The point of this is not to brag (well, maybe a little), but more to show that I've got a pretty open mind when it comes to the wine regions of the world. Some of these have been more enjoyable than others, but overall I've had more pleasant surprises than unfortunate disappointments. And thus, I was particularly excited about the tasting hosted by Wines of Brasil.
Brazil is a relative newcomer on the international wine scene. The first Portuguese settlers were in the hot and humid north, a region that was terrible for wine grapes. Proper wine production didn't begin until the turn of the last century when Italian immigrants settled the cooler, drier southern regions like Campanha on the border with Uruguay. This is still a developing wine region: we tasted wines from the past seven vintages, and while nothing was spectacular, I think that there is some great potential. I've been tasting Chilean wines since the mid-90s and find them getting better and better each year. As the winemakers dial in the proper balance of grapes, soil, and style, and find the appropriate markets, I think they'll find a way to play to their strengths. In the meantime, an amusing anecdote...
I asked our host about how often Brazilian wines show up on the wine lists of fine dining restaurants in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. He chuckled and said, "When you are in one of those restaurants and see someone drinking Brazilian wine, that is a tourist. The Brazilians are only drinking European wines." Even with some growing interest in the beverage, the average Brazilian only consumes .33 litres of wine a year, and I've poured more than that into a single glass.
- 2010 Cave Geisse Nature - $20: Clean and crisp sparkling wine with just a little sweetness. A pleasant way to start the day of wine tasting at 9:30 in the morning.
- NV Casa Valduga 130 - $30
- 2011 Salton Virtude Chardonnay - $22
- 2012 Lidio Carraro Dádivas Chardonnay - $20
- 2009 Villagio Grando Chardonnay - $20
- 2007 Salton Desejo Merlot - $22: The first wine that really got my attention, with notes of mint, green herbs, tart cherry, and a little brash finish.
- 2009 Pizzato Reserva Merlot - $20
- 2009 Miolo Merlot Terroir - $24
- 2009 Pizzato Fausto Verve - $30: Earthy with mild cherry aromas and flavors. Gentle and well balanced, and including a little Tannat in the blend. Well worth a search, but not currently available in the US.
- 2006 Lidio Carraro Grande Vindima Quorum - $65
- 2009 Perini Qu4tro - $30
- 2007 Casa Valduga Villa Lobos - $39: This was one of my favorites, made in a very Bordeaux style with aromas of black cherry and green tobacco leaf. Medium tannins and a pleasant finish.
- 2008 Miolo Lote 43 - $30
- NV Aurora Carnaval Moscato Rosé - $15: More detailed notes are available from my previous tasting of this wine.
- At the PVA Event, I got an opportunity to try one additional wine from these guys that wasn't at the classroom tasting: 2008 Lidio Carraro Tannat Grande Vindima - $?? This was pretty memorable for the pure punch of the tannins and midnight black body. If you ever need to teach someone to recognize tannins on a wine, grab thee a flagon of Tannat and feel all of the moisture drain from your palate. I actually liked the rustic, gripping nature of this wine, and while I think food pairings would be difficult outside of pleasantly charred meats, it has a unique and fascinating character.
Note: This trip was provided by Snooth.