Tannat – The Wine You Need to Experience

  • Tannat is a rather obscure red wine grape gaining popularity
  • Tannat has robust tannins and flavors
  • The Vintage Wine Tasters blind tasted six Tannat wines from the areas of France, Uruguay, and California
Tannat wine grape

Tannat is Uruguay’s top wine grape

About Tannat

Move over Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, and Zinfandel in the big-boy wine category. Tannat is on the rise and finding its way in wine shops all around us. Most likely, you have not tried a Tannat wine, but if you like reds with “oomph,” Tannat is the wine to experience. Tannat is derived from the word Tannin. Tannat’s thick skin and its number of seeds equal a robust wine with high tannins. Tannat grows in many locations around the world, but Uruguay and South West France in the Madiran AOC are the two most significant growing areas. California vintners are also interested in the Tannat grape. Tablas Creek, Rockwall, and Sobon are among the notable California wineries producing a Tannat wine. Paso Robles and Lodi seem to be the wine regions most interested in growing Tannat.

Tasting Tannat

Vintage Wine Taster Mike set out to discover Tannat wines and host a blind tasting for our group. He selected six wines priced in the bargain category. The wines were given ample aeration and breathing time. Mike purchased three bottles at KL Wines in Redwood City and three bottles at Total Wines BridgePointe Shopping Center in San Mateo. Following the tasting, Mike provided us with a delicious spicy chicken dish.

Here are the wines we blind tasted and they are listed in the order we scored them.

  1. 2016 Sobon Estate Rezerve Lodi – $22  Total Wines
  2. 2012 Chateau Bouscasse Estate Madiran – $18.99 KL Wines
  3. 2013 Chateau Peyros V.V. Madiran – $16.99 KL Wines
  4. 2015 Garzon Reserve Uruguay – $17.99 KL Wines
  5. 2015 Pisaro Reserve Personal de la Familia Uruguay – $19.99 Total Wines
  6. 2015 Pisaro Rio de las Pajaros Uruguay – $16.99 – Total Wines
Tannat wines

Six beautiful Tannat wines

Sobon is one of our favorite wineries in the Shenandoah Valley in Amador County. We have visited there many times. The Sobon Zinfandel wines and other varieties are outstanding values. The Sobon Tannat is sourced from vineyards in Lodi. Blended with the Tannat is 10% Petit Sirah. The Sobon Tannat alcohol is 15%, higher than the other Tannats we tasted. The Sobon Tannat has a big aroma, complex flavors, and is robust. As big as the wine is, it is not overripe or raisiny. It is just plain delicious. The $22 price of the Sobon Tannat at Total Wines can be discounted by using one of many coupons that Total Wines offers. I just received one in the mail for $10 off a wine purchase of $50 or more.

The Chateau Bouscasse is 60% Tannat with the rest Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. From time to time, Costco will carry the Chateau Bouscasse for $16.99. The Bouscasse is well balanced, and with lighter tannins than the Sobon. The Wine Enthusiast rated the Bouscasse 94 Points and suggests that it be put away until 2022. I don’t think I can wait that long.

More on Tannat

Food matching with Tannat is easy. Try foods with fats, especially pork ribs or a juicy ribeye. How about fresh sausage on the grill, with onions and melted cheese? Some suggest duck or beef Wellington. Sobon’s winemaker thinks it is a great wine to make and drink with Coq Au Vin.

Now that you know about Tannat, it is time to give the big red a try. Let us know what you think about the wild and wooly Tannat grape.

If you are interested in starting a wine tasting club, read this!


  1. Mike Beltran says:

    The Sobon was the fullest and most fruit forward of all the wines. The color of each was like Petite Syrah so dark !! Well worth the effort and change of pace for those who like their wines rich and extracted but not over the top.

  2. Roy Zimmermann says:

    Tannat is a marvelous varietal. Heringer Estates in Clarksburg makes an excellent tannat, as well as several other well made highly tannic wines, petit verdot, petite sirah, and teroldego. Rousseau Winery in Napa makes outstanding tannat, but much pricier.

    • Thanks, Roy. I will look for the Heringer Tannat. I have been to the Heringer winery in Yolo County. A former student of mine worked there at the time. Very nice wines!

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