Sauvignon Gris from Uruguay, Casa Filgueira

One of the most intriguing things I found when I was in Uruguay was how willing the winemakers are to take chances with their wine. Quite a few times a winemaker would be explaining a new wine or discovery they had made and when I asked them how or why it  came about, they replied, it was an accident! An accident that happened to work out. Uruguay is a country of soft, rolling hills and a sky that seems to take up most of the vista. The majority of Uruguayan vineyards are located in the department of Canelones which is about 35 kms north of Montevideo. Roughly 80% of all the vines are there with the remainder up north in Salto or to the west near Colonia. The climate is maritime and they get a lot of cloud cover so even if it’s a hot day, it can still be cloudy. One of the winemakers told me it’s not uncommon for the 60% of the sky to be covered in clouds. It was hot and sunny day  while I was there so both me and the vines had to put up with the sun.  Another thing I noticed was the use of the lyre system to train the vines. There is a lot of humidity in Uruguay and the growers often have to contend with unwanted botyrtis or mildew. Sebastian Dellorio, Marketing Manager of Filgueira explained that they use the lyre system to prevent the vines from developing all those nasty ailments. Unlike Argentina, there isn’t much need for irrigation and most wineries only use irrigation if it’s been a very dry year. Otherwise, the vines are left to fend for themselves. One of those surprising accidents I drank was a sauvignon gris. The first winery I visited in Uruguay was also one of the most well regarded, Casa Filgueira. Filgueira was founded in the early 1900’s but it wasn’t until the early 90’s that the current generation, Dr. Jose Luiz Filgueira and his...

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