Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pisano Rio de los Pajaros Cabarnet Sauvignon Reserve (2009)

When one thinks of wine producing countries in the New World, thoughts immediately turn first to the United States, and then to Argentina and Chile. The real challenge is to reach beyond these three countries and name another country where there is a wine producing industry.  The answer ... at least one other country ... is Uruguay.

People have been cultivating grapevines in Uruguay for more than 250 years, although commercial production of wines has been taking place for less than 100 years.  The quintessential Uruguayan grape is Tannat, which was originally grown in southwestern France.  The grape made its way to Uruguay with Basque immigrants in the 19th century.  Tannat is not the only grape grown in Uruguay.  Vineyards also produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.  

Recently, I purchased a bottle of the Pisano Rio de Los Pajaros Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (2009).   According to the label, Pisano belongs to a small group of family vignerons who produce wines that are in line with the character of the land and the people.  Pisano began producing wines in 1870 when the Pisano family settled in Uruguay.  

The Pisano Rio de los Pajaros Cabarnet Sauvignon pours a dark cherry red.  The aromatic elements of this Cabernet Sauvignon include ripe cherries and strawberries.  The winemaker suggests there are aromas of nuts, hazelnuts and green pepper.  Although I do not sense the nuts or hazelnuts, I could smell some hint of green pepper or black pepper.  There is also a hint of minerality in the aroma.  

The taste of the wine is full of strawberries.  Yet, this rather light, fruity taste stood in stark contrast with the body of the wine.  The Rio de los Pajaros has a medium body and, with each sip, the wine grips the edges of the tongue with its astringency and tannins.  The fruity tastes of the strawberries quickly give way to a dry finish.   For me, these qualities -- the astringency and tannins -- are something that I expect more from a Zinfandel than a Cabernet Sauvignon. 

When it comes to food pairing, the winemaker suggests pasta with cream store, blood sausages and hard pork sausages.  Also, rabbit, duck and other small game.  The winemaker further suggests cheeses like brie, Camembert, Roquefort, and hard cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano.  As for me, I paired it with the national dish of Uruguay, Chivitos al Pan.

I found this wine at a local wine store that has a large selection of international wines.  Otherwise, it may be difficult to find, because I do not think that Uruguayan wines are not widely distributed in this area.  


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