After a week in Italy drinking the beautiful wines from the Valpolicella region I needed some time to recover my palate from powerful red wines. For a few days upon my return I did not drink wine at all (can you imagine!); then I was blessed to participate in a tasting of eight high quality Finger Lakes Rieslings. After the Riesling tasting my palate was refreshed and I was ready to hit the big reds again. As I surveyed my media samples I came across another lovely red from H. Stagnari, sent to me from my friends at Nysus. You will recall from my article “Reconnecting with Wine” on August 22, the first H. Stagnari wine sent to me from Nysus. It was their Premier Vineyard 1X1 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and it was delicious. So of course I was looking forward to tasting another wine by H. Stagnari.
Nysus is an importer and distributor of quality wines with a focus on providing unique and diverse portfolio for their customers. Nysus derived their name and inspiration from the Greek god of winemaking, wine and grape harvest; Dionysus. Nysus was founded with the idea to share their laugher and passion for living with the world. I encourage you to visit Nysus’ web site to learn more about them and view their impressive portfolio of wines. Furthermore, you can purchase any of the wines I review for Nysus through Wines by the Case and by inserting the code NYSUS you will receive an additional discount on your purchases.
Stagnari Viejo Tannat 2011: This wine was a sultry deep garnet highlighted in plum with a sexy viscosity. After an hour and a half decant the Tannat brought aromas of ripe black cherry, bramble berry compote, dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts to my nose. On my palate this full body wine delivered ripe black cherries and black berry jam entwined in smoke, tobacco and dark chocolate with a touch of cayenne pepper on the back of the tongue. This was a big acidic wine with robust tannins and a long finish. It contained 14.5% alcohol. Being crafted of 100% Tannat I knew this wine needed to be paired with a hearty meal; therefore, I paired the wine with London broil I had marinated for 8 hours in Theo’s Steak sauce then cooked to medium on the grill and topped with homemade chimichurri sauce with fresh parsley and oregano from my garden; a fresh heirloom tomato salad containing heirloom tomatoes, mini cucumbers, chopped purple onion, fresh basil from my garden, herbed goat cheese, EVOO and balsamic vinegar; and lightly grilled Italian bread. It was a delicious meal that paired well with the bold Tannat. The spice of the chimichurri sauce, along with the creaminess of the goat cheese and the sweetness of the tomatoes tamed the tannic wine. Furthermore, the heartiness of the steak met the bold flavors of the wine with ease. It was a delicious dinner. Additional food pairings for this wine include buffalo, lamb, and ox tail. It was a rich, powerful wine that would easily overwhelm a lame meal; however, if paired well the wine will deliver beautifully.
Tannat is a red wine grape historically from the South of France in the Pyrenees Mountains. It was brought to Uruguay by Basque settlers and is now the patriarchal grape of Uruguay. Tannat is characterized by high levels of tannins and is often used as a blending grape with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot. H. Stagnari’s Viejo is the world’s most highly decorated Tannat wine. H. Stagnari aged their Tannat 12 months in French barrels then an additional 6 months bottled in their cellar. It was a full body, long finish wine with a rich flavor profile and amazing aging potential. If you like bold, refined flavor balanced with nice acidity and wrapped in big tannins this is a great wine for you to buy and drink immediately. If you prefer less robust, more refined tannins I recommend you buy a few bottles and age them in your wine cellar for a few years. I believe this wine will age beautifully and your patience will reap great reward!
“The Stagnari Vineyards are located in a valley known as ‘La Caballada,’ an area in the province Salto on the banks of the River Uruguay. At 32 degrees latitude south, the Salto region matches the very best wine producing regions in the world. The vineyards located along the banks of the River Uruguay combine an upper soil layer of sandy clay underscored by a lower layer of pure stone pebbles where the roots of the vines are allowed to penetrate and thrive. The area of Salto enjoys a continental climate, which produces the longest sunlight exposure for vines in the country. The variance between day and nighttime temperatures can approach 30 degrees on any given day, a vital component for producing mature berries, abundant with rich tannins. The vineyards patriarch, Hector Stagnari, graduated from the School of Oenology in 1978, which led him to work in both Bordeaux and Chateauneuf du Pape. Upon his return to Uruguay, Hector sought to find the right soil-climate combination to match those located in France – Tannat’s native home. It was this experience that led Hector to ‘La Caballada.’ All Stagnari wines are estate produced.”
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with H. Stagnair Viejo Tannat 2011 is No Sleep Till Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys. You will recall I chose Glycrine by Bush for the H. Stagnari 1X1 Cabernet Sauvignon because I felt it was a rock ballad wine. I feel the H. Stagnari Viejo Tannat is a bigger, more youthful (ironic since it is named Viejo) wine equally full of flavor but with a tannic rebellious streak. As an 80’s teen I love the Beastie Boys! This song, as well as their entire Licensed to Ill album (for me it was cassette) is a great compilation of songs about youthful rebellion. As they aged they maintained their edginess while their sound matured (ie. Sabotage). Like I said previously, I feel this wine is enjoyable now, in its youth; and I believe with proper cellaring it will maintain its Tannat characteristics while its tannins mellow and become more refined.
Get your own bottle of H. Stagnari Viejo 2011 Tannat and let me know what wine you would pair with it. Cheers!