Tannat is such a tannic grape that Cabernet Sauvignon can be added to soften it! Originating in Basque country it became a leading component in the powerful, tar-black wines of Madiran in France’s South West. Basque settlers also took an old, slightly silkier clone to Uruguay where Tannat became the national grape, sparking plantings across much of North and South America. Packed with spicy black fruit flavours, the joys and hazards of astringent tannins have forced many accommodations, such as excessive oak aging and the controversial technique micro-oxidation, now over-used to soften already approachable wines but first invented in Madiran to tackle the genuinely formidable Tannat grape.
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