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Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón presents ‘outstanding’ Balasto 2020 following Rugby World Cup appearance

Uruguayan fine wine brand Balasto has presented its “outstanding” 2020 vintage “from one of the most memorable harvests” ahead of its release through La Place de Bordeaux, with a magnum being presented to French President Emmanuel Macron during the opening Rugby World Cup match between France and Uruguay. 

The wine – a singular blend of 42% Tannat, 39% Cabernet Franc and 19% Petit Verdot from Uruguay – was the third South American wine to launch on the French distribution network (in 2017) after Chile’s Almaviva and Seña and remains the only wine from Uruguay to do so. Coming from Bodega Garzón in Uruguay’s Maldonado coastal region, it has been described as “far superior to anything else from Uruguay”, in part due to the high-quality vineyards use to grow its grapes, the state-of-the-art winery used in its production, and the high-profile consultant winemaker involved in the project, Italy’s Alberto Antonini.

The project, which was backed by Argentine oil and gas billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni, is managed by CEO Christian Wylie, who was previously  a senior figure at Chile’s Carolina Wine Brands. Launching on the Bordeaux négociant network in 2017 was a key plank in the newcomer’s strategy to become a global fine wine and it is being represented by negociants Louis Vialard and Ulysse Cazabonne.

The release comes in a week-long round of tastings and events, which kicked off on Monday with a vertical tasting of five of the last six vintages in Bordeaux, followed by an event at sports club, La Faisanderie-State Francais outside Paris, attended by the President of Uruguay, Dr Louis Lacalle Pou and around 160 international business figures from Europe and Asia. The company is also hosting a lunch in Lille today with the CEO of Liberty Wines (UK), one of Balasto’s main global distributors, Tom Platt, with its key customers then heading to the opening match in the Rugby World Cup between France and Uruguay at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. During the game a magnum of Balasto 2020 will be presented to French President Emmanuel Macron.

The wines will be officially launched on 16 September in Uruguay.

2020 vintage

The 2020 was a “historic vintage”, the company said, that represents the terroir in Garzón “in a remarkable way”. Tasting notes from the company refer to its fresh red and black fruits with complex and elegant spice aromas underpinned with notes of gunpowder and graphic, a fresh and juicy palate vibrant tannins, “subtle minerality, and a balsamic and ethereal finish”.

The exceptional year started with a “regular” winter which produced good clusters, followed by a summer with a good diurnal temperature range with scarce rainfall leading to “perfect ripening of the fruit” in the vineyard, and “top quality fruits with optimum sugar levels and very well-balanced acidity”, the company said.

Bodega Garzón comprises 1,000 vineyard blocks of varying microclimates and levels of humidity on slopes 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, close to Punta del Estate, La barra and Jose Ignacio, surrounded by forest, rocky soils, boulders and palm trees.

Read more: 

Why a wine from Uruguay is being sold by the Bordelais

Profiling South America’s new fine wine: Balasto

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