Five of the best: Brazilian wines

Quinta do Seival, Castas Portuguesas, 2006

From Candiota in the new Campanha wine region, close to Uruguay, this vintage of Quinta do Seival is an almost equal mix of the Portuguese varieties Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (the first two vintages had Alfrocheiro too). Produced by the giant Miolo Wine Group in this new Brazilian Eldorado, where the climate is more suitable for winemaking than rainy Vale dos Vinhedos, it is one of the best Brazilian wines I have ever tasted. Delicious floral aroma, with a hint of dried orange peel and subtle French oak. Long in the palate and ageing beautifully.

Pizzato Concentus 2006, Vale dos Vinhedos

This is a good example of a fine blend (50 per cent Merlot, 25 per cent each Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat) from the Vale dos Vinhedos region. A very ripe nose whose oakiness is also present in the mouth, but there is structure and finesse too. The tannins are potent, if fine and elegant, and the acidity keeps things under control. The vineyard is run by the Pizzato family, who emigrated to Brazil from Italy in the 1880s.

Almaúnica Syrah 2010, Vale dos Vinhedos

From a cutting-edge, boutique winery opened in 2008, this is an ambitious, modern Syrah that would taste Argentine were it not for the acidity and the lack of over-ripeness. Though it has a peppery aroma, with plenty of dark and ripe fruit, it is fresh in the mouth – full-bodied but not fat, with lots of oak and firm tannins. Already pleasant to drink. One to watch.

Salton Evidence, sparkling, NV, Serra Gaúcha

One of the best sparkling wines from the huge Vinícola Salton winery in the Bento Gonçalves district, this is mainly Chardonnay with 30 per cent Pinot Noir. Very fresh, citrus aroma, delicate in mouth, with a light mineral touch – not complex, but rich and full of joy, easy to drink and unpretentious. The acidity is almost tart, but stops in time. Made to please.

Cave Geisse Terroir Nature 2009, Pinto Bandeira

This sparkling wine (42 per cent Chardonnay and 58 per cent Pinot Noir, to be exact) has a pleasant hint of dried fig in the aroma, and brioche on the nose. It’s intense in the mouth, full-bodied, balanced and elegant, with an evident minerality. Winemaker Mario Geisse originally hails from Chile, and established his winery in southern Brazil in 1979.

Luiz Horta is a wine writer for O Estadão de São Paulo newspaper. For stockists see

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