European sommeliers, buyers and communicators tour Uruguay
European sommeliers, buyers and communicators tour Uruguay

On a special trade tour kicking off on Tannat Day, 14th April, a group of esteemed sommeliers, buyers and communicators from Europe explored the wine regions of Uruguay.

Spending a week exploring the wine routes of Montevideo, Canelones and Maldonado were:

Augusto Gherardi — Group Wine Education Manager for the Gordon Ramsey restaurant group, which has 33 restaurants in the UK

Beatrice Bessi — Head Sommelier and Buyer for the Chiltern Firehouse, a lauded restaurant and hotel in London with a wine list with over 1,000 labels

Georgia Panagopoulou — One of the most influential digital wine communicators today, with over 120,000 followers for her @wine.gini instagram account

Michael Deschamps — Wine Director of the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park which includes the 2 Michelin star restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Richard Wilson — Buyer and Education Manager for The Good Wine Shop, a thriving independent wine retailer in London with five stores

Sofia Crepaz — Head Sommelier of the 2 Michelin star Trivet restaurant and wine bar in London

The trip was hosted by Amanda Barnes, author of The South America Wine Guide, for INAVI, who shared her inside knowledge and experiences of Uruguayan wine with the group during the week.

Together they explored a huge diversity of wine styles and producers, which impressed and surprised the group — challenging previous expectations. “I was really surprised by the great diversity and differences in Uruguayan wine,” commented Augusto Gherardi. “When you think of Uruguay, you think of big South American wines and Tannat but there was a lot more freshness and lower alcohol than expected. I was particularly interested in the orange wines, which are some of the best and most consistent I have tasted.”

Richard Wilson added: “I think overall the quality was very high, and the visits were really interesting. It was great to start with smaller, traditional family producers in Canelones and finish with new vineyards and modern projects in Maldonado. The journey was a great surprise.”

During the week, the group visited and tasted with: Viña Progreso, Pisano Wines, Proyecto Nakkal, Bodega Spinoglio, Familia Deicas, Bodega Cerro Chapeu, Bodega Pablo Fallabrino, BraccoBosca, Bodega Cerro del Toro, Bodega Garzón, Bodega Bouza and Vermut Flores, and started with a wine tasting dinner with De Lucca, Alto de la Ballena, Compañía Uruguaya Vinos de Mar, and Marichal.