WINE REVIEW: 2017 Garzon ‘Balasto’ Red Blend, Uruguay ($99)
by Andrew Chalk
Bodega Garzon was founded in 2016 by successful Argentinian industrialist Alejandro Bulgheroni. His vision was not just a winery, but a whole concept with the winery at the core. Thus, the winery building was LEED certified, the restaurant concepted by Francis Mallman, one of the most famous chefs in South America. There is a members club with a boutique hotel with a golf course designed by Masters and US Open Champion Angel Cabrera.
The quality of the wines is central to the project. Consulting winemaker Alberto Antonini brings international experience to the role.
This wine is a blend of 50% tannat, 40% cabernet franc, 5% merlot, and 5% marselan. The grapes are sourced from the Garzon region of Uruguay and aged for 20 months in 25 and 50 hl untoasted French oak barrels. It was bottled in march 2019, without filtering. The winemaker was Germán Bruzzone and the viticulturist Eduardo Felix. The name ‘Balasto’ translates to ballast and refers to the ballast soil at the bodega which is formed from decomposed granite. Note that each bottle is individually numbered on the back label.
A: Opaque purple core. Watery rim;
N: Blackberry, cassis, sweet french oak;
T: Chewy tannins, Medium acid. Forward black fruit. Black pepper. Forest floor;
An intensely wound exotic wine that is enjoyable to drink now and would reward ageing. It is the flagship wine of the Garzon line, clearly intended to become the halo wine of Uruguay. This vintage shows the seriousness of their intentions. It will be interesting to compare with forthcoming vintages.