Monday, December 17, 2007

2006 Miolo Cabernet Savignon

Wineries are popping up all over the world these days and wine is being produced in even the most remote and unlikely places. I rather enjoy tasting wine from unknown places even though this often leads to dissapointment. Anyway this Brazilian wine caught my attention in the local supermarket, and seeing I had not tasted any wine from Brazil before I grabbed a bottle.

Initially I thought Brazil was new to wine production. However, that could not be further from the truth. Wine production in Brazil has as long a history as Australia albeit not as illustrious or successful. The late 1800's saw the vine introduced by Italian migrants who brought a wine tradition when they settled in the southern half of the country. While wine has been produced in Brazil since this time, it only started to develop in the 1960s. The 1990s saw serious exports including to the US. It was around this time that the Brazilian Wine Institute was established.

The past decades have seen a lot of investment in wine technology, and there is no doubt that the wine quality continue toimprove in the coming years. How much improvement remains to be seen. The big hurdle for the Brazilians to overcome is climate. According to Jancis Robinson the climate is too tropical meaning that rain and fungal diseases are perennial problems. As a result it is to difficult to allow the grapes sufficient hangtime to fully ripe. There are also critics that say two harvests in a year weakens the vines. How true this is I am not sure.

Miolo wines is a family owned winery that is known as one of the better producers in Brazil. Established in 1847 it has vineyards in all five of Brazils wine-producing regions: Vale dos Vinhedos, Vale do São Francisco, Campanha, Campos de Cima da Serra and Serra Gaúcha. The winery is modern and employs modern winemaking techniques and technology.

This Miolo Cabernet Sauvignon wine comes from a vineyard located in Vale dos Vinhedos - the first Brazilian denominação de origem contralada (DOC) or appellation. Vale dos Vinhedos is a sub region of the largest wine region in Brazil, Serra Gaúcha, which has 8000 hectares under vine and produces 90% of Brazilian wines. Here is my tasting note:

The saignée process was used to increase colour depth and it has certainly worked as this wine is a deep red / purple with excellent depth. The nose, although not powerful, is a nice combination black cassis fruit and some oak. Soft and round on the palate with some nice cassis fruit and soft tannins. Balance is good. It finishes with the same cassis and some caramel-like oak. Not a bad effort for a country not known for quality wine. However, it lacks complexity and doesn't really do it for me.

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