Tannat for the Masses

Tannat is one of those varieties–like Petite Sirah or Carignane or even Cab Franc–where you really don’t quite know what you’re getting into as you open the bottle. Not quite as *chameleon* as those three, but styles can run the gamut. Add the unknown of “Arizona” to the mix and things will definitely be interesting. This is a clean, distinctly-fruited version, rather light of texture and not pounding ridiculous tannin down your throat.

Black-purple with a bright ruby rim, it is dark, but not obliviously opaque. Plum, peach and raspberry flow out of the glass, a muted woodsy briar with a teensy slight background of cellar-funk: almost un-noticeable behind overwhelmingly straight-forward overall nuances of just plain old GOOD fruit and perfect portions of cinnamon and licorice. Decanted a bit.

Tasting it proves it is NOT a swinging-for-the-benches version. Where many producers rely on structural obfuscation or ridiculous concentration to woo the rare Tannat fan, here we have someone merely making a clean, well-balanced, GOOD drinking wine–somewhat of a rarity under the asterisk of all things “Tannat”. Nothing acute OR obtuse strikes out on entry, middle, or finish. Plenty of peppery spice and good acid bolster the delicious fruit. Blind, I might say a well-concentrated Grenache–maybe a GSM–or even an old-school Zin. Dark cherry rides solid throughout, and the whole package is solid–while cheery. One can’t help but think the 3 years in neutral oak had a serious hand in all this. A very nice wine, and one which could possibly convert those who have been scared off by other versions.

2018 CALLAGHAN VINEYARDS Tannat Arizona 14.1


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