Brazilians favour cachaca and beer more than wine, but courageous Italian immigrants have been planting vineyards and making wine since their arrival in large numbers in the 18th century and later on.
Although Brazil has a population of 180 million, the per capita wine consumption is approximately two litres, yet even with this low consumption pattern the fledgling industry started producing respectable wines since 2000.
Portuguese were the first to plant vines in 1532 in Sao Paulo. Spanish started vineyards in 1626 in Rio Grande de Sul, but later abandoned them because of humidity.
Immigrants from Madeira and Azores islands tries to revive vineyards again in the 18th century and planted vitis vinifera varieties, which could not survive the humid climate.
The first successful hybrid was Isabella in Rio Grande de Sul in 1840’s. When large groups of Italian immigrants arrived late in the 19th century, they decided to plant Barbera, Bonarda, Moscato, and Trebbiano with which they were familiar and had experience to grow. All survived, but failed to produce quality commensurate to European standards.
Only at the beginning of the 20th century a relatively solid wine industry was established mainly to feed the population of the Rio de Janeiro and tourists.
Moet et Chandon from France, ad Martini e Rossi from Italy were instrumental in establishing modern wineries, and small wineries quickly learned the importance of selecting vineyard locations carefully, planting the right varieties, and using modern technology.
Today, Chardonnay, Semillon, Gewurztraminer, Riesling Italico, Cabernet Franc, merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon are widely planted and vinified for varietal wines and blends.
In Brazil varietal wines must contain a minimum of 85 per cent of the grape variety on the label. Other than this there are no appellations or controls imposed.
Now vineyards are planted on high altitudes and on slopes to compensate for the hot climate. Although most people think of Brazil as a tropical country, there are several regions that are relatively cool.
Yields are kept low approximately six tons per hectare and often much lower to increase flavour intensity, at least for export quality. Recently, a dozen Brazilian winemakers ad marketers visited Toronto to offer their best.
Leopoldo, 2007, Santo Emilio – a blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon was well balanced, and full bodied offering intense berry aromas.
Maestrale, 2006, Sanjo – A Cabernet Sauvignon varietal offered black currant aromas and berry flavours but still had a tannic texture. Beef specialties paired with this wine would increase enjoyment.
Conventes, 2006, Pizzato – a Blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat offers appealing berry aromas, is full bodied with a good grip in the finish. Pair with medium-rare steaks, beef stews, hard cheeses.
Safra, 2005, Pizzato has a deep intense red colour, appealing berry aromas, a full body, and layered flavours.
Quorum, 2006, Lidia Carraro – is a powerful, robust wine bursting with fruit and abundant depth of flavours.
Above wineries and wines are represented in Ontario and will be happy to pace orders for you.
The best export market for Brazilian wines is the U.S.A, and with increasing German tourists, Germany is developing nicely.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.