Uruguay: The Next Big Thing

Yesterday, I returned home from an absolutely phenomenal week in Uruguay. The trip was sponsored by Wines of Uruguay, and afforded me the opportunity to experience one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine-producing countries in the world.

This was the perfect time to explore it: While Argentina and Chile receive most of South America’s press and consumer wine attention, Uruguay has tended to skate below the radar. So traveling there right now--at the moment right before the wines of Uruguay garner the full attention and widespread respect they so richly deserve--provided the irreplaceable opportunity to better understand not just the wines themselves, but also the most important regions, the philosophies underpinning the work of a huge range of producers, the trends shaping the Uruguayan wine industry right now, and the context within which they’re produced. It also was a chance to visit an utterly breathtaking country that should be on everyone’s short list of travel destinations.

I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, but right now I will say this: Uruguay is a country whose wine industry is one to watch very closely, as it is set to burst onto the international scene in a big way. I promise you’ll be seeing and hearing infinitely more from it, drinking its wines on a regular basis--the flagship Tannat grape, fabulous expressions of international red and white varieties, aromatic and semi-aromatic whites, Champagne-method sparklers, and more--and wondering why you waited so long to do so.

All we can do now is wait for more importers to start bringing these wonderful wines into the United States. We all will benefit tremendously when they do.

[Photos, from top to bottom: Colinas de Garzón, Tannat at Familia Irurtia, vintage 2013 developing on the vine, after our tasting at Narbona, legendary Uruguayan meats, and sunset at Punta del Este.]