After Argentina, Chile and Brazil, Uruguay is Souther America’s fourth most important wine producing country. The modern wine industry is still very much in its infancy and has quite a bit to prove in the ways of quality, though there are some wines that are showing complexity and success.
Main Grapes or styles
Tannat – this is a red grape variety that hails from the southwest of France. It is thought to being the most tannic grape varietal in the world – so needs a ripe climate, like Uruguay, to ripen it properly. A decade ago it was producing very tanninc, grippy and hard to enjoy wines but with international winemaker knowledge and expertise increasing these wines are now much more enjoyable and easy to drink.
International varieties – the grapes of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are all equally important for the reds and whites of Uruguay. They currently are all made in a fruit-forward style but are showing more and more complexity with each passing vintage.
All of Uruguay’s wine regions are situated in the far south of the country along the coastline. There has yet to be any true differentiation between the several wine regions which would be best considered to all be sub-regions to the greater region of Uruguay, this is because it is common practise to blend grapes from vineyards across many regions. That being said the leading sub-regions are Rivera and Salto.
Climate and its effect on the wines made here
As all of the wine regions of Uruguay are in the south and are found along the coastline, Uruguay’s vineyards have a maritime influence. This influence is shown through cooling winds to the otherwise hot climate. There is some altitude plantings further north but nothing compared to its geographical neighbour: Argentina.