To celebrate Tannat Day 2022, we’ve put together a list of 23 facts about Tannat. A French red wine varietal that you may be more likely to find in Uruguay than in France, read on to find out everything you need to know about Tannat.
- Tannat vines and grapes
Tannat is a red wine grape with blue-black skinned berries.
- The vines have white buds with pink edges. The vines have heart-shaped leaves which are fluffy and tanned in their youth but 5 lobed and very dark green in maturity.
- Tannat is a late maturing grape varietal which produces heavy, compact, grape bunches that are both high in sugar and in tannins.
- Tannat wines
Typically, these wines have aromas of red fruits such as raspberry, blackcurrant and blackberry. Tannat wines also have aromas of tobacco, cinnamon and exotic wood.
- Health benefits
It is considered the world’s healthiest wine given it has 3 times more reservatrol (the antioxidant with heart benefits) than even Bordeaux wines.
- Cotoïdes wine family
Tannat belongs to the cotoïdes wine family, one of six families to which South-Western France’s grape varieties are traced.
- Cotoïdes also called “Cot” includes the following varietals: Valdiguié, Cot (a.k.a. Malbec or Auxerrois), Négrette, Mérille, Prunelard B and Prunelard N grape varieties. It is also found further south-west with Tannat, Lauzet and Manseng Noir.
- What’s in a name?
The term tannat comes from the langue d’oc tanat, from tan, tannin, i.e. “tanned”, which can be explained either by its richness in tannin, or by the purplish colour of the berries, or by the swarthy appearance of the foliage.
- It is also known by the following names:
- Bordelais Noir,
- Tannat Gris,
- Tannat Noir,
- Tannat Noir Femelle,
- Tannat Noir Male (France),
- Bordelez Beltza (Spain), and
- Harriague (Uruguay).
- Despite the name containing the word Tannat, Tannat Noir (a synonym for Syrah) is not the same as Tannat.
- Tannat was also grafted with cabernet sauvignon in the 50s to produce two rarely seeen wine grapes: Arinarnoa and Ekigaina.
- Tannat in France
Tannat is thought to have originated in Béarn and has been present in the South-West of France since the Romans or perhaps even before.
- Today, Tannat is grown in all the vineyards south of the Garonne in France. It is principally found in: Madiran, Cahors, Floc de Gascogne, Brulhois, Irouléguy, Tursan, and Saint-Mont.
- There are over 3,000 ha of Tannat in France.
- Two French AOCs contain a majority of Tannat. The better known Madiran requires at least 60% Tannat and Saint Mont requires 70% at a minimum.
- It is also used in blends where it is combined with iron-servadou to obtain a fruitier taste or with cabernet sauvignon to be more rounded. The addition of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon soften the wines.
- Tannat in Australia
Jancis Robinson says that Symphonia Fine Wines, a small family winery in Victoria’s cool-climate region King Valley, may have been the first Australian winery to release a Tannat wine.
- Tannat in Uruguay
Basque settler, Pascual Harraigue, first planted Tannat in Uruguay’s Salto region in 1871.
- For a long time, the grape and its wines were actually known as Harraigue in Uruguay.
- In Uruguay, Tannat makes up over a ¼ of all wine grape plantings and is considered the national grape.
- Tannat Day
The day is actually a celebration created by Uruguay who chose 14th April as it was the day that Pascual Harraigue died.
- Tannat around the world
Apart from Uruguay, France and Australia that we’ve mentioned above, the grape (and its wines) is also found in Argentina, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, and in the United States, particularly in California, Oregon and Arizona.
What’s your favourite Tannat? Happy Tannat Day 2022! Which Tannat or Tannat blend will you celebrate Tannat Day 2022 with?
Want to know about other French wine varietals?
You may also like our other articles about French wine varietals:
19 facts about Riesling for International Riesling Day 2022
A year in wine: French wine varietal days of 2021
Cabernet Franc Day 2021: facts and recommendations
Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021: 15 things you didn’t know about Cabernet Sauvignon
International Chardonnay Day 2021: the grape, the wines and which ones to drink
Happy Pinot Grigio Day – a look at the French wine Pinot Gris
International Syrah Day: discover the wine and some recommendations
Malbec World Day: everything you need to know and drink
Merlot Day 2021: 17 things you didn’t know about Merlot
ChampagneDay 2021: how well do you know champagne? Plus champagne recommendations
International Rosé Day 2021: 11 things you may not know about rosé
I have grown Tannat in my vineyard in the Hunter in Australia since 2001
It produces big rich wines, 100% Tannat, which cellar for many years.
I cellar the wines well and they never get above 19 degrees C
The 2007 is excellent and they will live for many years.
The wine is admired by a number of experts, was given a high score by Huon Hooke, a Sydney wine writer.