Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28th - Uruguay and Brasil: the Overlooked South AmericanWineCountry - Co-Hosted by Joshua & Karin and Deb & Jaffet

Uruguay and Brasil: the Overlooked South American Wine Country 
Co-Hosted by Joshua & Karin and Deb & Jaffet

When:  Thursday, April 28th, 2016 7:00 pm ET

Uruguay and Brasil: the Overlooked South American Wine Country

Bring:  TWITs pay $20/person to cover the cost of the wine.

How to say Cheers in Uruguay or Brasil:  Saude!  (Pronounced Sa-OOO-Gee)

South America possesses more vines and makes more wine than any continent except Europe. The wine was not up to international standards until things began to change in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Chile was first to export, Argentina makes more wine and Brazil is third but a sleeper.

When they opened their markets to import it became obvious to the locals that the imported wine was a higher quality. They began to invest in equipment and hired oenologists.

The most important producers have started moving south, developing the Campanha (Fronteira) on the Uruguayan border.  (Wikipedia)

Map of Uruguay and Brasil vineyards, whose wine we tasted

Flag of Brasil and map

Brazil (Brasil): The climatic diversity typical of a continental country and creativity of the Brazilian people, known for their ability to reinvent everything, have led the country to develop a completely original vitiviniculture. The European tradition, brought to Brazil by thousands of immigrants in the 19th Century, coupled with investments in innovation, also contributed to the construction of this unique character.

Each region developed their specialty, preparing labels with culture, typicity and their own features. In common, they show the freshness of a young industry, consisting of small producers (on average two hectares per family), who make light fruity wines with moderate alcohol content. This style, which has the real spirit of Brazil, has been discovered and increasingly admired around the world.

Brazil is currently the fifth largest producer of wine in the southern hemisphere and it is certainly one of the fastest growing markets in the world. There are over 1,100 wineries across the country, companies that have been gaining a reputation for the development of high quality labels, with special emphasis on sparkling wines. Both those made through the champenoise method and the light and aromatic ones made from Moscato grape have received numerous compliments from international critics. The secret lies in the outstanding balance of acidity shown by the grapes grown in the country.

Brazilian wine (made from Syrah, Gamay and Tempranillo) was chosen as one of the official labels of the event, an anticipation of the success that the Brazilian wine industry will have when the country hosts the next Olympics in 2016 and the 2014 World Cup. (Snooth)

Inspired by the search for identity and excellence of Brazilian wine and committed to develop only premium and top premium wines.
Lidio Carraro Boutique Winery entered the market breaking paradigms. With a Purist philosophy and rescue the essence and integrity of the wine, the whole process of Lidio Carraro is conducted with minimal interference and maximum respect to the natural expression of the grape and terroir of origin, developing unique wines which reflect the 'Pure Wine' concept that requires much knowledge, sensitivity and only the best row material.
Lidio Carraro is a pioneer in the country to deploy an integrated vineyard management and winemaking, which begins with a careful study of clones and soil mapping, strict production control, until receipt by gravity and grape wine of great wines without the use of wood.

A dash of history
Millions of native Brazilians lived in the area for thousands of years prior to the landing in 1500 of a Portuguese sailor, Pedro Alvares Cabral, who claimed the land for Portugal. His real purpose was to reach India to load his ship with spices, silk, and some other valuables. 
Lusitanian settlers migrated to coastal sections of Brazil, and a lot of them cultivated sugar cane. Over 4 million Africans arrived to Brazil between 1550 and 1850, as slaves to grow and process the sugar cane. 
After sugar cane, farmers grew coffee which continues to be an all-important crop nowadays. The national language is still Portuguese. (Wikipedia)

 Flag of Uruguay and map

Uruguay is considered the fourth most successful wine producing country in South America behind Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Its rise to prominence is based on the inky French grape, Tannat (pronounced Tuh-NOT, as in "To Be or To Not"), known for its high tannin levels, hence its name. 

Tannat, the main grape of the Madiran, was brought over by Basque-French immigrant Pascual Harriague in 1870. (Decendants of the original cuttings still exist and are known as “Harriague.”) The grape proved perfectly suited to Uruguay’s sunny, but wet climate. It is produced in many examples of excellent dry red wines as well as a late harvest desert wine, that somehow tames the tannins into rich, sweet cocoa flavors. 

Other varietals grown in Uruguay are for reds: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and some instances. (Snooth)

Tasting Notes:
NOTE:  It was difficult to source all of the wines at a retail store, so prices are approximate, as they were sourced (at times) from various distributers, etc.

1) Uruguay - 2013 Vinedo de Los Vientos 'Estival' White Blend - $24
12.5% alcohol, 60% Gewurtztraminer 30% Chardonnay  10% Moscato Bianco
thicker wine, viscous, acidic, 

2) Brasil - NV Salton, Flowers, Serra Gaucha Brazil - $17

11% alcohol, 70% Moscato, 25% Malvasia, 5% Gewurtztraminer
florals, honey, green apple, light wine, residual sugar, pear, white grape, a good Summer Pool wine.

