Tannat

Name of varietal: Tannat

Common synonyms: Harriague, Moustrou, Moustroun, Bordeleza Belcha

Parentage of the grape: indigenous to southwest France

History of the grape: Tannat has been growing in southwest France for many centuries. The grape has the distinction of possessing the highest amounts of oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs), a.k.a. tanninns, than any other (hence the name). It’s the basis for many varietal releases and blends in Madiran and Irouleguy table wines. Its big break came in 1870 when Basque-French immigrant Pascual Harriague took Madiran vines to his new home in Uruguay, where the varietal adapted very well to the hot and humid conditions there and flourished, becoming the country’s signature grape. Because Uruguay never suffered from the Phylloxera crisis that otherwise devastated Europe and other countries, descendants of the original cuttings first brought there still exist, and grapes from these prized vines are known as “Harriague.”

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