How much do you know about Uruguay? Without consulting outside sources, we could think of 4 things: it is a small country in South America dwarfed by its giant neighbors Argentina and Brazil; it frequently punches above its weight in World Cup soccer; it was the birthplace and home of the great and mercurial musician Eduardo Mateo (check him out sometime); and it is an increasingly exciting and dynamic source of interesting wine. 

     A little additional research fills in the picture a little bit. Uruguay is, in fact, the second smallest country in South America (after Suriname) by area; it hosted, and won, the inaugural World Cup in 1930; it is the birthplace of the Tango, and; shares latitude with Argentina, Chile South Africa, Australia and New Zealand - all well established stops on the global wine circuit. Uruguay also shares a general  viticulture  timeline with its continental neighbors, despite its climatic conditions being quite different. While the earliest records of winemaking come from the Spanish Jesuits in the early 18th century, the modern industry didn't really take wing until an influx of European immigrants in the 19th century. Unlike the largely arid conditions of Argentina’s and Chile’s wine regions, Uruguay has a humid coastal climate where more than 39 inches (1,000mm) of rain a year is the norm. Altitude doesn’t play any part in Uruguayan viticulture either, with most vineyards being less than 500 ft (150m) above sea level, and the highest hill in Uruguay, Cerro Catedral, only scraping 1,683ft (513m) and casting no such rain shadow as found near the Andes. Even the coastal regions of Chile, with their cool Pacific influence, are vastly different from the mild Atlantic climate of Uruguay. Weather-wise, it makes more sense to associate the country with Bordeaux or even Galicia, which is why Uruguay has sometimes been called “a piece of the Old World in The New World.” 

     But while Uruguay’s climate and topography don’t vary much across the breadth of its borders, there are apparently 99 different types of soil in the country, including some of the oldest on earth, deriving from the ancient supercontinent of Pangea. This gives local winemakers a lot to play with before we even talk about the grapes. But speaking of grapes, Uruguay has essentially cornered the market on one particular varietal; the celebrated Tannat. Tannat was first introduced into Uruguay in 1870 by Basque immigrants, becoming “the national grape”.  


The Plumpjack Team

Viña Progreso “Overground” Tannat

Region / Country of Origin

Progreso, Canelones, Uruguay

About the winemaker: Viña Progreso is a project from 4th generation winemaker Gabriel Pisano. Gabriel was born in the vineyard and his personality is that of an explorer. After studying oenology at Uruguayan Vine & Wine School, Gabriel traveled the world learning to make wine with world famous winemakers in the famed regions of Sonoma, California; Priorat, Spain; and Apalta, Chile. 

Upon his return to Uruguay, Gabriel brought with him new winemaking techniques and a love for the world’s varietals. Uruguay is famous for a varietal called Tannat, which is a bold and structured wine that pairs perfectly with the common Asado. While Gabriel loves this grape and its diversity, he is also experimenting with other varietals.


About the winemaking: Cold macerated occurs at 10º-12º Celsius in stainless steel tanks during 4-6 days to obtain fruity aromas and flavors. After pressing, settling, and racking the wine is moved to French and American oak barrels for aging and maturation. Malolactic fermentation occurs in the next 15 to 30 days. The wines are aged in second use barrels for a period of about 5 to 7 months.


Tasting Notes:  An intense purple color, the Overground Tannat has complex yet delicate aromas of mushroom and red fruits, great density in the mouth and an extra-long and robust taste of jammy wild fruits. Vanilla spice from new barrels makes for a surprisingly complex red wine with a generous and long finish.

“This well-balanced wine delivers red plus and tobacco accented but a light note of dried herbs. Silky tannins and moderate acidity provide a good structure. It’s full bodied and flavorful and has a lasting finish.” 91 Points Wine Enthusiast.

Winemaker: Gabriel Pisano

Price: $22.99 bottle/ $248.29 case

Suggested Food Pairing:

Oven roasted red meats,

Meat casseroles, 

Creole stew,

Pasta with strong sauces,

Ham and sausages,

Sharp, hard cheeses. 

Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Albariño 2022

Region / Country of Origin: 

Maldonado, Uruguay

About the Winery: When Argentine oil magnate Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife Bettina discovered Garzón, they had a family dream come true: to have the most emblematic winery of modern viticulture in Uruguay and premium wines with an intense personality and deep sense of belonging to the land. With the advice of international enologist Alberto Antonini, they apply their philosophy focused on producing wines that are a true expression of their origins. Experts on viticulture, environmental care, gastronomy, hospitality and tourism complete a team committed to this unprecedented project.

Located eleven miles from the Atlantic Ocean, their estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering its hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity, and an intense canopy management. These factors allow the vines to develop with maximum exposure to the sun providing rich, expressive fruit. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, rocky soils, granite boulders, and naturally occurring palm trees. The uniqueness of this vineyard lies in its southern orientation, assuring shelter from the intense sunlight and direct exposure to the ocean breezes.

About the winemaking: Located over natural terraces and built into the hills, the winery presents a staggering design that uses a gravity fed system to produce fine wines of the utmost quality. Their facilities maximize the use of energy resources while generating wind and photovoltaic energy. They have 3 fermentation areas and one aging area with stainless steel containers, epoxy-free concrete tanks and oak truncated cone shaped vats that allow the wines to express the character of the terroir. 8 months on the lees 100% in cement tanks.

Tasting Notes: A very elegant pale yellow this Albariño has a fresh and vibrant nose that reminds us of tropical fruit with subtle citrus and floral notes. In the mouth, we find a round and fresh body with a saline and mineral combination that provides a marked notion of terroir.

Winemaker: Alberto Antonini; winemaker

Germán Bruzzone; oenologist

$26.99  bottle / $291.49

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Cod with cockles 

Citrus prawn salad 

Traditional grilled seafood with warm mango salad and beans

Peruvian ceviche

Fresh tuna salad

Delightfully well suited to Asian food


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