New York, NY – Attention, wine lovers: the Wines of Brazil have made their way to the U.S. and are ready to take the country by storm. Internationally celebrated for its soccer players and its Rio Carnival, Brazil is also home to a variety of flavorful wines that will delight American consumers in search of young and fresh wines, at great value for money.
In a region known for its at times excessively powerful wines, Brazil stands out for its production of lighter, friendly and easy-drinking wines. Brazilian wines offer a surprising and high-quality alternative to your usual wines choices, being generally pressed from the varietals you love: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, both still or sparkling. Embodying the soul of the country, Brazilian wines are lively, aromatic and colorful, and will be the life of the party!
Brazilian Sparkling wines – the taste of celebrations
Shake up your habits and pop a Brazilian sparkling wine for your next festivities. Characterized by an exceptional acidity and freshness, they are ultimate crowd-pleasures. Many of the producers follow the méthode traditionnelle – the same as Champagne – Brazilian sparkling wines are mainly produced from Chardonnay, Italic Riesling, Pinot Noir and Muscat. Aromatic and vivacious, they can be enjoyed on their own as an aperitif, or with all kinds of every day food such as sushi and light salads.
Brazilian Red wines – the flavor of passion
Brazilian reds will delight every red wine lover: from fruity to earthier reds, the region is home to a palette of vibrant reds pressed mostly from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which produce elegant and structured wines. With lower alcohol contents than similar New World wines (around 11-12.5%), they can be sipped during the day, without fears of headiness. The wines’ aromatic flavors combined with mild tannins make them a perfect addition to the dinner table: fresh and young, they will not overwhelm your meal’s flavors. Sip them with a BBQ-grilled meat to feel like a proper Brazilian enjoying a churrasco, the country’s iconic ember-grilled steak.
A look inside Brazil
There are six wine regions in Brazil, covering an almost 2,500-mile distance along the country’s eastern border. 90% of the wineries are in Rio Grande do Sul, the state located in the southernmost part of Brazil, bordering Uruguay. The state is also on the same latitude as Argentina and South Africa:
- Serra Gaúcha – the leading region in terms of production, representing 85% of all wines produced in Brazil, it is recognized for its fruity reds and fine sparkling wines. The basaltic soil, humid climate and mild nights produce wines with a distinctive personality.
- Campos de Cima da Serra – known for its aromatic whites, and elegant and sophisticated reds, the region enjoys moderate temperatures and consistent winds, which guarantee healthy vines.
- Serra do Sudeste – celebrated for its low-yield vines and delicate wines with great minerality, this mountainous region is recognized as one of the most promising wine areas in Brazil.
- Campanha – located in the south, bordering Uruguay and Argentina, the region is devoted to vinifera grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, but also Tannat and Tempranillo, and is recognized for its flavorful reds.
- Planalto Catarinense – known for its high-altitude vineyards, Planalto Catarinense is celebrated for its fresh still and sparkling whites. The region is also developing an interesting organic and biodynamic wine production.
- Vale Do São Francisco – the most northern vineyard in Brazil, its grapes have higher sugar levels, creating bold and fruity wines. The region is also known for its full-bodied reds, high-quality Moscato sparkling wines and exceptional yields with two harvests a year.
About Wines of Brasil
Wines of Brasil, is an organization that represents 34 wineries that produce wines in six appellations: Serra Gaúcha, Campos de Cima da Serra, Serra do Sudeste, Campanha, Planalto Catarinense, Vale Do São Francisco.
The main mission of the Wines of Brasil project is to promote the quality of Brazilian wines in the international market. To achieve this goal, its work starts within the wineries, providing producers with guidance on how to export, which results in promotional campaigns in different parts of the world, including the participation in wine fairs and direct contact with trade agents and opinion makers.
The Brazilian wineries produced for the export market over 2.2 million liters and commercialized to 36 countries from January to December 2016. The exports to the USA market have increased 34.64 % in 2016.
Visit www.winesofbrasil.com for more information, or follow Wines of Brasil on Instagram (@brazilianwines), Faceebok (Wines of Brasil) and Twitter (@WinesofBrasil)
With a geographical size similar to the US and distinct climates, soils and terroirs, its no surprise that Australia boasts an array of wine styles, regions and grape varieties for you to experience.
This was an intriguing teaser to a recent Australian wine event I attended. I went in knowing very little about Australian white wines so I signed up for their seminar, and then knew I would enjoy the walk around tasting to get my fill of the wines I was more familiar with: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignons and many Bordeaux and Rhone blends.
