Brothers Alejandro and Juan Andrés Marichal make the wine at their family-owned, Marichal winery located at Etchevarría in the province of Canelones, just north of Montevideo (see map below). All their wines come from estate grapes grown on calcareous-clay soils, a mild climate and cool southern Atlantic breezes. Global Vineyard Importers recently sent us the new Marichal releases of Tannat, which we review below. We reviewed other bottlings of Marichal last year.
Most Tannat wines we know come from the Madiran region of southwest France and its famous for its robust tannic structure. In Uruguay it has an entirely different, and softer, expression. Its story is not that dissimilar from Argentina’s Malbec, a variety that does better in the New World than the Old World.
The Marichal Tannat wines are well made. They show freshness and balance and are reasonably priced. The Marichal Tannat Grand Reserve “A” is the winery’s first release of this ultra-premium bottling; it’s a very promising beginning.
Importer: Global Vineyard Importers, Berkeley CA
Marichal 2013 Tannat Premium Varietal Canelones ($16) 87 This unoaked Tannat is freshly aromatic with a note of forest floor. It shows a bright, fresh dark berry character on the attack with brisk acidity and earth notes on the finish. Not a very complicated wine—just fresh, easy drinking!
Marichal Tannat 2011 Reserve Collection Canelones ($20) 89 The Tannat Reserve is quite a step up from the regular Tannat bottling. It offers a spicy perfumed nose and a balanced, somewhat earthy, medium weight palate of black raspberry and spice notes. Of special note is the wine’s silky texture. About 70% of the wine is aged in oak for 12 months.
Marichal 2011 Pinot Noir/Tannat Reserve Collection Canelones ($20) 90 This wine has a very interesting blend that is surprisingly successful. It’s a mix of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Tannat with about two-thirds of the wine aged in oak for 10 months. It reveals a pleasant red fruited bouquet and good richness of plum and dark cherry on a beautifully balanced palate, finishing with firm tannins. Excellent value!
Marichal 2011 Tannat Grand Reserve “A” Canelones ($65) 91 The Grand Reserve is riper and denser than the other Marichal Tannats. It has an unctuous, dried fruit character not unlike Amarone. This ultra-premium 100% Tannat is richly flavored with dried fruit and baking spice notes complementing fresh dark fruit, finishing firm and dry with a lingering mocha accent. It obviously easily soaks up oak as this wine spent 18 months in new oak, yet shows little in terms of barrel flavors.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler