Red wines made from Tannat are classically deep-hued and intense with a lush kernel of black fruit, from plums to black cherry and cassis, wrapped in plenty of tannins that can range from bold to fine-grained and supple, with decisions in the vineyard and the cellar resulting in varying styles.
Scroll down to see tasting notes & scores for 15 top Tannat wines
Balance is always the key, and some of the best recent examples of Tannat wines integrate the variety’s tannin content with natural acidity and bright fruit – as the examples below show.
You can also find Tannat being used to make rosé wines.
Producers have been working with ways to manage tannin content in the wines to ensure a harmonious balance with other elements, according to the region’s wine body.
Lauded wine producer Alain Brumont is known for pioneering a new wave of pure Tannat wines in Madiran, launching his Château Montus Prestige in 1985.
Yohan Castaing tasted several vintages at a Montus and La Tyre vertical in 2022, including the 2000.
‘A gorgeously fleshy mouthfeel, brimming with energy, lengthening a finish that consolidates its profound substance but also reveals surprising subtlety and delicacy. This vintage joins the ranks of the great ones,’ Castaing wrote.
It’s possible to make lighter styles of Tannat varietal wines, too. This cooperative-made Madiran is 90% Tannat and shows a ‘lighter touch’ with supple tannins yet opulent fruit, according to Decanter’s Stephen Brook.
This Plaimont, Château de Crouseilles wine is 100% Tannat. It’s ‘robust, brooding and tannic enough to pair well with full-flavoured meat dishes, but has plenty of ripe dark fruit to balance the power’, said Decanter’s Amy Wislocki.
Beyond France, this Lake Anna Winery Tannat from Virginia in the US shows ‘dense bittersweet figs and prunes backed by fresher juicy berries and bold tannins’, wrote Jason Tesauro.
Tannat wines in Uruguay: Is this a new ‘Malbec’ story?
However, Uruguay is the country most making a name for itself with fascinating styles of Tannat.
Jane Anson wrote in 2017 that Uruguay was the only country to have taken in Tannat as its national grape, a move that inevitably invites comparisons with how Argentina reimagined Malbec.
‘Estates like Bodega Garzon – located in a coastal village of the same name, close to Punta del Este by coincidence – have produced a more contemporary-styled version that is helping to smooth Tannat’s image of rustic, hard tannins in international markets,’ Anson wrote.
Tim Atkin MW marvelled at Uruguay’s ‘great ascent’ in this article in 2020.
And he cited a ‘world-class’ example of Tannat from Bouza winery in Montevideo in his article on 30 great South American red blends, too.
His tasting note praised the wine’s ‘top notes of violet, sweet spices and cut grass [with a] palate of cassis, plum, strawberry [and] nuanced tannins’.
You’ll also find the grape variety in some other parts of the wine world.
This Shelton Vineyards Tannat from Carolina in the US stood out for its ‘density, expressive black cherry fruit, a touch of oak and herbaceous notes all captivated by chewy tannins and wrapped in a balanced, persistent finish’, noted Stacy Slinkard.