Pizzato Merlot 2011

Some weeks ago I reviewed another wine from this winery. Here you can read what I thought about the Chardonnay made by this house.

Pizzato don’t have a very extensive line of products.20160904_132636 They have six “Reserve” wines (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Egiodola, Alicante Bouchet and Chardonnay). An excellent blend above this line called “Concentus“, an oaked chardonnay called “Legno” and a top of the line merlot called “DNA 99” (a reference to the incredible merlot made in 1999). Also they have an entry line called Fausto, where you can find cheaper wines from Dr. Fausto vineyards. Well, I have to mention the remarkable sparkling wines line in which I could cite the very good “Rosé Traditional”.

This merlot is very nice. I buy it every single year and it is very consistent. 2011 wasn’t a superb year
but this merlot showed great features. Not so dark in color making you feel as if the wine isn’t that concentrated. The smell denies this claim. Sweet plum, red berries, earth and spices. Good intensity. A small tip of oak. Smoothie attack in mouth presenting a gentle sweetness. Everything in its right place. The wine is firm, tannins are present, specially at the the end. Dry-mouth feeling with no aggressiveness. Long finish. Really good, my friend. A must buy wine from Brazil. About U$ 17.



Routhier & Darricarrère Marie Gabi

Another one from Routhier and Darricarrère winery. Another productor that nobody knows. Two guys from France (Darricarrère brothers) and a guy from Canada (Routhier), settled in “Campanha Gaúcha Region”. They produce something like 20 thousand bottles a year and they’re doing something different, old-world-like-wine. Here I commented another one from these guys, a red Cabernet Sauvignon.20160828_200351

Marie Gabi receives no vintage in the label. Well, I don’t like this procedure. If you forget a wine in the cellar and it doesn’t have a date indication you feel absolutely lost. The website says that the wine is a blend of 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) with a 2011 wine made with grapes not declared. Weird.

As I opened the screw cap and put it on the glass it seemed very timid. It didn’t changed much as we drank the wine. You can feel some hints of strawberry, lychee, lime and garden flowers but it lacks aromatic intensity. Everything is subtle and a little hide. Interesting anyway. The alcohol is low and almost imperceptible at 10 Celsius degrees.

In mouth Marie Gabi wasn’t so timid. Vibrant acidity, uptight, no sweetness and a good finish for a rosé. Not bad. There is no makeup here. At the first glass my wife felt a sourness, specially in the end of the sip. After some glasses I wasn’t able to detect this issue anymore. But the vibrancy was there all the time. Pretty good, very refreshing. Beautiful color, bright and limpid. Paid U$ 13,80. Not bad at all. Try it!


Terragnolo Merlot 2012

Terragnolo is an unkown winery of Vinhedos Valley. Absolutely unfair. They develop high quality products with grapes that come from their own vineyards. This merlot, tasted in our 12th Wine Tasting, came from the great 2012 vintage and received the DO label (Controlled Origin Denomination).

It rested nothing less than 18 months in oak barrels. Vanilla is pretty clear in nose. Excessive? For me it seemed excessive at the start but with some time in glass the over-oak feature became complexity. Some explosive fruits, earth and spices. Impressive for me. Tannins are a little harsh yet (overextraction?), alcohol at 14% is easy to perceive and a long finish are some important comments. Merlot 2012 lacks elegance but is very pleasant. You can buy it at the winery for something as U$ 19,00.

Wines tasted that night


Casa Valduga RSV 25 Brut 2013

It is already a rule of thumb that Brazil can produce world-class sparkling wines. I’m here to say that this is the naked truth. The soil and specially the weather contribute to that. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (cepages most used to brazilian sparkling) are harvested early in the summer before the onset of the rains. Consistent results are achieved year after year.DSC_1604

Casa Valduga is one of the most interesting wineries of BentoDSC_1606 Gonçalves. Despite their big size Valduga keep giving quality products. Great place to go and taste lots of good wines. They have an extensive product line with grapes grown in three distinct terroirs within Rio Grande do Sul: Vale dos Vinhedos, Encruzilhada do Sul and Campanha. Later I’ll cover all these regions. Vale dos Vinhedos (Vineyards Valley) can produce some great red wines but it is more appropriate for sparkling wines.

