Uruguay’s wine production is small yet magnificent. Here’s twenty of the very best Uruguayan wines from “The Guru’Guay Guide to Uruguay: Beaches, Ranches & Wine Country“.

1. Los Nadies Ímpetu 2011

Manuel Filgueira made just 300 bottles of this exceptional wine. Aged in oak for three years, give it your undivided attention and savour a work of art.

2. Los Cerros de San Juan Mil Botellas Pentavarietal 2013

Produced by Uruguay’s oldest winery, this is one of Uruguay’s best reds with an unrivalled quality-price ratio. Aged in oak for two years and then in the bottle for a further twelve months.

3. Los Nadies Equilibrio Tannat Merlot 2011

Only a totally obsessive wine-maker—capable of binning an entire harvest if it’s not up to his expectations—makes wines of this calibre and purity of expression.

4. Estancia La Cruz Jano Tannat

This wine made by Estela de Frutos, one of Uruguay’s foremost wine-makers, is tantamount to sampling a piece of Uruguayan wine-making history. Made from grapes grown on vines that are more than 85 years old, it has subtle tannins and delicate aromas and is a unique experience.

5. Cerro Chapeu 1752 Petit Manseng-Sauvignon Gris

Simply the best white wine in Uruguay. It’s elegant and unforgettable. You’ll want to keep this to drink in the future.

6. Carrau Amat Tannat 2011

One of Uruguay’s most emblematic Tannats with berry, leather and oak aromas. Beautifully balanced and elegant and will age superbly.

7. Alto de la Ballena Cetus Cuvée 2011

The purest expression of the Maldonado terroir. A delicate, profound and complex blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.

8. Los Nadies Gwürztraminer-Chardonnay 2009

A rare species—a very complex white. Don’t miss the the magnificent aromas of linden flower (tilo in Spanish) and honey.

9. Antigua Bodega Stagnari Osiris Merlot 2007

Uruguay produces really excellent Merlot. This delicate version has a heady bouquet of cassis and chocolate.

10. Giménez Méndez Tannat Premium

What a typical Tannat should taste like. Packs a punch on the palate, with very clean tannins.

11. Garzón Albariño Reserva

A giant expression of this white thanks to the mineral-packed soils of Maldonado.

12. Alto de la Ballena Tannat-Viognier

A French-style blend aged in the barrel for nine months. Experience the potency of the Tannat and the subtle aromas of the Viognier.

13. Pizzorno Select Blend

A complex Tannat-based blend with a nose of ripe blackberries and a certain elegance thanks to its time in the barrel.

14. Pizzorno Don Prospero Sauvignon Blanc

Perhaps the best example of a Uruguayan Sauvignon. Very fresh with a citrus nose.

15. Viña Edén Chardonnay

Incredible minerality and complexity. Perhaps somewhat overpriced but a fine example of a Uruguayan white wine.

16. Pisano RPF Tannat

Perfect for lovers of big personality wines. Enjoy with beef.

17. Viñedo de los Vientos Anarkía Tannat

A winery that’s always breaking the play-book. Here Pablo Fallabrino cuts out pesticides and sulfites, to produce an almost organic version of the Uruguay classic. Ideal with roast beef, lamb or game. Found on the wine list of The Fat Duck, one of the UK’s five Michelin three-star restaurants and amazingly only costs about 10 USD here in Uruguay.

18. Artesana Tannat Rosé

Wonderfully versatile. Pair with fish, beef and pasta.

19. Los Cerros de San Juan Cuna de Piedra Tannat

A great Tannat for under ten dollars. Fresh fruit aromas, very balanced tannins and hints of barrel ageing.

20. Giménez Méndez Alta Reserva Arinarnoa

Another lower-priced red, well-balanced and fresh with a nice structure and notes of menthol and blueberries.

Note: Vintage is only included when climatic conditions were decisive in the production of a really exceptional version of a particular wine.

Guru’Guay thanks sommelier Liber Pisciottano and Nicolas Cappellini, both of the Montevideo Wine Experience for taking up the gauntlet we slapped them with to select Uruguay’s twenty best wines. Not only did they take up the challenge, but they ranked their choices. Brave men.

Read more about wines in Uruguay

Photo: Guru’Guay with Indrasish Banerjee