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Bodega Garzón is a family-owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.
Tannat is a black grape found in Uruguay, that originates from Madiran in the South-west of France. It is naturally high in tannins due to its thick skin and results in wines tasting dark chocolate, tobacco, elderberries and dark fruit.
Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders.
A relatively mild winter brought forward bud break by about two weeks. There were average levels of rainfall in spring and early summer, however the drought which followed in January caused a severe water shortage. Therefore the viticultural team used drip irrigation, thus ensuring perfect maturation in the grapes. Despite the water shortage and subsequent irrigation measures, veraison was uniform. Optimum ripening was also aided by the cooler nights which are becoming more common in the region. The wines from this vintage, with its early start and generally favourable climatic conditions, are elegant and fruit forward.
The hand-harvested grapes were macerated on their skins for five days before fermentation in large 150 hectolitre cement tanks at 26-28ºC for one week with twice daily pump overs. The wine was then aged on lees for 6-12 months in a combination of second-use French 225 litre oak barrels and 25 hectolitre casks. The oak used was a mixture of untoasted and lightly-toasted wood.