RSV 25 Brut 2013 is a champenoise developed with 25 months of yeast autolysis, 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. The result is nothing but an elegant, fine and brilliant wine. Pale golden, beautiful thin and intense pérlage , almost hypnotic. The bouquet reveals some pear, almond, toasted bread, honey and a pinch of citric fruits. Creamy and crispy in mouth, almost chewable. Good balance between acidity, sweetness, bitterness and alcohol. Maybe it could be more intense in nose. Aftertaste recalling toasted bread. The overall set can be defined by elegance. I paid U$ 17,00.  Highly recommended.

Quinta Santa Maria Entre Nós 2009

Another one from São Joaquim, Santa Catarina. I’d like to highlight again that this region is not the most recognized area for growing grapes in Brazil but they are developing quickly. The jargon in the region is “Altitude Wines”, because the vineyards are tipically over 1200 meters above sea level.


Entre Nós made by Quinta Santa Maria is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The winery was established by portuguese people and they did a good work here. The terroir is present again. Caramel notes, ripe fruits, almost absence of herbaceous flavors and aromas, pleasant, medium acidity, and so on. I wasn’t able to realize in this very wine the presence of coffee but this is a feature very often in wines from São Joaquim. Tannins are pretty soft, tamed. Despite the 7 years, Entre Nós is in a good shape.

An important negative point about this wine is the visual aspect. As you can see in the next picure, the glass is full of particles. Unpleasant particles resultant of a combination of an unfiltered wine and a waiter who shook the bottle. But the point is that the color isn’t beautiful also. Very opaque, muddy. Really don’t like to see that. But for most, this is not a main feature. So…


Suzin Merlot 2011

This one came from São Joaquim, Santa Catarina. Last week I’ve been at São Joaquim and tried to visit Winery Suzin but they aren’t receiving visitors yet. So I buy this bottle at Cafe and Wine Shop located at Urubici.

Suzin Merlot 2011

The wine was not exactly a surprise since it respects the terroir of the region. What I mean by that? Well, as soon as you open the bottle you feel that olfactive note of caramel, something ripe with no hints of bush, grass or guava. As you drink the wine the smell develop in something going to chocolate and rosemary (beware of some contradiction here). Really nice. Soft tannins in mouth, good acidity, no bitterness, easy to drink but not a really light wine. The color is not that beautiful: unfiltered, opaque, seems like an older wine.

I regret not having bought more bottles. It’s a pitty that the winery hasn’t built a place to receive tourists and enthusiasts. By the way this is an important feature of the region. Unlike Bento Gonçalves where you are often received by the winemakers themselves, at São Joaquim it seems more like a business, more impersonal, and you have no contact with people that develop the products. I missed someone to give technical details about the vintages, what cepage is working better and so on. But the terroir is really interesting.

Back label indicates that the vineyards are located at 1200 meters (3940 feet) above sea level.


Don Pascual Crianza en Roble Tannat 2013

This one came from Uruguay, the Land of Tannat. Don Pascual is a brand of a winery located near Montevideo called Establecimiento Juanicó. Very beautiful place.

Establecimiento Juanicó, july 2014

I bought this wine at Montevideo in 2014 and paid less than U$ 7,00. Really, really cheap for the quality it returns. Everytime I drink a Tannat from Uruguay it seems rustic and rude for me. It lacks refinement but… I love these wines.1410136243

Almost black in color, intense leather, red fruits, coconut and vanilla in nose. Complex? No. Elegant? No. But it’s big, superlative with no sweetness. Some might say that it is “over-oaked”. And it is. But what’s the matter? Uruguayan tannat begs for oak and they found a way to tame this cepage. This Don Pascual delivers ripe tannins not so creased but absolutely present. Another point that I want to approach is that the nature of this grape blends with the wood and frequently you get confused about this concept. For instance vintage 2013 rested 6 to 9 months in 220 L barrels. Not that much.

Good aftertaste, not alcoholic. A fantastic pair for a good barbecue. In Brazil it is sold for U$ 21 (obviously overpriced). It’s a pretty good option when compared to Bouza Tannat. Best buy.

Miolo Vinhas Velhas Tannat 2011


And finally we had our 11th Oficial Wine Tasting Meeting. Powerful selection.

