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Tannat wine is the most famous Uruguay wines. Bodega Bouza winery outside of Montevideo, offers a unique wine tour and tasting experience.
On our travels exploring the authentic food specialties in Uruguay, we couldn’t miss Tannat, Uruguay’s national wine.
Fascinated, curious, and intrigued, we visited Bodega Bouza to discover the vineyard, cellars, and wines.
Get to know Tannat wine, Uruguay’s heritage at Bodega Bouza winery.
Bodega Bouza Boutique Winery
Boutique winery Bodega Bouza (pronounced BOW-zah) is one of the most popular wineries in Uruguay.
It opened in 2001 after Juan and Elisa Bouza restored the abandoned bodega that had been built in 1942.
The historic winery had not been used since 1960 and the Bouza family bought it, renovated it, and planted new vineyards, including South America’s first Albariño wine.
While Mr. Bouza is passionate about wine, this is not his primary business. The Bouza family had many years of experience in the food industry and launched a bakery company now popular across Uruguay.
Bodega Bouza wines are made with grapes grown exclusively on their estate vineyards, of which there are five for a total of 42 hectares.
How to Get to Bodega Bouza
Bodega Bouza is located about 17km from the South Ramblas, Puntas Carretas area in Montevideo. Getting to Bodega Bouza was an easy ride and it took us no more than 30 minutes.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: To get a taste of Uruguay wine at Bodega Bouza, we recommend this Bouza Winery and Lunch experience. You’ll visit the winery with a knowledgeable guide, and taste four wines paired with cheese and charcuterie. And, then later enjoy a traditional 3-course lunch with wine pairings. No need to worry about driving as pick up and drop off with a designated driver is included.
Where To Stay in Montevideo
Montevideo is an easy town and navigate and walk around. To make the most of your time in Uruguay’s capital city, we recommend staying in a central location.
Depending on your budget, here are a few places we recommend.
Luxury Hotel: Hotel Costanero MGallery
Located right in front of Pocitos Beach, Hotel Castenero MGallery offers beautiful views, an outdoor swimming pool, and free WiFi throughout the property. Located in the heart of the city, you are within walking distance to famous sites and activities. Our favorite part is the daily delicious buffet where you can gear up for a day of exploration.
Find out more about Hotel Castenero MGallery on Booking.com
Mid-Range Hotel: Alquimista Montevideo
Alquimista Montevideo is the place for quiet, relaxing accommodations that are close to the beach and within walking distance of downtown.
Rooms come with a private bathroom, free toiletries, a hairdryer, and flat-screen TV. Some rooms offer an additional seating area, terrace, or balcony overlooking the outdoor pool or gardens. Excellent food and wine are available at the on-site bar and restaurant. Alquimista offers a wonderful combination of old-world charm and quality, contemporary amenities.
Find out more about Alquimista Montevideo on Booking.com
Budget Accommodation: FAUNA Montevideo
This beautifully FAUNA Montevideo house is centrally located in the Ciudad Vieja district. It’s a quaint and charming boutique-like hotel with only five suites. Each suite has a private bathroom with a bidet, tea/coffee maker, air conditioning, and a desk. The host and his wife are extremely helpful and offer restaurant recommendations and more to enhance your visit.
Find out more about FAUNA Montevideo on Booking.com
Bodega Bouza Tour Experience
Upon arrival at Bouza winery, we were warmly welcomed by the hostess and invited to explore their store or sit in the comfortable lobby while waiting for our tour to start at 11:00 am.
At the start time, about 25 to 30 people joined the tour. Most guests spoke Portuguese or Spanish and we immediately knew we would have to do our best to follow the tour in Spanish.
However, just before starting, the guide asked if we preferred to have the tour in English and asked another colleague, Lucia, to give us a private tour.
We appreciated the consideration for the language barrier and were excited to be able to ask all our questions about Tannat, Uruguay’s flagship wine.
Bodega Bouza offers tours in different languages and you can choose between Spanish, Portuguese, or English.
Vintage Cars Museum
The first stop on the tour was Mr. Bouza’s private collection of 30+ antique cars and motorcycles.
The area, called Bouza Vinos Garage, offers tables scattered among the classic cars where guests can sit and enjoy tapas and wine tasting.
The impressive collection features Ford T’s, Citroens, and Italian and German cars. There are also two-wheel bikes and motorcycles including old BMWs from WWI and WWII.
The cars were shiny and Lucia told us they are all maintained in pristine driving condition with a mechanic coming in twice a week.
Bouza Estate Vineyards and Production Area
After talking about the history of the bodega and Uruguayan wines, we went to look at the Tannat vines on the property.
Bouza grows several different varieties of grapes including Albariño, Chardonnay, Merlot, Tempranillo, Tannat, Riesling, and Pinot Noir.
The vineyards are managed in a sustainable manner, planted in small parcels, and managed differently depending on each terroir and microclimate.
The grapes are grown without using pesticides and the unused grapes are used to fertilize and nourish the vineyard soil.
The vines are planted about 2 meters apart to allow the grapes to get the maximum sunlight which reinforces the flavor and quality of the wine.
Next, we went to the fermentation room where the grapes are sorted and transferred into concrete, metal, or oak barrels, depending on the type and quality of wine desired.
