6 Uruguayan wines you MUST try

Pinot Noir by Heather Katsoulis. best uruguayan wineIn a recent interview, Argentinian wine expert, Claudio Angelotti, listed his favourite Uruguayan wines.

As the original interview was in Spanish, Guru’guay brings you the most salient recommendations on some of Uruguay’s best wines.

Outstanding reds

Uruguay has become famous for its signature Tannat varietal however Claudio comments that Uruguay’s coastal vineyards are producing great Pinot Noir, Merlot and Marselan. He recommends trying the:

  • Pinot Noir – “light, aromatic”
  • Merlot – “robust”
  • Marselan – “rounded, elegant”
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc, a variety previously shunned now back in favour
  • Malbec produced by two vineyards, Giménez Méndez and Carrau.

As Uruguayans are mainly descended from Europeans, most vineyard owners grow varieties from their ancestoral lands. Hence look out for lesser-known reds like:

  • Arinarnoa
  • Caladoc
  • Sangiovese and
  • Trebbiano.

What’s remarkable is the number of varieties of red in Uruguay in proportion to the terrain under production. — Claudio Angelotti, Bodegas del Uruguay

Quality whites and sparkling wines

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Albariño produced in Canelones and Maldonado – “exquisite”
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Gris
  • Viognier and
  • Gewürztraminer.

Sparkling wine is becoming more and more popular world-wide. Uruguayan sparkling wines are produced in very small quantities using methods developed in Champagne. Claudio’s recommendation is Varela Zarranz Brut Nature by Viña Varela Zarranz.

Six Uruguayan wines you must try

So getting down to brass tacks, if we have to pick a handful, what are the unmissable wines according to Claudio?

  • Bouza Albariño – by Bouza Bodega Boutique (white)

  • Carlos Montes Cabernet Sauvignon-Tannat – by Montes Toscanini (red)

  • Alto de la Ballena Reserva Tannat-Viognier – by Alto de la Ballena (red)

  • Artesana Tannat-Zinfandel-Merlot Reserva – by Artesana (red)

  • Marichal Reserve Collection Pinot Noir blanc de noir Chardonnay – by Marichal (rosé)

  • Varela Zarranz Brut Nature – by Viña Varela Zarranz (sparkling)

For more wine recommendations, including Montevideo restaurants with great wine cellars, where to buy wine in the city and more, buy The Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo

This article is based on an interview with Claudio Angelotti, director of Bodegas del Uruguay in Vinos y Bodegas iProfesional. Many thanks to both for their permission to republish their knowledge.

 Photo: Heather Katsoulis

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