sábado, 26 de setembro de 2009

Era of New World Wines

One thing about living in Bahia is the lack of good drink and the little variety of food to go with it. I am not much of a beer drinker, never have really gone in for sampling a beverage by the pint, it is strange that pubs in Britain have not caught on to the idea of putting beers into more elegant glasses and serving in half pint measures so that one can sample and taste without being comatose after the third glass. After all how can you taste the beer if you are expected to open your mouth wide and fill it every time. Think of the drink as wine, would you get the same experience with wine in a pint glass?
My recent stay in France as rekindled my love of wines, nurishing and balancing a meal, mind you it is said the same of beer but you need to think what food can battle against the taste of the hop. It is with bewilderment that I see that in Brazil there is a huge production of wine and yet never hear anyone in Europe mention that they have ever tasted a Brazilian wine, this is almost true in Bahia where there is production of grapes but a poor production of wine, and what wine I have tasted in Bahia is of low class.
Almost all the production of good wine in Brazil is in the South, where the climate is more European and the culture is also more European. Depending who you read it would be the Spanish, Portuguese or Italians that developed traditions here in Brazil, certainly from a historic point of view it would be the Portuguese and Spanish, but I believe that their attempts to form a base for wine production was not long lasting. Another important figure is Thomas Messiter, an Englishman, who was the first in Brazil to grow grapes from the famous vine "vitis labrusca" in 1814. The vine adapted to the unfavourable climate much more easily than other European varieties.
The arrival of the first European immigrants in the south of Brazil was therefore, an important point in the history of Brazilian wine production. In 1860, the Portuguese started growing wine in Santa Catarina, which is near Sao Bento do Sul, Campo Alegre and Florianpolis. The French were probably the first who thought of using the wine commercially after 1865. However, Italians with their tradition and wine growing experience reaching back more than two thousand years, were the ones who ensured the importance of wine growing after 1875. They brought their own varieties and new commercial programmes., it is now being helped by European legislation and a lot of European companies.
Rio Grande do Sul, which produces about 92 % of all wine, can be proud of its producers who introduced wines of such quality that they aroused interest even abroad.
No doubt, there are a lot of complications when they have to overcome such problems as the weather unsuitable for the specific cultivation but the states and the producers expend considerable effort to introduce further improvements.To achieve international recognition, Brazil joined the "Office International de la Vigne e du Vin" in March 1995. The country expects it will be able to benefit from the scientific and technical support of this organization and that it will gain guarantees for its export. Moreover, Brazil will introduce the European method of indication of origin. Another important factor to further increase wine quality is Brazil's effort to obtain more investments.
Brazil grows all fine wine varieties. White wines: Riesling Italico, Malvasia, Sauvignon, Semillon, Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Bianco and Moscato. Red wines: Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Syrah, Tannat, Pinot Noir, and also Nebbiolo and Barbera.


The regulations for viticulture have not yet been fully defined; for example, there is no compulsory deadline for harvesting. However, as every wine in the world, Brazilian wines comply with certain compulsory labelling regulations. The law stipulates the following identification marks:
The wine producer's and the bottler's name
The region and winery address
Name, fineness, classification, type and origin of the product
Agricultural area and the registration number of the product
Net volume
Actual alcoholic strength by volume
All used additives or their code and class
It is forbidden to put a false geographical indication on the label. The most common type of wine, the slightly sweetened "vinho de mesa" (table wine), must be indicated "suave" or "doce" (dry or sweet), printed on the label. Sparkling wines must be indicated with the method of production (gaseificado - aerated). This word must be printed in letters sized min. 50 % of the biggest word and must be in the same colour as the other information.

Explanatory Notes

Comum - wine produced from hybrids and American vine
Seco - wine containing less than 5 g/l of sugar
Leve - wine containing 1 to 10 g/l of sugar
Meio doce - wine containing 5 to 20 g/l of sugar
Doce ou Suave - wine containing more than 20 g/l of sugar
Varietal - wine produced from min. 60 % of the grape variety stated on the label
Vinho de mesa - wine containing 10 to 13 % of alcohol




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