The dark red Tannat variety offers a firm structure, cherry and raspberry scent and endows a wine with longevity. Its hearty red wines are naturally high in anti-oxidants and rich with polyphoenols, extracts that have been linked to consumer longevity in modest but regular consumption!
Tannat's heartland is the French Basque region and parts of the southwest, including Côtes de St Mont and Madiran. It's thick skin and tough tannins lead to the development of micro-oxygenation in Madiran as a method of softening the wine to make it more appealing at an immature age. This method is now widespread and used to accelerate the winemaking process of many red varieties.
The Tannat variety also makes immediately appealing full bodied wines in the New World. As the flagship variety of Uruguay, where it was introduced by French Basque settlers, it is responsible for complex Bordeaux-like reds. It can also be successfully blended with Merlot and softer red varieties to make lighter and more supple reds. The versatility of Tannat is confirmed by Pisano's method traditionelle sparkling Tannat and the various fortified Port-like Tannats.