Uruguay, officially called “República Oriental del Uruguay”, is a small country located in the southeastern part of South America. Most of its population of approximately 3.3 millions reside in Montevideo, the capital, and its metropolitan area in the southern part of the country. An estimated 88% of the population are of European descent.
Uruguay's only land border is with the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil to the north. To the west lies the Uruguay River going towards the southeast in the estuary of Rio de la Plata, with Argentina on the west side banks. The south Atlantic Ocean border the country to the east.
The Portuguese founded Colonia del Sacramento, one of Uruguay’s oldest European settlements, in 1680. And the Spanish founded Montevideo in the early 18th century as a military stronghold. Uruguay won its independence in 1825–1828.
Most of its economy is based on agriculture and wine production, like in most South America countries, has dramatically increased within the last 20-30 years. Uruguay's landscape features mostly rolling plains and low hill ranges (cuchillas) with a fertile coastal lowland to the east.
The climate in Uruguay is temperate: it has warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters (variable weather). The predominantly gently undulating landscape is somewhat vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts. It receives the periodic influence of the polar air in winter, and tropical air from Brazil in summer. Without mountains to act as a barrier, the air masses freely move by the territory, causing abrupt weather changes.
The Tannat vine was introduced to Uruguay by Basque settlers, credit to introducing this grape variety in this country was more especially attributed to Pascual Harriague, in the 19th century. Since then, like Malbec for Argentina and Carmenère for Chile, Tannat has found its land of predilection and slowly became the pride of Uruguay wines.
The story of the "Establecimiento Juanico" estate begun in 1755 with the settlers, in the region of Southern Uruguay of the same name. In 1979 the Deicas family purchased the estate and invested heavily in order to bring the winery into the 21st century. The winery is reckoned to be today the most technically advanced in Uruguay. The Deicas family is surely the biggest wine producer of Uruguay, considered as the flagship winery for the export market and a fine example of a growing industry for a country in full expansion.
The Juanico winery manages 240 hectares (575 acres) of its own vineyards and a little more than 150 hectares (360 acres) of grape from other producer's vineyards. These growers work throughout the year in close collaboration, and exclusively for Juanico. They work under the supervision of Juanico vineyard staff following the same procedures and employing the same techniques as those in the Juanico vineyards. This gives a transfer of vineyard skills unprecedented in Uruguay that has now been taken as a model of good vineyard management. The crazy thing is even with that much vineyards, harvest is done by hand.
The Juanico region is characterized by a maritime climate which is ideal for quality viticulture. The soils are chalk and clay with a high content of minerals. The gently rolling landscape allows for good drainage and helps to define this unique terroir. The Don Pascual line is named as a tribute to Don Pascual Harriague, who was the first to introduce the Tannat grape variety to the Uruguayan vineyards.
Fairly new, the "Pueblo del Sol" range offers great value, great quality, fun wines produced with their own label yet from "Don Pascual" selection part of the Familia Deicas "Establecimiento Juanico" estate. Pueblo del Sol is a classic entry level wine to introduce you to the excellent quality of wines from Uruguay. "Pueblo del Sol' in Spanish means "Village of the Sun". And the village of Juanico in southern Uruguay, which is the home of the Don Pascual winery, epitomizes this description. benefiting from the abundant sunshine of the 34th parallel South latitude, this little wine is quite surprising. The unique maritime climate of the Juanico region produces superb fruit. The combination of hand picking and grading with state of the art winemaking equipment produces wonderful wines that represent great value.
2008 Establecimiento Juanico Estate "Pueblo del Sol" Tannat Juanico Uruguay
Suggested retail price $10-$13
Imported/Distributed by VOS in NYC
Pueblo del Sol Tannat is a nice, easy going, fruit forward, clean wine that wasn't aged in oak. Made from 100% Tannat, the wine was fermented then rested for a short period of time before bottling in stainless steel tanks. Only the very ripest grapes are harvested and fermented at low temperatures so as to emphasize the fresh and fruity varietal aromas. On the nose, it exhibits fresh, earthy aromas of licorice and jammy fruits such as figs and plums. On the Palate, it is forward, very flavorful with smooth fruit, good balance and soft tannins. Overall, it has a rich structure with a long finish. Pair it with roasted or barbecued meat, strong cheese, game, goulash and any other well-flavored dishes.
LeDom du Vin
Info partly taken and edited from the winery website at www.juanico.com and from the importer/distributor website at www.vosselections.com
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