Uruguay doesn’t exactly spring to mind when you think about wine, but it should, if only because of the success they have made of their main grape, the still little-known French varietal Tannat.

Wine making has a long history in the second smallest country of South America with a provenance going back over 250 years, and the main grape, Tannat, has been around for half that time.

The grape has turned out to be Uruguay’s Malbec, if you like, as the soil conditions suit it perfectly and all that's needed now is for the same international commercial success to follow.

Tannat produces powerful and often muscular reds in the Madiran region of France but the Uruguay versions, while still plentiful in body, are lighter and more easy-going on the palate. While the name doesn’t roll off the tongue, the wines are very pleasant companions for your palate. In a nutshell, they have similar fruit characteristics as cabernet sauvignon but with the rustic charm of Malbec. Delightful on their own but they also pair well with a wide range of dishes.

The Herald: Gerard Richardson recommends this wine from UruguayGerard Richardson recommends this wine from Uruguay (Image: free)

Bodegones del sur Tannat 2020

A lighter, fruitier style than most with gorgeous and rather generous bramble flavours on the palate. The tannins are soft and quite seductive. A very classy example.

winesofuraguay.co.uk £12.99

Bizarra Extravaganza Amphora Tannat

Made in the style of the ancients using Amphora pots, this is a cracking red with ripe autumn fruits and hints of cocoa on the finish. It's vegan friendly but it's good with a juicy steak.

winesofuraguay.co.uk £17.99