Brazilian Wine

Cabs from Brazil.

When you think of Brazil, you probably think of samba, beaches, Carnival, meat-laden churrascaria restaurants, and “The Girl from Ipanema.”

Wine?

Not so much.

But according to wine importer Stepan Baghdassarian of Rio Joe’s Brands, Inc., Brazilian wines may be relatively new in the United States, yet they have a long history in Brazil. Indeed, the Pizzato family, who immigrated from Italy to Southern Brazil in 1870, is a pioneer in the wine-making industry there.

The Pizzato Winery now produces 200,000 bottles annually of Bordeaux varietals. The family owns two vineyards — the Pizzato vineyards,  in the Vale dos Vinhedos appellation in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil, adjacent to Uruguay and Argentina. They also own Fausto Vineyards, in the larger appellation of Serra Gaúcha, which is 50 kilometers north of Valle dos Vinhedos and the winery.

When Baghdassarian offered to send me two bottles to sample, I jumped at the chance to try wines I’d never had before. I opened both bottles of Cabarnet Sauvignon over a dinner of hearty beef stew.

The Pizzato 2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99) smelled of earth and barnyard. The fruit in it was subtle. Overall, I found this wine a bit harsh and sharp. It lacked cohesiveness and balance.

The Fausto by Pizzato 2005 Cabarnet Sauvignon ($15.99) fared better. Again, there was the smell of earth and violets. But this one had more notes of currants and other black fruits, as well as a little licorice and smoke.

If you’d like to test your taste buds with Brazilian wines, as well, you can find them at Sousa’s Wine & Liquor in Mountain View, Espetus Churrascaria in San Mateo and San Francisco, Cleo’s Steakhouse in San Bruno, and Pampas in Palo Alto.

Make a promise this year to try wine from a country you’ve never experienced before. It’s a commitment worth drinking to.

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Date: Friday, 17. April 2009 5:36
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16 comments

  1. 1

    Great information and review! I have only had one Brazilian wine before and it was tasty. Do you know if there are any varietals that are unique to the country?

  2. 2

    I love Brazilian wines and buy them on a regular basis! I don’t know these bottles, though…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. 3

    Rosa: So which Brazilian wines do you like?

    CG the Foodie: This link has a lot of info on the history on wine-making in Brazil, http://www.brazilian-wines.com/en/brazilie_historie.asp

  4. 4

    My husband who visits Brazil a lot says that Cabernet Savignon is probably not the best grape for Brazil and such grapes as Carmenere or pinot noir are excellent in that region. I personally haven’t tried any wines from Brazil yet but we’ve had many Argentinian wines.

  5. 5

    I’m coming around to South American wines. Bonarda from Argentina is a new favorite of mine, so I’ll definitely look for these to try them.

  6. 6

    Thanks for the review! We’ve had excellent wines from Argentina and Chile but have not seen any from Brazil (I’ll alert the hubs/resident sommelier to be on the lookout). However, we do love cachaça and the resulting caipirinhas!

  7. 7

    interesting… I’ve never hear of wine from Brazil. But then again until a few years ago I never heard of wine from Chile and now its all over the place! I’ll keep an eye out next time I’m looking to try a new bottle.

  8. 8

    Did you take this photograph? Will be on the lookout for these… I never think to buy Brazilian wines, Miami seems to have an overabundance of Chilean and Argentinian wines, but I trust that the Brazilian wines are just as delicious! Great Post!

  9. 9

    There are some Argentinian and Chilean wines I like, but I can’t say I’ve ever tried Brazilian wines. I do love Portuguese wines though, so I’m thinking I need to give the region a try.

  10. 10

    Food of Miami: Yes, I did take this photo. In fact, the wine glass is part of a pair my sister-in-law gave me. And the glass and bottles are sitting on my Crate & Barrel tray. ;)

  11. 11

    Hi CJ,

    I agree with the first paragraph having spent time in Brazil. I had no idea they had a wine industry. Even in Brazil in restaurants you don’t really see this. Very cool post, I’ll look for some and try it.

    –Marc

  12. 12

    Your photos are getting SOOOOO good!!!!!

  13. 13

    People usually know Brazil for its warm an beautiful beaches… But we also have a cooler country region at the south, and most wines come from this place.
    As a Brazilian I usually drink wines from Brazil, Chile and Argentina and I think they are quite good. Anyway, I’m not a wine expert, so I’m really glad to know that we have good products here!

  14. 14

    Thanks Food Gal for your review.
    These PIZZATO Wines are available in California, Nevada, Oregon and New York City as well as online at http://www.RioJoes.com.
    Brazil is making delicious wines. Try them next time you see them on a wine list.

  15. 15

    ah Carolyn i’m glad it was you who wrote this!! ah i wish i saw this last april….i actually found it in google. i’m moving to brazil in february, and last time i was there, well i guess i only had cheep wine, but, it was terrib;le fruit juice. so i’ve had a bad impression in my head. i’m going to look for this exact one – the fausto, maybe not the barn yard tasting one :P , but a cab sauvignon with bitter licorice tastes…woohoo! im less worried about the death of my wine enthusiasm when moving to no-wine land now :) thanks for this article!

  16. 16

    Mallory: Have a wonderful time in Brazil. Can’t wait to hear about all your wine and food adventures there.

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