SEMINAR – White Wines: Unique Expressions of Australian Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay
Australia is blessed with regions and climates that can produce truly world-class wines from the noblest of vines. Discover the many exciting expressions of Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay being produced across Australia’s diverse wine regions. Presented by special guests and winemakers, and moderated by Wine Australia.
Our Seminar Panelists
Fahara Zamorano – Head Sommelier, Gwen LA; Matt Kaner – Owner, Bar Covell & Augustine; Kyle Meyer – Wine Exchange; Bruce Tyrrell – Tyrrell’s Wines; Jeff Burch – Howard Park Wines; Jeff McWilliam – McWilliam’s Wines; Mark Davidson, Wine Australia (Moderator).
Seminar Wines – Flavors and Aromas separated by ;
Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Hunter Semillon Hunter Valley 2011 – Green apple, pineapple lemon zest, Mandarin orange and white pepper all on the nose; with lemon-lime, bruised apple and a medium acidity on the palate. 90 Eve pts.
Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon Hunter Valley 2009 – I smelled apple, pear, fresh lemon, pears in light syrup; then tasted bright and tangy fresh fruit – same as those I found on the nose. 90 Eve pts.
Ashbrook Estate Semillon Margaret River 2015 – Perfumy aroma, then bruised yellow apple, cream and a pale hint of cinnamon; viscous on the mouth, as well as slightly paler fruit and a long finish. 90 Eve pts.
Silkman Estate Semillon Hunter Valley 2015 – Lemon, toast, grapefruit and unsalted butter on the nose; followed by tart apple and limeade on the palate. 90 Eve pts.
Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling Eden Valley 2011 – Fruit cocktail, green grass to yellow hay, floral and bright; that same bright quality came through on the taste as well as lemon, grass, acidity, bone dry. 90 Eve pts.
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling Clare Valley 2016 – Bright aromas of pears and kiwi fruit; followed by lemon, orange and steel on the palate. 90 Eve pts.
Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling Frankland River 2015 – Green apple, crushed green leaves and a whiff of orange on the nose; the palate was very sharp citrus fruit: lemon and orange, a slight viscosity and a long dry finish. 90 Eve pts.
Pressing Matters R9 Riesling Tasmania 2015 – My favorite of all the white wines I tasted with aromas of sweet orange blossoms, apple pie and a bit of cream; then came a slightly sweet and lingering fresh lemon-lime fruit on the mouth. 91 Eve pts. (All of the Riesling shared the same bone dry quality, except this expression from Tasmania.)
McWilliam’s 842 Chardonnay Tumbarumba 2013 – Fresh oak, honey, barnyard, earth, citrus, butter and white pepper on the nose; then the taste was tart, some oak and apple. 91 Eve pts.
Moorooduc Estate Chardonnay Mornington Peninsula 2012 – Earthy, dried apple, butter, clove and steely; then bruised apple, tart with medium acid. 90 Eve pts.
Howard Park Miamup Chardonnay Margaret River 2015 – Toast, lemon, cream, and a general feeling of being in a sweet floral garden; the flavors were bright, tart and citrusy with a medium acidity and long finish. 89 Eve pts.
Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2014 – Creamery butter, lemon and green fields; then that same lemon on the mouth, but light, and a leaner acidity. 89 Eve pts.
What I Learned From Our Panelists and the White Wine Tasting
One of our panelists stated that if you remotely expect that a Semillon from Australia would taste like one from Bordeaux, France you would be dead wrong. If you thought that a Riesling from Australia would taste like its German counterpart you would be equally wrong. My tasting notes above probably express this.
Australia is considered a New World wine area, however, Meyer would like us to see their wines as truly old world, but with an edge. The vines are very old, the area is larger than Europe and Phylloxera has never hit them.
The 12 elite wineries in “Australia’s First Families of Wine” group have several criteria to meet including their dedication to promote Australian wine to the global market, 100% family owned and have to have at least a 20 year vertical.
Next week I will run part two of the tasting, the reds I got to try, on June 16 here on this blog.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
The 7th edition of Vinitaly Hong Kong put wine education as the main focus of the promotional activities during the Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Fair. Ian D’Agata, Scientific Director of Vinitaly International Academy, in fact, conducted a number of Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) Executive Wine Seminars as well as other educational tastings, while wine2wine Asia provided educational and networking opportunities for exhibitors. VIA students living in Asia came to Hong Kong prepared to sustain their final oral exam administered by Ian D’Agata. Two VIA students, Jinglin Zhang (Beijing) and Wai Xin Chan (Singapore) were named Italian Wine Experts, while Shirley Tan (Shanghai) achieved level two Italian Wine Ambassador.
