by Paul Rudge, Reubens Wine Store 

Overshadowed by its bigger South American neighbours for years, Uruguay has in the past few decades emerged steadily and quietly on to the world wine market. You cannot talk about Uruguayan wine without mentioning the iconic grape variety, Tannat which has played a pivotal role in the country`s rising wine status. The first Tannat vines to arrive in Uruguay were brought across the Atlantic in the 19th century by Basque settlers, but it is Don Pascual Harriague who is credited for the grape’s dispersal throughout Uruguay. The Tannat grape is also grown in South West France in the Madiran and is used in making Armagnac. The majority of Uruguayan vineyards are in the hills north of the capital Montevideo and close to the Brazilian border.  The Tannat grape has some major health benefits as it has the highest levels of polyphenols than any other grape variety. Polyphenols are good for the heart and glucose metabolism, among other benefits. Is this why the people of Southern France live so long? Why not find out for yourself:

Bodega Garzon Tannat   alc 14% vol  2012  £13.99

This wine is fermented in both new oak casks and steel vats in order to soften out the tannins. The result is a wine packed with intense black and red fruit flavours. The finish is full and round with a long lingering mouth feel.

Bodega Garzon Albariño   alc 13% vol 2013  £13.99

Albariño is an indigenous Spanish grape variety but it really thrives in the Uruguayan climate and soil. Aromas of orange rind and peach, the palate has lovely fresh apricot and guava fruit flavours and a refreshing crisp finish.

The next Reubens wine tasting is Wines of South America on Friday 30 January. Tickets cost £20 and include a meat and cheese platter. For more information, check out