2017 Tannat by William + Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill Country

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Tannat (Hye Estate) by William + Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill Country.

Dark intense ruby color. Out of the bottle, nose is slightly restrained. This is a Tannat and as expected, that signature dry dark plum greets. This is followed closely by ripe blackberries. In the back, a buttery almost shortcake lingers interspersed with a smokey wood essence. First thing that comes to mind is “Texas Brisket!”. It’s a bit haunting in its expression. Swirling vigorously unleashes a veritable symphony of notes. Ripe dark cherries, more blackberries, a bold thick leathery essence, red vines licorice and dirt. … Oh Boy! The nose on this is AMAZING!!!

A creamy, slightly weighted viscous body greets the palate immediately. Little of the fruit carries forward other than some blackberry and black currants. A subtle bitter cola permeates. For a Tannat, it appears mild mannered at first blush. But as it breathes, dark, bold, dusty tannins start to dominate every aspect of the experience, providing a firm but loosely bound granular structure. Leather plays second fiddle. Finish?? I have no idea. Let’s ask the incessant, massive, dry, dusty tannic grip holding my parched lips shut. This is the show you came to see and you’d be foolhardy to expect anything else.

You don’t drink this wine. It drinks you. If you’re lucky, it won’t spit you out. This wine has so many years, perhaps even decades of vibrant life ahead of it. For as young as it is, it is very expressive and rich. I keep wondering what this Tannat would look like 10 years from now. This is a Gem. Get it now and forget about it. I’ll be expecting an invitation. To Chris and the entire crew at William Chris, nicely done folks!

My good friend and fellow Texan WineSnob, Jenn brought me a bottle of their Tempranillo this summer. Check out her guest review on WineSnob. After reviewing the William Chris Tempranillo on here I knew I absolutely had to visit this winemaker. not long after I was on my way to Austin, TX to explore wine country with Jenn. Our visit to William Chris did not disappoint. It exceeded my wildest expectations. The warmth, hospitality and shared enthusiasm for the art form, legacy, terroir and pride in craftsmanship was refreshing. We spent our entire day at the winery. I couldn’t have hoped for a better host than our Sommelier Francisco. He was a veritable wellspring of knowledge not just about the wines but the estate, winery, vineyards, their long history and the region at large. Oh, and the Charcuterie was to die for! Stay tuned for a WineSnob TV segment on my visit.

Explore more William + Chris wines on WineSnob.

WineSnob Calendar: International Tannat Day

Tonight we celebrate International Tannat Day – April 13th. I wasn’t tracking this date on my calendar so it kind of snuck up on me. I went back into the cellar and couldn’t find any Tannat to review for you tonight. So my last resort was to look through my archives and notes for any Tannat I have looked at before and I found two I had not yet posted. They are both by the same winemaker, Pisano from Uruguay. This was my first time exploring wines from this part of the world and I was thoroughly impressed. I did go back and buy more of the Reserva for long term review, however I must have opened it at some point. I guess it was too good to resist…LOL.

2015 Tannat Reserva

2015 Tannat Reserva Personal de la Familia, by Pisano from Uruguay. Unlike the last Tannat I opened from the same winery, this one is built big and strong. It is clearly made for the long haul. Laying this down for a while won’t hurt it. It reads like a classic Barolo or big Barbaresco with deep inky rich colors. The nose is prominent with dirt, and a hint of oak and berry. The nose quickly fades, giving way to a big body of notable acidity. Once opened up the finish turns buttery with lasting spice and tannin. Tannat is an interesting varietal. I only became aware of it mere weeks ago. Like Cab Franc, it is rare to find a single varietal Tannat. It takes personal passion to commit to it. love it! Go Uruguay!!! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΎπŸ˜πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·

2017 Tannat

2017 Tannat, Pisano, Rio De Los Pajaros, Uruguay. This one came as an interesting suggestion by my winesnob friend Nikki. We’ve been talking a lot about obscure varietals lately. She had been sampling this one and suggested I take a look at Tannat and what folks were doing with it. You know I still can’t get past the fact that I am enjoying a wine from Uruguay. It’s amazing! I’m tasting an honest wine. It’s well made. I cannot fault it. If this is representative of the varietal and the region, then I fully intend to explore it further. We are really living in the the Golden Age of wine, viticulture and oenology. It’s fascinating. There is so much good wine everywhere and it is so accessible. I feel very fortunate. This one has a nose of caramel and oak, balanced medium body and tannic finish. This varietal reminds me of others like Cab Frank, Touriga and Aglianico. They are not particularly complex but what they do, they do exceedingly well. I love it! Go Uruguay!!! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΎπŸ˜πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·