Ian D’Agata was pleasantly surprised by the results and remarked, “the level of proficiency that I witnessed during the oral exam of both Wai Xin Chan and Jinglin Zhang were nearly the best or best that I have seen since the academy opened.” He added, “perhaps the most wonderful aspect of VIA, is the community that is being created through the shared experience of Italian wine education. All over the world, VIA students are connecting and making lasting friendships.”
Wai Xin Chan from Singapore, left a career in Information Technology and dove into the wine world, where he has established himself as a successful wine communicator. Among his qualifications, Wai Xin is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and a French Wine Scholar (FWS). Wai Xin attended the Academy in Verona, last March 2015, and was the first to be awarded the title of Italian Wine Ambassador in South East Asia. He also reports on the local wine scene in a number of Singapore magazine and on-line publications
Jinglin Zhang, left North Eastern China for studies in France. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business and went on to obtain a master degree in Marketing. She holds a WSET level 4 diploma, currently works at Berry Bros & Rudd in London and recently launched a new blog, “When Bach Meets Barolo”. She has a passion for wines from smaller producers, and hopes to start an export business with e-commerce distribution back home in China.
Shirley Tan got her start in the wine business as a sales manager with Veuve Clicquot China. After six years with the LVMH group, she went on to launch a successful Wine import and distribution company, East Meets West Fine Wines (EMW) in 2003. After 10 years of rapid expansion, she relinquished her stakes in the company to found the China Knot Consulting firm. China Knot has worked with various wine organizations and businesses, including Istituto Grandi Marchi, Decanter, Gaja, Pio Cesare and more.
The third and final day of Vinitaly Hong Kong opened with the last session of wine2wine Asia, the educational business forum dedicated to exhibitors and visiting wine industry professionals. Debra Meiburg MW moderated “ABC to wine trade in China” with Jonathan Mather, Hong Kong based ASC Fine Wines Import, Giulia Chen Federexport, Alan Hung Executive Director PACCO and Chengdu Shangri La organizer, Shirley Tan China Knot Ltd., Fabio Piccoli Wine Meridian.
JC Viens, founder of Grande Passione and a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, ran the third day of back-to-back wine tastings with hardly a seat empty. True to the name of his company, he brought “grande passione” to each session, with an approach to wine that offers technical “pro” insight while at the same time, involving the audience with story telling, colourful anecdotes, and folklore.
Stevie Kim, Managing Director of Vinitaly International, is pleased to see the positive reception of the various initiatives that Vinitaly International was able to bring to Hong Kong this year. She explains, “At Vinitaly Hong Kong, in addition to the traditional B2B booths represented by Italian Wineries, we were able to finally connect the dots and connect to the world by showcasing both wine2wine and the Vinitaly International Academy. Spreading the gospel about Italian Wine in this part of the world is often challenging, especially compared with the wines from French or the New World, and hence can be aided by adding a touch of “La Dolce Vita”.”
Made-in-Italy was also the protagonist of the Vinitaly Lounge where attendees were able to taste some typical Italian food thanks to the collaboration with TUTTOFOOD Milano World Food Exhibition with whom Vinitaly International will be carrying out a number of initiatives in 2017.
“We hope that the Vinitaly Lounge with Italian Food and Lifestyle setting, coupled with Vinitaly Wine Bar represented by awardees from 5StarWines, engaged the attendees enough to trigger further interest in the Italian Wine community and hopefully have them also come visit Italy,” adds Stevie Kim, concluding, with a tongue in cheek, “when more attendees come to visit Italian Wineries, to discover its territory, it is one step further toward making America great again.”
wine2wine Asia sessions were recorded live and can still be viewed on our Facebook page: @vinitalyinternational
Veronafiere is the leading organizer of trade shows in Italy including Vinitaly (http://www.vinitaly.com), the largest wine and spirits fair in the world. During its 49th edition, Vinitaly counted some 4,000 exhibitors on a 100,000 square meter area and 150,000 visitors including 2,600 journalists from 46 different countries. The next edition of the fair will take place on 10 – 13 April 2016. The premier event to Vinitaly, OperaWine (http://www.vinitalyinternational.com) “Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers,” will unite international wine professionals on April 9th in the heart of Verona, offering them the unique opportunity to discover and taste the wines of the 100 Best Italian Producers, as selected by Wine Spectator. Since 1998, Vinitaly International has traveled to several countries such as Russia, China, USA and Hong Kong thanks to its strategic arm abroad, Vinitaly International. In February 2014, Vinitaly International launched an educational project, the Vinitaly International Academy (VIA), with the aim of divulging and broadcasting the excellence and diversity of Italian wine around the globe. VIA has now also organized its very first Certification Course with the aim of creating new Ambassadors of Italian Wine in the World.
