurrences of extreme temperatures the stage was set for Uruguay to be a fruitful wine producing nation. Wine production began in Uruguay through the introduction of the French red wine grape Tannat by Basque immigrants in the 1870’s and is now the most recognized varietal in all of Uruguay. Not only does Tannat’s production exceed any other varietal in the country it exceeds the production of its original French area of origin. Tannat from Uruguay tends to be fruitier and less tannic then the French variety bringing forth notes of blackberry, mineralogy and earthy tones. The vast majority of wine grown in Uruguay is grown in its southern region of Canelones where over 60% of the production takes place. Within this region the area surrounding the country’s capital of Montevideo the oldest of the country’s grape vines are found. Even though Tannat reigns supreme in this region, other international red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir are also grown contributing to the numerous possibilities of blends and pairings. Amongst the white varieties, Albariño originating from the A Coruña region in Spain is amongst the most popular with Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc also being well established.
3.449 million (2018)
176,215 sq km (68,037 sq mi)