Unless you've spent a long time studying wine, you may not even have heard of the grape called tannat. It comes from southwest France, and it's most popular in, of all places, Uruguay. But the tannats coming out of Argentina - particularly Salta in the north - are nothing like their acrid, Uruguayan cousins.
Tannat has a long history in Argentina, and some of the oldest and highest-altitude vines in Salta are tannat. As its name suggests, tannat can have a stronger concentration of tannins than other reds. It's known mostly as a blending grape, a role it often takes in Cahors, which is appropriately the epicenter of malbec in France.
Malbec-tannat is a popular blend in Uruguay, but the astringency of Uruguayan grapes can be offputting for unaccustomed drinkers. Fortunately, it's not a problem in the Argentine strains. In fact, Argentine tannat varietals are among the juiciest wines we've tasted.
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