About 23 kilometers north of Montevideo lies the small town of Canelones. Should you ever visit the capital city of Uruguay, making this trip should be high on your list of priorities, especially if you’re a wine lover. Once there, look for the Pizzorno Estate in order to get what is probably the best wine tasting experience in the country and maybe even beyond. I was there just a few days ago and it was absolutely awesome from start to finish. Not only did we get to taste wine, but we also learned a lot of interesting facts and saw some really amazing things. Here’s a little recap of the experience.
One of the reasons we decided to visit the winery is its accessibility. As mentioned, the town it is located in is close to Montevideo, but the thing that really makes the Pizzorno Estate easy to reach is the fact that a transfer is very easy to set up. Senderos del Tannat will drive you to and from Montevideo and its airport in a flash. And given the fact that the estate is very close to the airport, you can even visit them on the last day of your trip and thoroughly enjoy yourself before taking off. Therefore, the location really is 10/10.
But this is not just a place for short visits, quite the contrary. The estate has a lodge with four rooms where you can spend some quality relaxing time enjoying the view of the vineyards. This is actually the first wine lodge in the region, which can tell you a lot about how seriously these people approach the whole thing. Indeed, the Pizzorno family has been investing a lot in technology for years, and it clearly shows. While they are by no means a huge winery, their products are of excellent quality and are being exported quite literally all over the world.
As soon as you start tasting wine, you’ll immediately see what I mean. However, you will get a very nice tour of the place before that, too. We were guided through the estate by a very knowledgeable young man named Joaquim (a very knowledgeable sommelier) and eventually tasted several different wines. We were greeted with a glass of champagne each (the group had several people in it, but the tours are not bigger than 15 people here) and were told a little about the intricate history of the place and the family a bit. After that, we went down to the cellars and then moved on to wine tanks.
Now, these are not your ordinary inox wine tanks – these are huge concrete constructions into which you can actually walk in. We never even realized where we were until Joaquim pointed to the ceiling and the opening of the huge vessel.
The next stop were the vineyards themselves, which are meticulously maintained and quite an impressive sight to behold. It was a very nice walk, nothing too exhausting or tedious, but still quite enough for the visitors to get a good sense of the Pizzorno Estate. Once the tour of the vineyards was done, we headed back for some serious tasting.
I must say that the way wine tasting organized here is superb. Every wine presented to you is accompanied by a dish prepared by the chef who works here, and every single dish complements the wines perfectly, never taking away anything from the beverages. The wines are definitely the stars of the whole show.
We started things off with a 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, a very refreshing white wine, perfect to get you into the mood for further tasting and after the walking tour. Some lovely goat cheese went with that spectacularly well. However, things were just warming up because after that came three different vintages of their famous Tannat wine (2018, 2019 and 2017, respectively), one of which was a Tannat-Merlot blend.
Here we have to say a few words about Tannat because it is a grape variety immensely important to the Uruguayan winemaking tradition. Originating from France, this variety was introduced in Uruguay in the latter half of the 19th century, has been rapidly expanding ever since and today about 30% of all vineyards in the country are dedicated to it.
The resulting wine has somewhat lower alcohol content and absolutely lovely color and goes well with red meat, pasta and that kind of stuff. Naturally, all that food was readily served to us, and we were happy to listen to the stories and learn more about the history of the Pizzorno Estate as we were savoring every single sip.
Wine tasting at the Pizzorno Estate in Uruguay’s Canelones was everything a wine lover could hope for. Passionate and very dedicated hosts, wonderful vineyards, intriguing history of the place, and some truly superb wine will make your day a memorable one. Of course, the wines are accompanied by high-quality food, so that your satisfaction is complete once the tour is over.
Thanks to its excellent location, the estate can be visited easily if you’re in the capital city of Montevideo, even if you don’t have too much time because it’s close to the city’s airport. But don’t rush things if at all possible because the quality of the wine you get here deserves your full and undivided attention.
Remember, Tannat is the grape variety that is the foundation of Uruguay’s winemaking, so don’t miss this opportunity to taste it. The Pizzorno family really are the masters of their craft.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).