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Bodega Bouza is a great example of modern Uruguay with yields of Merlot and Tannat at between 4,000 and 6,000 kilos per hectare dependant on cuvée (1.5 kg per plant) – a long way from the country’s 10,000+ in days of old. Their vineyards are in two places: the oldest, in Las Violetas, is about 40km inland from Montevideo. The original vineyard was bought in 1998, and some new plantings of Albariño, Merlot, Tannat and Tempranillo complement the 40 year old Merlot and Tannat vines. Summer temperatures usually peak at around 30° to 32° with 28° or 29° more usual, and night temperatures down to 15° or so.
The newest plantings are however around the renovated winery near Montevideo, in the source of the Melilla Stream, just 20 kilometres inland. Temperatures here are around 1° or 2° lower with a sea breeze cooling the vineyard. Soil is different from the older, harder clay of Las Violetas.
To ensure emphasis on the different plots throughout the two vineyards, each half hectare is vinified separately in small vats before selection for the different cuvées. Vineyard changes such as lowering of trellising height on new plantings and spreading of pink gravel to reflect light and improve polyphenols which helps to produce riper tannins, are all destined to improve quality even further.
In the winery careful handling and the best French oak are followed by ongoing analysis of wine by batch from vineyard through to selection for the various cuvees. Monitoring of these variations and management of them ensure quality, and the result is a reputation as the best of a growing number of wineries who are changing from mass production from fertile vines to low yield and high quality. This whole process is overseen by Eduardo Boido who is Uruguay's first doctor in Oenology, lecturer at the University and now a shareholder in Bouza.