Grape 1: Tannat

Today was the first grape of a thousand grapes. I’ve heard there’s a club that certain wine nerds get to join when they swear that they’ve tasted over 100 different types of grapes. To my mind, and based on my wine consumption, that’s approximately one year of drinking. A solid achievement and certainly one to be commended. But what about outnerding the nerds? We’re talking a full decade (or more) of different grapes, random, obscure, horrible, brilliant, pink, purple, green, black and bacchus only knows what other color grapes. Decade-long challenges – that’s something I can get on board with. Other than maybe raising a child (or six), I’d be hard pressed to even think in terms of a decade. And yet, a thousand grapes demands such thinking.

To begin

Grape 1 of 1,000 – Tannat

No real magic to the choice of Tannat as the first grape. Wifey and I are visiting the Latin half of the family in Peru and got snowed in by the ridiculous Newark blizzard, meaning another day in Lima. What to do with one more day in Lima? Clearly, you eat and eat well. So dinner it was, at T’anta on 28 de julio and the only Peruvian wine on the menu is this Intipalka Tannat you see in the photo (h/t these guys). No idea about year and only found out later who makes this bottle (hint: they own the best old-man bar in Peru). Tried the wine before the lomo y palta sandwich and more than stood up on its own. Better though with the beef.

Tannat’s very heavy (and Uruguyan apparently) according to every ADD’s best friend google, although somehow this Peruvian Tannat’s more of a middle body wine. Think Merlot with another 5 pounds added on from the Christmas season. That’s Peruvian Tannat.

If pressed, I’d put the flavors on the dark side of the sun (that’s a bad quechua pun: see “inti”), in that blackberry and violet haze that good sommeliers could fill a page with. Black fruit puts it in the ballpark but up to you to decide where. Really though, are there that many black fruits? I’m thinking blackberries (yes, it’s got it), black cherries (nope), brandiwine (read too much brer rabbit as a kid – probably not even a berry), craigberries (thanks iceland – yes, these are here), and boysenberry (Aunt Nel cans these – yup, they’re here too). OK, so maybe it’s more black berries than a general black fruit sense.

In sum
Black berries, slightly voluptuous body and really squid-ink color. Peruvian Tannat.

Random Googles
* Tannat is Uruguay’s national grape
* Tannat shows up in Armagnac (kinda weird)
* Nerd wine club that looks awesome

Professionals Say
* Intipalka Tannat
* Rate my Tannat

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  1. Wines of’s avatar

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  2. Mike Dutch’s avatar

    Fun blog… you have your work cut out for you!

    “General Viticulture” says that about 8000 grape varieties have been named at some point. “Vines Grapes & Wines” says about 1000 are relevant to the wine drinker today.

    Checkout the International Variety Catalogue ( which links to the U.S. National Grape Registry ( and European Databases.


  3. Craigk8’s avatar

    Working on the weekend never sounded so good – thanks for the links and the info!



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