2019 Gossamer Cellars Tannat
Background on the Tannat Grape Varietal
Tannat is a thick-skinned grape (blue to black in color) which produces deep, colored, big, bold and tannic wines. Interestingly, Tannat has some of the highest levels of polyphenols (antioxidants) of all red wines save for Sagrantino. This is a little known fact for wine drinkers. It is now known as the national grape in Uruguay. Only 2% of the world production is in the United States. Tannat’s natural home is found near the Pyrenees in southwest France in the Basque region. The Lodi and Sierra Foothill regions are producing some of the best Tannat wines due to similar weather and soil conditions. The state of Virginia is also a key area for Tannat. In the past, Tannat needed years of bottle time to “soften up” but with the advances in viticulture and techniques in winemaking, Tannat is easier to consume earlier. Key flavors of classical Tannat are dark red and black fruits, chocolate, coffee and smoke along with acidity and strong tannins. The key trait of Tannat is its very high tannin levels. Thus historically, it has long been known as a blending wine. In California 285,975 acres are planted in red wine grapes with only 589 acres being Tannat, or .2% of the total.
Gossamer Cellars Background
Gossamer Cellars in Murphys, California is unique in so many wonderful ways. Gossamer’s owners, Gary and Sue Grant are unique in their wine making endeavors. Gary has always wanted to make every wine in the De Long Grape Varietal Table. This unique approach is wide rather than deep, which provides the wine consumer with just about everything to taste and imagine. Just a quick listing of some of the wines he has produced are Torrontes, Nebbiolo, Teroldego, Negroamaro, Alicante, Treixadura, Pinotage, Tannat and the list goes on. Gary subscribes to the saying proudly displayed on the chalkboard in his quaint tasting room “Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you”- Anonymous. I personally appreciate and applaud Gary’s quest in educating and bringing wines to the consumer which would normally be obscure or never appreciated.
The Wine – 2019 Gossamer Cellars Tannat
Gary’s Tannat has the notable features of very dark red and maroon coloring with a medium viscosity in the glass. On the nose, you are met with a rustic sense of the wine that includes dust, plum and black cherry. Not a very aromatic wine, but this is just the beginning. Once on the palate, you are greeted with the black cherry, ripe blackberries, oak, cedar, leather and black tea. The finish is long and satisfying with an appreciated “old world” sense of being. This is not a sipping wine with the astringent tannins, but one meant for foods that are high in fat to knock down the tannins like sausage, duck and fatty beef. 111 cases were produced using a combination of new and used French oak barrels. The grapes come from Silvaspoon Vineyards in Galt, Alta Mesa. Recently a advid wine drinker from Uruguay visited them and stated “his Tannat was on par with several of the best Tannant’s from Uruguay.
The Food and Wine Pairing
Last evening a penne pasta and Bolognese sauce (with lots of garlic) was just the right amount of strong flavors for the 2019 Tannat. Accompanied by a Caesar salad, making a delightful winter meal.
Previously the food pairing with Tannat has to be “spot on” to be enjoyed with the enormity of this wine varietal. Even for those die hard red wine lovers, this typically is not a standalone sipping wine but one to be enjoyed with food.