Uruguay is the 4th largest wine producer from South America, producing more than 90 million litres from a little more than 9000 hectares of vineyards. Famous for its reds, Uruguay has now more than 200 wineries, winning more and more medals in international competitions. We visited 3 wine producing regions in Uruguay – Montevideo, Maldonado and Carmelo. Tannat is the country’s most emblematic grape variety, followed by Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. I knew that Uruguay was not only home to great food and restaurants, but I am now convinced that they also produce some amazing wines to enjoy with it, to my great astonishment to be honest…
For the countryside, cars and wine lovers, this is a place to be in Montevideo. Not only the Bodega Bouza produce really nice wines, but they also have a tremendous number of different animals on their winery, as well as a restaurant with classic car museum which hides a collection that will leave you breathless! (I felt in love with the Alfa Romeo Spider…) More seriously, the winery is a family business and they thrive to produce a great wine on a small scale production. They have 56 hectares of vineyards planted and produce 5 different varieties: Albarino and Chardonnay for the whites and Merlot, Tempranillo and Tannat for the reds, all harvested manually. A wonderful winery visit!
Since 1999, Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife worked on their dream winery trying to build a responsible site, in which they succeded as nowadays the Bodega Garzon consumes 30% less energy than other wineries in the region thanks to solar energy and reused water from their lakes. The new winery (which has an area of 14600 m2) received the first grapes in 2010, from the 220 hectares of vineyards, mainly Tannat and Albarino thanks to their terroir, but they also grow Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Marselan, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The view at the winery’s restaurant is astonishing and Oh, BTW, their rosé was one of the wines served at Gwynett Paltrow’s wedding… Makes you wanna try it for sure, no? And their Reserve Tannat was listed #41 in the Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of the year in 2017…
Bodega Altos de la Ballena
The Bodega Altos de la Ballena is a small winery created in 2001 in Maldonado. With their 8 hectares situated in the southeast region, next to the sea and to Punta del Este, they grow Merlot, Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Viognier, and only produce a limited number of bottles in order to give the best quality wine they can. But the experience is at it’s best while tasting the wines on their “terrace” not very far from the winery, enjoying the sunset with a nice glass of their Reserva Tannat Viognier…
Situated in the western Uruguay and with a population of 18 000 people, Carmelo is a very small town with only 5 wineries. We had the chance to visit the Campotinto Winery, a Boutique Winery that produces only premium wine in the region. At first, Campotinto was only a real-estate project, where each proprietary could invest and produce it’s own wine out of the grapes available on his house's parcel. But years after years, they decided to create their own Campotinto wine and the winery got constructed in 2012. Appart from the winery itself, their restaurant will propose you a wonderful “Asado”!