3) Uruguay - 2012, 1752 Gran Tradicion Petit Manseng Sauvignon Gris $17 @ Brookhaven Wines

14.5% alcohol Blend of Petit Manseng and Sauvignon Gris
funky start, viscous, thick, syrupy, pear, rotten melon, marmalade, spread on tart, pair with food, earthy, apricot, dried fruites, dessert-like, peppermint on the end/spice burn, almost like menthol, 

4) Uruguay - 2014 Bodegas Carrau, Sauvignon Blanc $17

13% alcohol
cumin, grapefruit, acidic, menthol, dry, sweet tart, unbalanced, licorice 

5) Uruguay - 2014 Bodega Garzon, Albarino $20 @ Whole Foods

12.5% alcohol
light on the nose, white flowers, light, acidity, (nose is better than the palate), white peach pith, pear, 

6) Uruguay - 2014 Pisano Pinot Noir $15ish @ Total Wine

13.5% alcohol
hazelnut, mossy, oaky, scrub brush, white pepper, very spicy hot, barrel burnt, ash

7) Uruguay - 2012 Bodegas Carrau, Pinot Noir de Reserva $16

13% alcohol
fresh cut grass, rubbing alcohol on after-palate, tart, pucker

8) Brasil - Salton, Pinot Noir, Serra Gaucha Brazil $15

13.5% alcohol
tar, charcoal, burnt bacon, black pepper, charcoal past the burnt, super fruity, no earthy-ness
This was my personal favorite of the reds.

9) Brasil - 2013 Lidio Carraro Merlot Agnus $12.59 

13.5% alcohol
chemical, formaldehyde, pine sol, cola, root beer, fart in a sanitized doctor's office, burnt flavor, forest funk, septic, poopy, nice palate but the nose is nearly unbearable, recommend pairing with something gamey or fatty (like a marbled steak) 

10) Brasil - Salton, Cabernet Sauvignon, Serra Gaucha Brazil $15

13% alcohol
a perfect cab, dry, leathery, dark fruit, pepper, 

11) Uruguay - 2011 Vinedo de Los Vientos 'Eolo' Gran Reserva $29

14.5% alcohol, 85% Tannat 15% Ruby Cabernet - 3 yrs in barrel
Eolo means "God of the Winds" - herbal, earthy, cocoa, black licorice, eucalyptus, chocolate

12) Uruguay - 2009 Bodegas Carrau, AMAT Tannat $25

13% alcohol - aged 7 years - 10 hours breathing time before we tasted it
subtle nose, caramel, viscous, dry, pucker, chewy, has grip, cherries

13) Uruguay - 2013 Tannat Pisano winery $21ish
13% alcohol
burnt caramel, rubber, syrah-like, strawberry, sweet tarts

14) Uruguay - N/V Vinedo de Los Vientos "Alcyone" Tannat Dessert Wine 500ml $42 @ Le Caveau

16% alcohol
delicious, krispy kreme donuts, burnt sugar, frosting, molasses, raspberry cream sauce, lemon bars, 


Brasil - Romeu y Julieta (guava paste & cheese) 
Uruguay - Martín Fierro (quince paste & cheese)

Recipes usually evolve over a long period of time, but today we explore a recipe that one man changed forever. In the late 19th century, José Hernández wrote stories about gauchos, freedom, and love from his home, in Argentina. Gauchos are like the equivalent of the American cowboy: men who’s spirits are forever roaming.His most famous character was Martin Fierro (so famous, in fact, that when the author, Hernández, died, the people announced that Martin Fierro had died, too). Though his stories spoke to the people, he spent much of his life as an exile in Uruguay.
As much a creature of habit as any other man, the author became known for ordering the same dessert – one that reminded him of home, but that also celebrated the local ingredients in Uruguay:


He always ordered a certain dessert modeled on the popular Argentinian sweet known as Vigilante, which consisted of slices of cheese and sweet-potato paste. The dessert’s curious name derived from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century policemen who ate cheese with sweet- potato paste because it was cheap and easy to carry. However, in Uruguay, quince paste, rather than sweet-potato paste, was eaten with cheese, and this is the combination that Hernández enjoyed. As a famous activist for gauchos’ rights and author of the beloved Martín Fierro, Hernández’s every move was observed. News of his preference for the Uruguayan version of Vigilante quickly spread throughout the country, and soon the combination of cheese and quince paste was named Martín Fierro in his honor.  (Peregrina Gourmet)

Grilled Radishes and Bell Peppers (locally sourced from a CA)

Grilled cabbage and snow peas (locally sourced)

Beef Skewers and yummy sauce

Pão de Queijo - Brasílian cheesy bread

Pascualina - Uruguayan Spinach Pie