Pizzorno – Take 2

2006.Feb.27 Monday · 3 comments

in Drink

Pizzorno - fine wine Tannat nearly ready for harvestingCanelón Chico – Friday morning and we set off bright and early – we had four winery visits planned for the day, and one of them was planned to include lunch; which here, of course, means sitting and chatting for at least several hours. Our first visit was to Bodegas Carlos Pizzorno in this small village north of Montevideo. I’m not going to spend a lot of time covering this winery, as I’d visited it back in August, and you can read more details about it there.

Pizzorno - the new underground cellarThings of note since that visit: 1) Ana, who manages the winery and is also a local gastroenterologist, got off to the conference I mentioned in South Africa. Her research was apparently very well received; it was, by the way, specifically about the relationship between wines made from Tannat and colon health, as that was the material she had to work with. We didn’t spend a lot of time talking about it, but I gather it was impressive enough to have some other researchers start looking into more fully funded projects, here and elsewhere. Pizzorno - sampling fermenting Sauvignon Blanc2) The winery is doing well enough to have started building a new underground cellar, tasting room, sales office combination. Work on the project is slow, but steady (though at one of our later visits another winery owner half-jokingly referred to it as “Carlos’ 110 square meter swimming pool.”). The plans look impressive, and given that six months ago they hadn’t even broken topsoil, I’d say they’re on track. 3) You can see from the photo above, quite a difference in the grapevines from the previous visit, which was basically winter time here. The tannat grapes are nearly ready for picking, and the Cabernet not far behind them. The Sauvignon blanc has already been picked and is fermenting; here, Carlos’ assistant is dipping us out some samples from the fermentation tank.

On to the tasting notes:

Don Próspero Sauvignon Blanc 2005 – white peaches, ruby red grapefruit, a touch of vanilla, good acidity and balance, quite good.
Don Próspero Tannat 2004 – this is the unoaked Tannat – smoked blackberries, if that’s possible, cinnamon, a touch of green tobacco on the finish, also quite good.
Don Próspero Tannat-Merlot 2004 – 60:40 blend, also unoaked – blackberry and black plums, cinnamon and a touch of white pepper, the flavors of the two grapes are competing a little right now, but I’d guess will integrate well with a little more time, very good.
Don Próspero Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 – red currant, tobacco, slightly high acidity, soft tannins, light touch of cloves, good, but not my favorite from the tasting.
Pizzorno Tinto Reserva 2002 – blend of 60% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot aged in a mix of new French and 1-year old American barriques – smoke, green tobacco, a melange of berry fruits, long but slightly oaky finish, definitely not integrated at this point, I’d say it needs at least another year in bottle to be drinking really well and it’ll be an excellent wine.
Pizzorno Tinto Reserva 2004 – same blend and treatment, but 2004 was a far better harvest than 2002 – licorice, smoke, intense red fruit flavors, soft tannins, lots of depth, well integrated oak, very well balanced, could be drunk now or kept to develop for several years, excellent wine!
Pizzorno Tannat Reserva 2004 – blackberry, black plum, cinnamon, a touch of coconut from the American oak, licorice on the finish – somewhat “international” in style, but the Tannat stands our sufficiently to make it a distinctive wine, really excellent – this wine won a gold medal while still a barrel sample in the major South American wine awards, plus, was selected for inclusion in the 2006 edition of the Vinalies Internationales 1000 recommended wines of the world.
Pizzorno Brut Chardonnay – with 10% Sauvignon blanc blended in – light, minerally, almost austere style sparkling wine, refreshing and with good acidity, but honestly, not a whole lot of depth, interesting, but not a personal favorite.
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