Pisano from Uruguay to Calgary

WineCollective has been a fan of Pisano since last February, when we featured their Tannat and Merlot blend, Cisplatino. We were first drawn to the producer purely because we have never featured an Uruguain wine, and we love finding something new! Not only did the Cisplatino exceed our expectations, it is budget friendly too!

While Uruguay is considered a new-world producer, the Pisano family has been producing wine for the past six generations. The combination of Italian wine-makers, French grapes and Uruguayan terroir result in a unique and exciting style of wine. The Pisano vineyards of 37 acres have a handful of different varietals, with the majority being Tannat, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and which produce 16,000 cases per year.

The 2009 Pisano Cisplatino was a great success on WineCollective, we received great feedback from our members.

The pairing of this wine with 5 year old aged cheddar was incredible. We also put our wines through a wine shower – and more recently with a vinturi – this opened the fruit tastes so much – no wonder it went so well with the aged cheese. We will definitly add this wine to our list of favorites – especially for wine and cheese parties. -Susan E.

Lovely palate, delicious with Enchiladas!!! -Wendi R.

The strong acidity and balanced finish of this wine provides a most interesting taste experience. A variety of strong cheddar and spiced cheeses was an excellent pairing. – Steve M.

When we received an invitation from Whitehall Agencies to try the line-up of Pisano, we jumped at the opportunity to sample more wines from Uruguay! Selkirk Grille‘s Gallery Room in Heritage Park hosted Pisano and served an amazing, and filling lunch paired perfectly with the wines.

First up was the Pisano Rio de Los Pajaros Rose, paired well with great conversation on a sunny day in Heritage Park. The Rose is 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Syrah from the Progreso Coastal Region. A great watermelon/strawberry in colour, with smooth lush tannins and fresh acidity. This would be a great find to enjoy during our ‘Indian Summer’.

The sparkling Brut Negro Tannat from Pisano was unique and definitely only for those who dare to try the newest and most interesting in wines. It was drier than Lambrusco, but still had a juicy quality that was mouth-filling and refreshing at the same time.


The first course was a pan seared Black Bass cheek served on risotto with Tannat glazed wild mushrooms and fried parsley and capers. The bass was paired with the Pisano Cisplatino Tannat/Merlot. Check out YYC Wine‘s review of the Cisplatino.


The main course was a beef-duo of braised bison short rib and petite tenderloin with potato and parsnip puree with black truffle jus and foie foam. The short rib was marinated over-night in the wine that was paired with the meal, the 2007 RPF Tannat.  A great theme over the course of the lunch, not only pairing the wine with the food, but using the wine in the food’s preparation.

The 2007 RPF was intense and dark! The nose was rich and concentrated, over ripe plums, and cedar with earthy grit. The palate had layers of black cherry, blackberries and plums, with grippy tannins and huge body. I would definitely recommend decanting for at least an hour before serving.


Dessert was decadent chocolate duo of hazelnut pate and chocolate gelato with vanilla cassis coulis. We sampled the Exte-Oneka Fortified Tannat as the last Pisano offering.

From the winery on Exte-Oneka Fortified Tannat : Combines ancient and traditional vinification techniques used for Port, Recioto and Amarone. The grapes used for ETXE ONEKO Tannat come from old vineyards of non-clonal selection with high-density plantation (5000 plants per Hectare) and low production (5000 Kg./Ha/ year). With these vineyards planted by Don Cesare Pietro Secundino Pisano in 1942, we obtain high concentration tannins and delicate flavours and aromas. The grapes are left hanging on the vine until they have lost sufficient humidity and their skin has shrunk. Part of the grapes are harvested for vinification while a small lot is left still a few more weeks to continue dehydrating on the vine and gaining botrytis flavours and aromas.

If you are new to Tannat, Pisano would be a great introduction into the varietal. Although Tannat originates from Basque in South-West France, it is the most widely grown grape in Uruguay. French Tannat is know for adding strong tannins to blends, mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc.

Tannat produced in Uruguay is suprisingly refined with black fruit and ripe tannins. Top producers of Tannat in Uruguay, including Pisano, are creating wines with Tannat that are more old-world in character, while newer vines are bridging the gap to newer world characteristics. For perspective on the size of Uruguay’s production, 7.9 million cases are produced in total on 11,000 hectares each year, compared to South America’s largest producer, Argentina with 124 million cases on 207,000 hectares. What Uruguay lacks in quantity, they make up for in quality.  EnRoute Magazine shares more inside to the Tannat grape in Urguay, and the rise of it’s prominence in the region.

Ignacio Martinez was the Pisano representative presenting the wines, and sharing tonnes of information on the region and their production. Pisano is only one of twenty producers from Uruguay to export their wines and the majority is sent to Brazil. Currently in Canada, Pisano is only available in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Stay tuned WineCollective members, there may be more Tannat in your future!