Progreso – Canelones

25 million years ago, during the Tertiary Period, in the Oligocene Epoch, the climate was warm and semi-humid. Large animals, which evolved after the disappearance of the dinosaurs 40 million years prior, still inhabited Progreso, although the climate was again becoming drier and colder, and the vegetation beginning to disappear along with many animal species.

The soil at that time was composed of fine particles of dust carried by the wind, from the disintegration of primary rocks, which deposited in orderly layers (sedimentation). This formed a unique undulating microrelief called “gilgai” with the material, silt (loess), which is very rich in a type of clay called smectite. The decayed roots of ancient plants and the microorganisms associated with them, left behind calcified spaces, giving rise to the calcium carbonate concretions we see today.

These characteristics of the paleosol or prehistoric soil, subjected to a climate of steady yearly rainfall, average annual temperatures of 17 degrees (63ºF), hot summers lacking in humidity and mild, yet contrasting winters, formed the current soils, known as Vertisols. The name is inspired by the vertical developments in the soil’s annual cycle which we identified as very suitable terroir for quality wines. The original clay formed more complex structures (expansive clays) that contract in summer when they dehydrate, generating very deep cracks that allow for the aeration of lower layers and simultaneously deposit sediments that fall into the cracks, transported by wind and water, deeper into the profile to the roots of the vegetation. During the winter, the clay hydrates, the cracks close, and the cycle begins again. If we imagine this cycle repeated over and over again for thousands of years, we can visualize how the soil acquired its characteristic vertical development, giving way to its viticultural aptitude: depth of rooting, moderate water restriction during ripening and nutritional balance.

The current soil surface is gently undulated, but the depth of the fertile soil layer varies, following the gilgai microrelief of the silts that gave rise to it. The distance from the sea is 23 km. These characteristics allow for the grapes to mature fully, with concentrated fruity aromas, high quality polyphenols in the skin, while maintaining a perfect balance of acidity. It is an ideal terroir for Tannat, resulting in balanced wines with sweet tannins and excellent cellaring capacity.