Yes, it has surprised a lot of people –including my more sceptical Uruguayan friends– but Financial Times wine expert Jancis Robinson in her Autumn Collection 2013 review which ranks 2000 wines worldwide, gave several Uruguayan white and red wines HIGHER ratings to those produced by their more well-known wine-producing cousin.
It’s not the first time the British wine-commentator has championed Uruguayan wines. As have other connoisseurs.
Jonathan Ray, wine columnist for The Telegraph (UK), chose the Bouza Tannat 2006 among his Ten best Latin American wines in 2009.
Today columnist and James Beard Award winner, Edward Deitch, in January 2014, reported “the wines of Uruguay are poised to become the next big thing from South America“.
In her 2013 review, Robinson and her team reviewed wines from three Uruguayan vineyards and complimented “Uruguay’s hallmark freshness”.
So which Uruguayan wines should I be checking out?
The top Uruguayan white wine was Bouza’s Albariño 2012 with 17 points (“superior”) outscored the best scored Argentinian white by half a point.
Two Uruguayan reds – Bouza Monte Vide Eu 2011 and the Familia Deicas 1er Cru d’Exception Tannat 2004 – tied for top ranking scoring 17.5, outclassing the top-scoring Argentine reds from Mendoza.
Juanicó (the name of the vineyard run by the Deicas family) and Bodega Bouza lie 38 km and 13 km respectively outside of Montevideo. Garzón is a new vineyard close to Punta del Este 120 km along the coast.
Bouza (pronounced BOW-zah, bow as in bow-tie) produced two of the three whites and four of the reds mentioned. Familia Deicas (pronounced DAY-cus) produced six of the eleven selected reds.
Outstanding Uruguayan wines by Team Jancis Robinson
- 17 Bouza Albariño 2012 (Montevideo)
- 16.5 Bouza Cocó 2011 (Las Violetas, Canelones and Montevideo) (in Robinson’s listing it is erroneously includes amongst the reds)
- 15.5 Garzón Albariño 2012 (Maldonado)
- 17.5 Bouza Monte Vide Eu 2011 (Montevideo)
- 17.5 Familia Deicas 1er Cru d’Exception Tannat 2004 (Canelones)
- 17+ Familia Deicas Massimo Deicas Tannat 2008 (Canelones)
- 17 Bouza B9 Merlot 2011 (Las Violetas, Canelones)
- 17 Familia Deicas Preludio Barrel Select Lote N° 50 1999 (Canelones)
- 17- Familia Deicas Preludio Barrel Select Lote N° 92 2009 (Canelones)
- 16.5 Bouza B15 Tempranillo 2011 (Las Violetas, Canelones)
- 16.5 Bouza B6 Tannat 2011 (Las Violetas, Canelones)
- 16.5 Familia Deicas Atlántico Sur Selección Especial Tannat 2011 (Maldonado)
- 16 Familia Deicas Atlántico Sur Selección Especial Marselán 2013 (Maldonado)
- 15.5 Garzón Tannat 2011 (Maldonado)
A trip to Bouza takes just 15 minutes by car from downtown Montevideo. We are currently looking at planning a visit to Juanicó and will report back.
Read about Uruguay’s Artestana Winery, part US-owned, totally run by women
Many thanks to Claudio Angelotti and Viviana del Rio at Bodegas del Uruguay for their original article in Spanish from which much of this information is translated.
Photo courtesty of Andrew Taylor thanks to Creative Commons licencing and his generosity.
Tannat Don Odelio, de Bodega Ariano. Muy bueno, y barato.
Update: Atlantico Sur by Familia Deicas, Tannat. Great wine under $20.