Brazil produces a ton of wine, most of it in the temperate south with its four seasons. The fact that Brazil makes wine at all is something that most people in this country probably don’t realize, given how Chile and Argentina, with their marketing muscle, dominate South American imports and sales. I can’t recall being queried about my interest in wines from Brazil -- until this summer with the obvious Olympics tie-in.
You’re not going to find many (or any) bottles from Brazil in your local wine store or in restaurants, unless, of course, they’re serving Brazilian food. I can see that changing, however, if more of them knew about wines like Lidio Carraro’s 2014 “Agnus” Tannat.
Carraro, which, like many Brazilian wineries was founded by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, notes that tannat is Brazil’s “emblematic” red grape, as it is in neighboring Uruguay. The variety was transplanted years ago from southwest France (think Madiran), producing tamer, less tannic wines across the ocean, much as malbec, also from France (think Cahors), does in Argentina. Did you know that tannat actually means "tannin"?
Carraro’s tannat, which Wine-Searcher lists at seven retailers and is priced, astonishingly, from just under $11 to $13, is a bright and fruit-forward wine marked by smooth tannins, good balancing acidity and minerals (the grapes are grown in granitic soil), all of which enhance a blackberry-blueberry core accented by coffee bean and cocoa notes. Alcohol is a reasonable 13.5 percent. There’s a lot to enjoy here for not much money. Sounds almost medal-worthy, wouldn't you say? (Imported by Winebow, Inc., New York; received as a press sample).