Everything started with a sparkling wine called Pedregais made by Bodegas Czarnobay, a new winery located at Encruzilhada do Sul, Brazil. The charmat is made with two red cepages (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) and one white (Chardonnay), not an usual combination. A little timid on the nose, pleasant in mouth. Lack the refinement of the great brazilian sparkling. One can buy it for U$ 9.

It was followed by one of the best Cabernet Franc I ever tasted: Maquis Cabernet Franc 2012. Fantastic wine. Lots of mint and eucalyptus blended with dark chocolate, absolutely delicious. Medium body, round tannins, no edges. Congratulation to Maquis. I got impressed. Highly recommended.

Third wine was Ánimal Cabernet Sauvignon from Ernesto Catena. One of those overriped wines from Argentina. At the beginning it seemed ordinary, sweet, boring. Then it evolved in the glass and delivered some unusual aromas. Some tea, licorice, always sweet on the nose. Good but not for me.

Vistalba Corte B, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda. Intense jam of red fruits, coffee, licorice. Lenghty wine, lots of alcohol (14,8%, disturbs a little). Aftertaste of coffee and chocolate. Persists for ages!

Vinhas Velhas Tannat is a wine produced by Miolo at the far west region of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. In the old days this wine was produced by Almadén. It was cheap (below U$ 10), well-made and hard to find. Then Miolo acquired Almadén, renamed the wine to Vinhas Velhas (Old Vines), rised the price (about U$ 30) and converted it in an icon. Alright. Let’s go on to see vintage 2011, black color with no signs of evolution. Fruity on the nose, with some coconut and vanilla, modern and mature. It really seems like a wine from Uruguay. Scratchy tannins. Compared to the wines previously tasted it is a bit lean. Lack a stronger  body to balance the tannins, alcohol and acidity. But it is great and has an unique personality. The biggest issue is related to the price. Too much money means betters options.

Pizzato Chardonnay 2014


Pizzato is one of my favorite wineries of “Vale dos Vinhedos” (Vineyards Valley, Brazil). In 1999 they produced a Merlot that quickly became an icon: Pizzato Merlot 99. Never tasted it but I tried vintage 2002 and that was a wine one big step ahead of any other brazilian wine. Nowaday everybody grows Merlot at Bento Gonçalves because it delivers expressive wines unlike lots of others cepages.IMG_1980

Well, today I’m going to write about the Chardonnay made by Pizzato. I drank almost every Chardonnay from Pizzato since 2010 or so, and this is consistent. I’m not saying that every vintage results in the same product (like argentine wines and lots of chilean) but they manage to always give a good white wine. As far as our climate is concerned, this is tough! Just to inform,  2014 wasn’t a good year.

The wine shows a pretty intense color, going from yellow to green (other vintages showed a classic straw-yellow). Nice aromatic intensity: white chocolate and pineapple (no oak here). Vibrant acidity within the pleasure line, it matched perfectly with “Saint-Peter à la Belle Meunier” cooked by myself. Not that persistent and the aftertaste is a little alcoholic and empty. These last two features are the only negative points of this good Chardonnay, in my opinion, of course. Recommended.


Villa Francioni VF Rosé 2015

Vila Francioni is a winery located at São Joaquim, Santa 001Catarina, about 1360 meters above sea level. Among all wineries of this region, Villa Francioni has the biggest degree. They are known because of a successful Chardonnay and recently the region is producing interesting Sauvignon Blancs. Well, this very Rosé is kind of a flagship also.

Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Merlot e Malbec. Not an ordinary blend at all.

Visual appearance  is not of a rosé, at least technically. The color is more of a salmon and amber, maybe gold. Really limpid, bright and beautiful.

006White pulp fruits aromas, some minerality and a subtle hint of vanilla. I was expecting some flowers but just haven’t found them. Nice but not that complex. Good intensity.

Vibrant acidity in mouth. By the way this is the better way to this describe this wine: vibrancy. Pretty nervous with a delicate sweet note leading to a pleasant short finish. Invites you to another sip. Curious about better vintages.  Nice wine. Recommended. 

I’ll soon be at São Joaquim again and I’m sure that I’ll buy a couple of bottles of vintage 2016. Good work here.