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  • Natalie Shelley

Brazilian wines come to the UK

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

June’s tasting brought Nick Corfe to the Marlow Wine Society monthly meeting to introduce a selection of eight wines from his company Go Brazil Go Brazil imports and distributes Brazilian-only wines to the UK market – a niche and unique enterprise that has been running for some seven years. The company ships in wines from smaller, boutique viticulturists in Brazil.

Nick’s focus for the meeting was on the southern reaches of this vast country – the Rio Grande do Sul region – bordering Uruguay to the south/south west and Paraguay to the west.

The four white wines and four reds presented were:

1. Wine: BRUT MALBEC ROSÉ; Grape(s): Malbec ; Geography: Serra Gaucha; Producer: Don Guerino; Year: NV ; ABV: 11.5 %; Price: £ 14.00

100% Malbec, Charmat (‘tank’) method fizz with three months lees ageing. Very attractive mid-salmon pink colour in well-presented bottle. Plenty of ripe summer berry fruits on nose, with strawberry dominating. Dry to off-dry on the palate, while aromas of gentle berry fruit continue. Soft mousse and decent bubbles. Overall it is well made, with well-judged acidity and some length to the finish. Lowish alcohol, so ideal for lunchtime and/or party drinking.

2. Wine: SINAIS SAUVIGNON BLANC ; Grape(s): Sauvignon Blanc ; Geography: Serra Gaucha; Producer: Don Guerino; Year: 2018 ; ABV: 13%; Price: £ 11.00

Produced by the above Don Guerino winery in the Serra Gaúcha, but using grapes sourced from the neighbouring region of Campos da Cima da Serra (altitude +/- 970m), this is a fruit-driven style of Sauvignon Blanc. Very pale with green tinges, wine has ripe tropical aromas, especially of guava, with hints of citrus, nettle and capsicum. Light and dry on palate, with a clean refreshing acidity. A slight lemon or sherbet spritz may be discernible, while the finish shows delicate citrus notes. Highly versatile, can be served as an aperitif or paired with seafood, fish or white meat.

3. Wine: 'VINTAGE' TORRONTES; Grape(s): TORRONTES ; Geography: Serra Gaucha; Producer: Don Guerino; Year: 2019; ABV: 12%; Price: £ 14.00

A fine example of this relatively unknown but distinctive Argentine grape variety (the hybrid here is called Torrontés Riojano, the most widely planted). Wine is clear and bright with pronounced floral nose, a jasmine scent especially showing through. Unoaked, light to medium bodied, palate is lively with tropical notes of passion fruit and citrus. Highish level of acidity makes wine very refreshing; finish is long, with a residual tang of lemon and lime. Drink on its own or pair with light starters, white fish, chicken or ham dishes.

4. Wine: RESERVA CHARDONNAY; Grape(s): CHARDONNAY; Geography: Serra Gaucha; Producer: Don Guerino; Year: 2018; ABV: 13%; Price: £ 15.00

Elegant single varietal Chardonnay from 15-year-old vines in the Alto Feliz region of the Serra Gaúcha hills. Remains on lees for three months, then aged in French barrels for three months prior to bottling. Clear, pale yellow-gold colour. Clean and fresh nose, clearly oaked, yet with rich tropicality: citric notes combine with pineapple, melon and peach. Medium bodied and with fresh acidity, palate shows restrained nectarine stone fruit, well integrated with oak. Lingering lemon and lime finish. Delicious on its own, lightly chilled, but try with creamy chicken dishes, risottos or smoked salmon.

5. Wine: 'VINTAGE' MALBEC; Grape(s): Malbec ; Geography: Serra Gaucha; Producer: Don Guerino; Year: 2017; ABV: 13%; Price: £ 15.00

‘Sister’ wine to Torrontés above, this is a 100% Malbec, aged in both American and French oak for approximately six months, then rests another six months in bottle prior to release. Vibrant and youthful fruit on nose with strong varietal violet and mulberry notes, maybe also hint of tobacco. Restrained plummy and blackcurrant fruit on super smooth palate, lovely caramel flavours and well-integrated oak. Medium bodied, dry, with decent acidity; some ageing potential.

6. Wine: RESERVA TEROLDEGO; Grape(s): Teroldego; Geography: Serra Gaucha; Producer: Don Guerino; Year: 2017; ABV: 13%; Price: £ 16.00

Seldom seen grape variety of NE Italian origin, this is a 100% example from 17-year-old vines. Aged in both French and American oak for 6 months, then a further six months in bottle before release. Very deep inky purple in colour. Concentration of youthful dark fruits on nose, then a black cherry core with liquorice, vanilla, maybe some smokiness too. Tannins still in evidence but wine is smooth, High acidity, modest tannins. Recommended with roast lamb or pork.

7. Wine: TRES BOCAS; Grape(s): Tannat, Cab Sauvignon, Ruby Cabernet; Geography: Campanha Oriental; Producer: Campos De Sima; Year: 2016; ABV: 13%; Price: £ 14.00

From SW Brazil, an intriguing, unoaked red blend comprising Tannat (55%), Cab Sauvignon (35%) and Ruby Cabernet (10%). Concentrated dark hedgerow fruits on nose, with damson and bramble showing strongly. Palate is well rounded, with a gamey or savoury character, while other notes of liquorice, fig, mint and herbaceousness add complexity. Warm ripe tannins are sufficiently robust to ensure wine can be kept for another 2-3 years. Try with lightly spiced dishes, steaks or casseroles.

8. Wine: GRAN RESERVA TRAҪOS; Grape(s): Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, Teroldego, Tannat, Ancellotta; Geography: Serra Gaucha; Producer: Don Guerino; Year: 2015; ABV: 13.5%; Price: £ 30.00

Flagship red from this leading family-owned winery, made only in the best vintages. Unusually, features five grape varieties: Merlot, Tannat, Cab Sauvignon, Teroldego and Ancellotta. Spends 12 months in oak prior to bottling: 60% of blend in new French and 40% in new American barrels. Very dense, deep purple colour; blackcurrant, damson and black plum most evident on nose, perhaps also some hints of smoke or spice. Bold, persistent and quite savoury on palate, with mellowing tannins providing great structure and lovely long aftertaste. Definitely a food wine, so best matched with steaks, roasts, venison or mature hard cheeses. Ideally decant; wine has great ageing potential.

Members’ favourites

Members voted for their favourite wines, as usual. The results were: favourite white wine number 4 and favourite red number 8 (but it was the most expensive!)

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