WorldWine Tasting Report

2013-10-14

Samba and Bossa Nova

Our top wines             
 

Brazil's advance onto the international markets which I have discussed in a separate article, of which the English version will be published on these pages in a couple of days, is under way. During a press trip, to which ENO WorldWine was gratefully invited by Wines of Brazil, I had the opportunity to taste more than 100 wines from 15 winemakers. Some of the wines were outstanding, some much less so.


Morning fog in the Vale dos Vinhedos. Only contours of the buildings of Brazil's leading winery Miolo are perceptible. (photos: E. Supp)

First of all I must confess that it remains a mystery to me why so many winemakers of the Vale dos Vinhedos and the surrounding Serry Gaúcha - 80 per cent of the countries "fine (vinifera) wines" come from here - are convinced that Merlot is their best and most important variety. It is a fact that Merlot shows up in many of the blends which we have rated best during our tastings, but mostly as one (minority) partner, not standing alone. And that is no real surprise if you consider that truly great and outstanding wines are seldom made just from Merlot, even elsewhere in the world.

The best single variety wines - if you believe the labels - of our tastings were made from other, quite surprising varieties such as Teroldego, Ancellotta, Alicante Bouschet and Tannat and - a little less of a surprise - from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Also a big surprise was the quality - finesse and depth - of one or two Chardonnays which, although the general level of Brazil's whites seems far behind that of the reds, were very convincing.

Among the very best wines on our trip we found number of sparklers of which I would have loved to confront the best, bottle fermented ones, in a blind tasting with Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and all the others. If such a comparison would have produced another big surprise? Leaders of the pack were a Blanc de blancs brut by Don Guerino and the Brut millésime by Don Giovanni which, unfortunately, is not commercialized and was specially disgorged for us "à la volée". Both perfectly represent the enormous potential of the Serra Gaúcha for this category.

As far as the overall level of excellence of the wineries is concerned, Brazil's undiscussed quality leader certainly is the Miolo group with its various brands, followed by Don Guerino whose wines show very good regularity although they received slightly lower top ratings. Pizzato too, in the Vale dos Vinhedos, offered very good wines, even though the declared top wine of the cellar did convince much less than other bottles. Leader of the sparkling producers was undoubtedly Don Giovanni from the new and very small appellation of Pinot Bandeira close to Bento Gonçalves, primo inter pares of a neighbourhood to which also belong Casa Geisse and Maximo Boschi. Casa Valduga, Peterlongo, Lidio Carraro (forget about the anonymous FIFA-world-cup-label "Faces") and the huge co-operative Aurora, Villa Francionni and Almaúnica all showed decent to good qualities.


Hospitality was great, wherever we showed up on our tour  and food was so too like in the restaurant of sparkling specialist Don giovanni.

For the adventurous wine lover, Brazil already offers a lot. If this is already enough to convince consistent numbers of wine lovers around the world to fancy the wines of Samba and Bossa Nova is certainly quite another question. If the Brazilians succeed in developing a coherent marketing concept and to translate it into export activities, they certainly should be able to conquer reasonable market shares at least at their key destinations.

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Our complete tastings (comments in German)

Almaúnica - Valduga
Valduga

 

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ENO WorldWine's 26 top scorers

*****Quinta do Seival - Miolo (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Campanha Gaúcha Sesmarias 2011
 
*****Don Guerino, LTDA (Alto Feliz) - Serra Gaúcha Blanc de Blancs brut 2011
 
*****Vinicola Miolo Ltda. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale dos Vinhedos Lote 43 2011
 
*****Don Giovanni (Pinto Bandeira) - Pinto Bandeira IP Brut millésime 2009
 
*****Vinicola Miolo Ltda. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Campanha Gaúcha Tannat Vinhas Velhas Almadén 2012
 
*****Don Guerino, LTDA (Alto Feliz) - Serra Gaúcha Teroldego Reserva 2012
 
**** +Don Guerino, LTDA (Alto Feliz) - Serra Gaúcha Ancellotta Gran Reserva 2007
 
**** +Aurora LTDA. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Serra Gaúcha Cabernet Sauvignon Millésime 2009
 
**** +Vinicola Miolo Ltda. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale dos Vinhedos Lote 43 2008
 
**** +Pizzato (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Serra Gaúcha Verve Gran Reserva 2010
 
**** +Quinta do Seival - Miolo (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Campanha Gaúcha Castas Portuguesas 2011
 
**** +Vinicola Miolo Ltda. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale do São Francisco Syrah Testardi 2012
 
**** +Pizzato (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale dos Vinhedos DO Concentus Gran Reserva 2008
 
**** +Pizzato (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale dos Vinhedos DO Alicante Bouschet 2006 Reserva
 
**** +Vinicola Miolo Ltda. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale dos Vinhedos DO Merlot Terroir 2011
 
****Don Giovanni (Pinto Bandeira) - Pinto Bandeira IP Dona Bita brut 1 o. J.
 
****Don Guerino, LTDA (Alto Feliz) - Serra Gaúcha Merlot Reserva 2012
 
****Don Guerino, LTDA (Alto Feliz) - Serra Gaúcha Tannat Reserva 2012
 
****Don Guerino, LTDA (Alto Feliz) - Serra Gaúcha Moscatel Rosé 1 o. J.
 
****Pizzato (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale dos Vinhedos DO Merlot 2010 Reserva
 
****Vinicola Miolo Ltda. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Campanha Gaúcha Tannat Family Vineyards 2011
 
****Vinicola Miolo Ltda. (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Vale dos Vinhedos DO Brut Millésime 2011
 
****Lovara - Miolo (Bento Gonçalves) - Vale dos Vinhedos Gran Lovara 2006
 
****Maximo Boschi (Bento Gonçalves - RS) - Serra Gaúcha Extra Brut Speciale 2007
 
****Peterlongo (Garibaldi - RS) - Serra Gaúcha Brut Élegance metodo tradicional 1 o. J.
 
****Don Guerino, LTDA (Alto Feliz) - Serra Gaúcha Chardonnay Victoria 2013

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