Dark as ink, good for the heart
Formerly, Tannat was almost a test of courage: no variety has more tannin. Its wines needed ten years before they showed any signs of drinkable maturity at all. The home of this idiosyncratic grape is Madiran, in southwestern France, at the foot of the Pyrenees. However, modern vintners have been able to tame the Tannat, thanks to modern wine production techniques. But the wines are still as dark as ink today – muscular, with plenty of bitter tannins and concise acidity. They smell of blackberries, cassis and tobacco, and with maturity of game and hide. A few hours in the decanter do such striking characters some good – then there's no better partner for meaty flesh. If you prefer it softer, reach for Tannat from Uruguay. The vine was settled there in the 19th century. No other variety contains more health-enhancing polyphenols than the Tannat. The age statistics of its home region in France prove it: twice as many people here reach 90 years of age than the national average.