Explore / Grower Stories

'Energetic Temperament And A Strong Uruguayan Personality!'


Rosie Allen Rosie Allen / 25 February 2019

The success of many of today's most innovative wineries follow a well-trodden path: an enterprising pioneer with a bright idea lays down roots (and vines) in a distant and unknown place, and a special wine alchemy is born, where old world knowhow meets new world verve. The Pisano family story is a perfect example of the wine-family fairytale, whose opening chapter began back in 1870 when Don Francesco Pisano emigrated from Liguria in Italy to Uruguay. 149 years, four generations and an Italian-Basque marriage later and they are firmly at the forefront of Uruguay's wine scene, crafting some of the country's most exciting bottles.

Today three brothers, Eduardo, Gustavo and Daniel oversee viniculture, winemaking and export here, and we're proud to have been working with them for a long time, selecting their best-in-class tanks for our members' delectation. We spent ten minutes with Daniel, who tells us how they managed to tame the notoriously tannic tannat grape and what makes Uruguayan wines so singularly soulful.

'One of the Pisanos' lovingly tended vineyards'
'One of the Pisanos' lovingly tended vineyards'

1. South American wines have found huge popularity in the UK in recent years, but Uruguayan is still somewhat under the radar. If you could sum up why our members should try Uruguayan wine, what would you say?

With the massive choice available in today's world of wine, there is almost nothing left to discover. So for wine lovers, to find great Uruguayan wines that are still 'under the radar' is a fabulous opportunity, as they have the chance to unveil and explore a completely new and unique region and also an almost unknown ancient grape variety in tannat.

On top of that, they'll also be able to enjoy a very special non-international style of wine which is ripe, flavourful, aromatic and with naturally balanced tannins, acidity and alcohol.

2. How has your Italian and Basque heritage helped you to make wines here? Do you feel that your winemaking is very European, or uniquely Uruguayan?

Uruguayan winemaking is the synthesis of European traditions imprinted in the soul of the producers along with a unique and singular terroir, a combination of soil, climate and the men and women who produce the grapes and make the wine.

It's impossible that the wines wouldn't be affected by these influences as most producers are families with their own history and traditions. The resulting wine is uniquely Uruguayan with European roots.

The Pisanos. Left to right: Eduardo (viticulture), Gustavo (winemaker) Gabriel (Eduardo's son and also a winemaker), Daniel (sales)
The Pisanos. Left to right: Eduardo (viticulture), Gustavo (winemaker) Gabriel (Eduardo's son and also a winemaker), Daniel (sales).

3. What is it about Uruguay's terroir that makes it perfect for growing a very tannic and structured grape variety such as tannat? And how do your particular vineyards help you to tame and craft this sometimes difficult grape into something so delicious?

Uruguay is situated at 35º South latitude – just as the best wine-growing regions of the Southern Hemisphere are – next to the Atlantic Ocean and on the Rio de la Plata. The cool climate, its never-ending rolling hills and marine situation make it especially suitable for the cultivation of fine grapes. Cold breezes from the Antarctic dramatically impact on temperatures here.

When you drink a glass of our wine, you can taste and smell the fresh wind coming from the sea and the bright sunlight that streams into our vineyards.

We don't know exactly why tannins ripen so well in our country, but I guess it is because of the sun intensity and luminosity. At the same time, cool ripening-season temperatures means tannins to remain fresh and crisp rather than sweet and dull, which is what you might find in very warm and dry climates. Other tannic and 'difficult' grapes as petit verdot, perform well here for those reasons.

In our particular vineyards, we achieve perfect ripeness due to low yields and precision viticulture which aims for expression and value rather than volume.

4. You say that 'Pisano belongs to the group of small family vignerons with an artisan tradition of making wines that reflect the character of the land and the people who make them.'

How do you feel that this artisan approach shows in the quality and flavour of your wines?

Our main intention is that our wines reflect the energetic temperament and 'Pisano style', combined with a strong Uruguayan personality! We harvest the ripest grapes by hand from low-yielding plots and we only produce wine from the grapes that stand out for their concentration and elegance. The sun, the soil, the vines, the oak and the hands of our family, help to maintain necessary balance so that our cellars mature these exclusive wines, with the care that only us artisans can give.

Our aim is not only just to create an international model but also to let the grapes express themselves within their maturity process in our Progreso Region. We produce a very particular kind of wine, which is typical of Uruguay, showing aromatic fruit, which not only refreshes our palate but also provides strength and structure apart from round and mature tannins. Complex and intense flavours are the result of its slow maturity due to the climate of South Uruguay Coastal region.

5. Finally, describe your perfect wine and where you'd drink it!

My perfect wine is the RPF Tannat (Personal Reserve of the Family) and I like to drink it under a shady tree while I barbecue a piece of Uruguayan asado (a traditional South American barbecue) slowly grilled on an open fire of wild woods.

Pisano Wines

Want more inspiration?

Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.


4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.