The name Uruguay is derived from the river of the same name, which in the language of the Guarani means river of colourful birds. Indeed, the state is officially called Republic east of Uruguay. The region is said to have been settled by the Charrúas as long as 7,000 years ago; however, Uruguay´s documented history begins around 1516 with the conquest by the Spanish. In the centuries that followed it was a constant object of desire and site of conflict between the Spanish and the Portuguese, and later between Argentina and Brazil, before gaining independence in 1825. Present-day Uruguay is characterised by is quite modern and socially progressive (for example, the use of cannabis and the marriage of same-sex couples is allowed). The country also has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. With a population of under 3.5 million, Uruguay is one of the smallest but most advanced countries in Latin America.
Viticulture in Uruguay
The history of viticulture in Uruguay is relatively young when compared with the neighboring countries: it first began in the mid-19th century, when Basque immigrants – most notably a man by the name of Pascal Harriague – planted the first vines in Salto and introduced the Tannat grape from southwestern France to the country. This was not only a historical moment for Uruguay, but also for the grape´s region of origin. Long overlooked in France, it was not until the Tannat became successful in Uruguay that this varietal from Madiran also gained recognition for its potential in its native area. Today, Tannat vines cover around 40% of Uruguay`s vineyards, and the grape has become something of a national emblem. Since Uruguay does not produce large volumes of wine, it is not surprising that small family businesses comprise much of its viticultural landscape. In the past 10 years female oenologists have made an especially significant contribution, and women are now the dominant presence in the bodegas. These talented winemakers have mastered the art of fine-tuning the rough edges of the Tannat, lending it balance and elegance while simultaneously honoring its rustic essence. They have been able to render the tannin-packed powerhouse accessible, even while still young.
Tannat – the superfood of wines!
Tannat has the most polyphenols of any grape varietal, making it an excellent choice for cardiac health. Itis also packed with procyanidins, which also works to protect the cardiovascular system. Sometimes called an antioxidative miracle, Tannat`s health benefits appear to have clear scientific support. Let´s cheers to that!