In the cellar, the bodega stores bottles to be used as a reference point for each new vintage, while keeping track of how the wine is evolving.
Bodega Bouza Wine Tasting Experience
After this enjoyable and insightful tour, Lucia led us back toward the restaurant for the degustacion, or wine tasting. Needless to say that after this amazing visit, we were curious to taste the wines.
We were directed to our table in the tasting room. The table was well presented with flowers, glasses lined up, and a plate of cheese and charcuterie waiting for us.
Tasting Bouza Wine – Unique Uruguay Wines
The tasting at Bodega Bouza includes four to five Uruguayan wines. During our visit, the sommelier, Juan Alvarez, selected four wines for us to taste.
He personally came to our table to serve and tell us about each wine. He also advised us on the type of cheese and charcuterie that each wine paired well with.
We started with the white wine Bouza Albariño. We had never tasted the Albarino wine before and we found it very fresh and fruity, though a bit dry.
We went on to taste three more red wines, including the famous Uruguayan wine, Tannat.
Tannat is the signature grape of Uruguay and is to Uruguay what the Malbec is to Argentina.
Tannat grapes came to South America from the south of France in the 1800s and have prospered in the unique South American climate.
We first tasted the Merlot Tannat, which was easy to drink though it still felt very young.
Next, we sampled Bouza Monte Vide Eu 2013, a full bodied blend of Tannat, Merlot, and Tempranillo. We really enjoyed this wine and found it round, rich, and very flavorful with or without food.
The highlight of the wines was the Bouza Tannat 2013, Parcela Ûnica, coming from a unique parcel).
This wine, a strong and full-bodied blend, was surprisingly smooth and easy to drink. Simply the best Tannat we have ever had.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you would like to try Uruguay wine at home, you can have Tannat delivered to your home. One sip of Uruguay’s famous wine will have you planning a trip to Montevideo City for great wines.
Frutilla Wine: A Popular Uruguay Wine
One other wine we learned about while visiting the vineyard, was special wine called Frutilla.
This traditional wine is rooted in Uruguayan culture and comes from the way families would make their own wine at home.
It is a young wine made without full fermentation after a few months of aging in tanks.
Lucia made sure we tasted it in addition to the wine presented in the tasting, though our sommelier Juan had a hard time having us try it as he doesn’t think it qualified as a ‘wine.’
While it’s a popular choice at the bodega, it was a no go for us. It smelled like ripe strawberries and tasted nothing like wine.
Nonetheless, it was an interesting experience trying homemade Uruguayan wine.
Lunch At Bodega Bouza Restaurant
Bouza’s lunch menu includes several regional dishes, with a strong Uruguayan and Spanish influence.
The menu changes regularly and each dish is paired with wine from the Bodega Bouza vineyard.
Right before lunch, we had the chance to meet Marcelo Garcia, the Chef at Bouza restaurant.
He gave us a quick tour of the Parilla or grill while talking about the differences between grilling meat in Uruguay vs. Argentina.
He offered us a piece of mojella or sweet bread, grilled to perfection, to kick off our lunch and wine tasting.
From the lunch menu, we tried two different cuts of juicy Uruguay beef accompanied by seasonal vegatable sides.
For wine, I chose the Bouza Tannat 2013 while Rosemary chose the Bouza Monte Vide Eu 2013.
To top off our delicious food tasting and great wines, we were offered the local grappa to digest our meal.
Known as Bouza Destilado de Orujo, it’s made from Tempranillo grapes. This strong, burning alcohol surely helped us to digest our meat intake that day.
Overall Impressions of Bodega Bouza Tour and Lunch
What We Liked
Only one word can describe our experience – what a fabulous wine-tasting and lunch menu.
The personalized and organized transportation allowed us to relax and really enjoy the experience without having to worry about driving.
The location is accessible as Bodega Bouza is nearby to Montevideo city.
The staff at Bodega Bouza was not only knowledgeable but also accommodating and very personable.
The Tannat wines from Bodega Bouza are amazing. These are some of the best Tannat wines we’ve ever had and there is nothing like enjoying them at the historic winery.
What Could Be Improved
Overall, there is not much that can be improved from the Bodega Bouza winery experience.
The tours are offered in different languages and we recommend booking in advance for the language of your choice.
Ultimately, enjoy visiting Bodega Bouza vineyards and learning about Uruguay’s Tannat wine. Savor great wines in a spectacular location in South America’s smallest country.
How to Book Your Uruguay Wine Tour at Bodega Bouza
Bodega Bouza is one of Uruguay’s renowned vineyards. It is conveniently located near Montevideo city and has one of the best winery restaurants.
You don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn about Tannat wines with expert guides. The experience includes wine tasting, cellar visits, and lunch in a historic winery with gorgeous architecture.
Click to book your Uruguay Wine Tour at Bodega Bouza
In Uruguay, Tannat wine accompanies almost all meat dishes. You’ll find several different varieties of Tannat wine on every menu.
Visiting Bodega Bouza gave us the opportunity to learn about the wine while having it served and paired with different dishes.
With amazing wines and outstanding food, we highly recommend visiting Bodega Bouza. You’ll be amazed, as we were, at the high-quality wines at this historic winery.
Have you ever had wines from Uruguay or Bodega Bouza before? Please let us know what you the comments below.
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest