N.V. Viñedos do los Vientos Tannat Alcyone Uruguay Coastal Region Atlàntida Uruguay. $27.99/500ml at Beekman in Glen Rock, New Jersey. This is an unusual dessert wine: Deep honey gold color, medium hue, very restrained aromas, but an explosion of tastes -- honey, flowers, mint, chocolate, coffee, leather, earth, remarkably complex. Long finish. No hint of Tannat -- a rich complex dessert wine that you probably should drink a couple of ounces a night. Best around 50F -- or perhaps a bit warmer to start, warming up in the hand and releasing even more complexity. 5*. Great QPR.
Here are Joel Mitchel's notes:
"A remarkable dessert wine from, of all places, Uruguay! It is made from Tannat, a rustic varietal from southwestern France (Madiran) that has found a home in Uruguay. Although Tannat usually makes intense wines featuring red fruits and tannin, solera-style aging has tamed this sweet version into a smooth, refined beauty. Uruguayan table wines are acceptable at best, but this is delicious. Think caramel and vanilla! Think yummm!"
"Alcyone a Greek demi-goddess,was the daughter of Eolo and wife of Ceyx. They were very happy together, but then Ceyx perished in a shipwreck and Alcyone in despair threw herself into the sea. Out of compassion, the gods changed her into a halcyon bird. Since Alcyone made her nest on the beach, and waves threatened to destroy it, Eolo restrained his winds and made the waves be calm during seven days, so she could lay her eggs. These became known as the "halcyon days", when storms never occur. Alcyone became the goddess of clam and tranquility. As the story ends with tranquility, so does the longsome finish of our Tannat Dessert wine. Alcyone is our grandmother´s recipe, which has been kept within the family´s secrets for decades.Today we want to share this wine with our friends from around the world.
"Our Tannat Dessert wine, it to instills a calmness with its polished tannins, radiant yet amber purple hue and its honey like texture. Touched with a bouquet of winter flowers, Madagascan vanilla bean and wild apple mint indulged with a warmth and savor of white cacao souffle. As the story ends with tranquility, so does the longsome finish of our wine."
Importer's notes: "T. Edward Wines, Ltd NY, NY:
Vinedo de los Vientos is one of Uruguay’s youngest wineries, not because it was founded just a few years ago, nor because it’s equipped with the state-of-art technology, but because of the youth of it's proprietors. Pablo Fallabrino and Ulysses L. Gonzalez are cousins with a modern vision of viticulture and an "Old World" winemaking style. Being descendents of Italian and Spanish immigrants has clearly influenced both their pioneering philosophy and Old World style.
The tiny 5000 case production is a result of nothing but highly concentrated estate fruit. The vineyard is located near the eastern coastal city of Atlantida, which is situated 4km from the Atlantic Ocean. All the planted varietals are situated in a "single lot" plantation method, which forces them into small yields and great concentration."
Trust me, folks -- this wine is a whiff! You may hate it, but it's the best ride in Uruguayan wines I've ever tasted.