A Uruguayan winery that has created a unique wine from the Tannat grape.
By Walter Raymond
Artesana is one of the emblematic estates of the Uruguayan wine revolution. It is located in the region of Las Brujas, 20 miles from Montevideo, in one of the best-developed wine producing areas of Uruguay.
The Artesana Winery is characterized by a small but high-quality production, based on the Tannat strain, supplemented by Merlot and with the novelty of being the only Zinfandel plantation in the region. The strain was imported from California, United States.
About Artesana and Tannat
The Tannat strain is native to the region of Madiran, France, and was brought to Uruguay by a French Basque immigrant in 1870.
Perhaps the secret of the Artesana wines lies in the hands and wisdom of Analia Lazaneo and Valentina Gatti, two expert oenologists with a profound knowledge of the area and its terroirs. They chose the place because it was the most favorable in the region for Tannat, achieving wines that are smoother than those produced in France.
The region of Las Brujas in Canelones, Uruguay, has a particular microclimate influenced by the Atlantic breezes, with a perfect soil composition and pH levels—enhanced by an average of 220 days of intense sunlight.
The Tannat strain is named for its high tannin content and has proven to be one of the healthiest red wines, incorporating 3 to 4 times more antioxidants than others and a higher concentration of resveratrol average (4.2%).
The nature of the wine
Once the terroir was chosen, the clones were selected and brought from France to be planted in 13 parcels of about 1.5 acres (half a hectare) each, with a density of 1,660 vines per acre: 50% corresponds to the Tannat, 35% to Merlot, and the remaining 15% to the innovative Zinfandel from California.
The cultivation practices are geared towards a soil and grape-friendly production. The work of thinning and leaf plucking produces a cluster for every sprout, thus achieving a high-quality production.
The harvest takes place in March, and the grapes are picked early in the morning according to their degree of optimum maturity. The selected clusters must overcome a second and rigorous selection by expert winemakers before entering the production circuit.
The output of each plot is processed and fermented separately at a temperature of 72-75º F in small stainless steel tanks for 15 to 20 days. Then the wine will mature in barrels of French and American oak at a stable temperature for 12 to 18 months. Finally, the wines are bottled unfiltered and aged for 6 to 8 additional months.
“To create something different, the grapes are harvested when they are ripe as if they were to be used to produce a red wine, but we apply the white wine process," says oenologist Analia Lazaneo about the new creation of Artesana, a pink Tannat.
Analia Lazaneo and Valentina Gatti
"Our rosé is made of a ripe grape, not harvested before it time so that it will have higher acidity or alcohol; the maceration process lasts ten hours and then it is transferred to barrels to ferment. The result is a dry and intense rosé wine with 14.5% alcohol, the characteristic aromas of a pink vintage because it was fermented cold, but on the palate it feels like a red wine", she concludes. ■
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