As part of Tryanuary we're showcasing two wines from Uruguay. Never tried Uruguayan wine? You're missing out! I'm a big fan of this up and coming wine region and the wines from Bodegas Garzon are the perfect introduction. If you like Malbec, you're going to love Uruguayan Tannat, and the Albarino is the best I've tasted outside of the grapes Iberian homeland. The wines are fruit driven yet balanced, unique yet accessible. What's makes them so special? Well here's three reasons they're so damn good! The Climate Uruguay's wine country has a typically warm, new world climate. It's on the same line of latitude as the Barossa valley in Australia and Stellenbosch in South Africa; wine regions that produce bold, full bodied drops, or as my old colleague Nick used to say: hand to hand combat wines! This gives the wines lots of rich, ripe fruit. The Vineyard Garzon planted their vineyards a mere 11 miles from the Atlantic coast in the Maldonado region. This gifts the vines a cooling coastal breeze which allows the grapes to retain the acidity essential to produce fresh vibrant wines. The Soil Maldonado lies on a big bed of granite. This gives the reds, and especially the white wines a cleansing mineral character, and lends elegance to that big new world fruit. Ok, so now I've set the scene, what about the actual wines! Garzon Albarino, Maldonado, Uruguay 6000 miles north east on the opposite side of the Atlantic ocean lies the Rias Baixas; Galicia's most famous wine region, and the home of the Spain's finest white grape: Albarino. The coastal breeze is complemented by soils of mostly granite. Sound familiar? Yes, the comparable conditions or terroir mean it's no surprise that Albarino thrives in Maldonado. The wine has ripe aromas of white peaches, apricot and grapefruit, with exotic floral notes. The palate is wonderfully balanced: fruity with a luxurious texture, yet minerally and fresh. A firm staff favourite! Garzon Tannat, Maldonado, Uruguay Tannat is Ururguay's U.S.P. It is to Uruguay what Malbec is to Argentina; what Carmenere is to Chile. Just like those grapes it originates from South West France and found it's way to Uruguay in a 19th century wave of immigration from the Basque country. Tannat's French homeland is Madiran. This is one of my favourite appellations, but much like Malbec from Cahors it can be overly tannic and require a few years in the cellar. Not so in Uruguay. Again in a parallel with Malbec from Mendoza, Tannat from Maldenado is rich and full in body, but smooth with lush tannins. The proximity to the ocean means the concentrated red and black fruits still have a juicy acidity, while there's also notes of spice and toasted oak to give a layer of complexity. Buy a quality steak and revel in your new favourite red!