Have you tried any wine from Brasil before? Did you know that there are wineries in Brasil? You may think of the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janiero, but if you go to the cooler climate in Southern Brasil you will find vineyards that were started by European settlers in the 1500s and continues today.
I received 3 bottles of wines from the Terra Andina winery from South America to sample; a sparkling Moscato from Brasil, a Malbec from Argentina, and a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. I had to dig a little as I had not heard of Terra Andina before, but I did find out that it is owned by Santa Rita Estates from Chile. Santa Rita Estates includes the SANTA RITA, CARMEN, TERRA ANDINA, NATIVA and the DOÑA PAULA wineries. These 3 wines are all value priced in BC at $15.95, and all have stylish, laid back designs, which makes you think they are meant to be drunk and enjoyed with friends. And in fact that is what I did. I first tried the wines on my own, then later that day, with friends and food, we enjoyed these wines together, and I listened to what they thought of these wines.
Terra Andina Sparkling Moscato NV (Brasil)
A sparkling moscato is usually fairly low in alcohol, and this one was at 7.5%, which was good for those friends that were casual drinkers. This wine had a medium intensity youthful nose of orange and citrus, with a slight herbal edge. It is a bit sweeter than off-dry with quite high acidity. It had a very small creamy bubble that was quite enjoyable on the palate. Flavours again of citrus, orange, and that herbal edge. So not super complicated, but I think the overall favourite of my guests. We first tried the Moscato with antipasto on crackers; the sweetness and sourness of the antipasto pairing very nicely with sweetness of the Moscato and it’s citrus flavour. At the end of our meal, we had a vanilla cheesecake, and poured more of the Moscato; and again a nice pairing. The Moscato adding citrus flavour, and the acidity balancing out the creaminess of the cheese cake.
Terra Andina Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Chile)
Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that does well in the cooler regions of Chile, such as the Casablanca Valley. I am not sure where this one originates, but with the citrusy flavours, I would think it would be around this Valley. It had very fruity aromas of citrus and grapefuit, and had some jalpeno peper, floweriness and baby powder. Dry with medium plus acidity (making it quite tart), you get citrus grapefruit, pear, vanilla, and some tropical fruit up front. By the mid-palate it gets smoother and you taste a bit of peach. You get a mouthwatering finish, with some bitter grapefruit peel and some hotness on the back of your throat. It is an easy sipper, but with that high acidity you need some food with it. Another straightforward, fruit forward wine to enjoy.
Terra Andina Malbec 2012 (Argentina)
This Malbec was quite deep ruby red in the glass and had a nose with some youthful yet developing aromas of ripe raspberries, red cherries, plum, perfume and vanilla; and floating above those aromas was the aroma of cloves. Dry on the palate, but gave you sweetness on the tip of your tongue, which I attribute to the very juicy fruit flavours, with again raspberries, sweet cherries, and plums. The wine had a light mouthfeel, when I was expecting it to be heavy due to the very deep colour in the glass. On top of these fruit flavours, I also picked up on some violets and chocolate flavours, and then on the finish, cocoa and spice. The tannins are quite soft and the wine finishes fairly quickly. A bit more tannins to add some structure and length to this wine would make it better. As with the others, it is a wine to be drunk and enjoyed with friends and food. Several of the friends tasting the wines did like the Malbec as it had very soft tannins.
In case you haven’t made any travel plans for the Christmas holidays, you may want to consider Rio de Janeiro. It is a beautiful place with friendly people and good food. Here is a youtube video of the Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janiero. Enjoy!