The Legend of Neil Roberts and The Temptress of Templeton
There is a story the old-timers in Paso Robles sometimes tell, when they are on their third or fourth bottle of zinfandel. With a little prodding, you might get to hear the story of how, back in the 1880s, Neil Roberts rescued a young lady known only as the Temptress of Templeton from a band of marauding cattle rustlers.
Actually, I just made that up.
Neil Roberts owns Roberts Vineyard Services and, more importantly to you, Clavo Cellars. The Temptress of Templeton? Well, more on her later.
I first met Neil at a Rhone Rangers event in Santa Monica several years ago. At the time, I thought his 2006 Petite Sirah [called Dreamer] was terrific – truthfully, I still think about that wine.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was only his third vintage as a commercial winemaker. Not that he was a neophyte in the industry. He worked as a vineyard consultant before joining the Mondavi family in 1996 as their lead viticulturist on the Central Coast, eventually forming his own company, Roberts Vineyard Services, in 2006, which manages a few dozen vineyards up and down the Central Coast, from Santa Barbara County to Monterey County.
That’s his day job.
By night, he dons a mask and cape and roams the hills of the Templeton Gap stopping evil wherever he finds it…no, there I go again. Although Neil is in fact a do-gooder, but more on that later as well.
What he does do is select some of the grapes from the vineyards he manages to produce a small amount of wine under his Clavo Cellars label as well as the Two Moons Cellars label [which is a collaboration between Neil and his partner in the project John Gleason]. [In Neil’s typical lack-of-ego approach, he named his winery Clavo which means “nail” in Spanish, a nickname given to him by the vineyard workers.]
Neil’s wines tend to be released later than most, spending a little more time in barrel and bottle before offered to the customer. Current releases of whites being poured in the tasting room are a 2011 Viognier, 2011 Grenache Blanc and a 2012 blend of Marsanne and Grenache Blanc called Aporia [which was awarded 92 points from the Wine Enthusiast]. Current releases of reds average a little older, a 2010 Syrah and a 2010 Zinfandel were being poured along with a 2011 Mourvedre and Syrah blend called Ardor. The Syrah was awarded a Bronze at the latest Central Coast Wine Competition, while the Zin got 90 points from the Wine Enthusiast and Golds at the Sunset International Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition [Ardor also received a Gold at this one]. His wines are also poured by the glass at the Bellagio in Las Vegas as well as scheduled to be on tap at Kitchenette and 15 Degrees C in Templeton.
My purposes in rattling off these scores and medals from prestigious competitions is to point out that Clavo is quietly establishing its reputation as a high-quality winery, with wines that I would describe as in more of an old-world style but with new-world fruit. Nothing overpowering, but they definitely drink nicely. And they age well too. Neil opened a few library wines, including a 2004 Syrah which was his first commercially made wine. Neil thought it was a little past its prime; I thought it was amazing.
In the middle of our tasting, before switching from whites to reds, Neil had a couple of surprises for us. One was a white blend he called Adora, made of 75% Malvasia and 25% Orange Muscat. Picked at 30 brix but finished pretty darn dry, and at only 12% alcohol it was what Neil referred to in highly technical wine terminology as a “porch pounder”.
The other surprise? Well, I’m finally back to the Temptress of Templeton.
When he’s not managing vineyards and making wine, once a year you can find Neil wearing a pair of ladies shoes. Does this mean that he is the Temptress of Templeton? Nah. He participates in fundraising for the annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event for RISE, an organization that “provides crisis intervention and treatment services to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and their loved ones.”
Which points out that Neil is, as I mentioned above, a do-gooder or good-doer or something like that. And his latest project is more of that.
As I said, Neil surprised us with two more white wines before we moved on to reds. One was the aforementioned Adora. The other was an absolutely delicious 2014 Torrontes [a grape that originated in Spain] under the label of Temptress of Templeton. A joint project of Neil’s and Ali Carscaden of 15 Degrees C in Templeton, proceeds from the sale of this wine go to Courtney’s House: A developed adult autistic center.
But, I guess the question remains. Who is the Temptress of Templeton? Is it just the wine label? Is it Ali? Is it Neil when he wears red pumps for a cause? I dunno. Visit Neil at Clavo Cellars, taste his wines and ask him.
Clavo Cellars, 315 S Main St., Templeton, CA 93465
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com