Campos de Cima

 

An unusual location for quality South American wines, the extreme Southwest of Brazil is predominantly cowboy country:  endless rolling plains mainly inhabited by beef cattle and punctuated with numerous natural lakes. Indeed, until the late 19th century, these badlands, which now straddle modern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, were essentially ungoverned. Even now the region can only be accessed by a handful of roads, and it feels very different from anywhere else we have experienced in Brazil.

It was a great surprise and pleasure then, in 2013, to meet Hortencia and José Ayub, owners of boutique winery Campos de Cima and pioneers of wine-making in this region of Campanha Oriental. Theirs is a small family operation which was inaugurated only a dozen years ago. It was at this time that Hortencia and José had the vision of creating fine wines originating in their homeland, and which has resulted in a 15 hectare vineyard on a gently sloping, north-facing hillside outside the town of Itaqui. This remote but beautiful spot – and all the surrounding land – has been in family hands for 150 years. A ranch-style farmhouse sits alongside the vineyard and is used for family gatherings, entertaining or simply enjoying the peace and quiet. The business also comprises a brand new, purpose-built winery in Itaqui, a small riverside community and border crossing point between Brazil and Argentina (the border is the river, confusingly called the ‘Rio Uruguai’ ).

Having imported both French and Italian rootstocks, in the early days the family turned to EMPRAPA, the Brazilian agricultural research agency, to help them with the technicalities of making wine. This approach paid off and the company was soon winning medals locally. With an increasing focus on quality over quantity, they then turned to French winemaker, Michel Fabre, and in 2014 he was given sole responsibility for the vintage. Fabre, as well as being a vineyard owner in his native ” Minervois”, southwest France, also has extensive wine-making experience in the north of Brazil and Argentina.

With a brief to bring out the best of the local terroir, Fabre has now produced a delicious clean floral Viognier and a powerful, rich Malbec/Shiraz/Tannat blend, branded Assinatura, both of which Go Brazil are proud to have introduced to the UK market in March 2015. Together with the 2011 vintage Brut (awarded an IWC Silver Medal in 2013 ) and Extra Brut Champenoise already on the Go Brazil range, we feel we have identified some elegant, high quality South American wines which are well differentiated from those elsewhere in Brazil, and indeed further afield.

 

Please see bottle images and tasting notes below.

Winery website: www.camposdecima.com.br

Wines from this winery

Campos de Cima Brut Champenoise 2011

12% Abv.  8.5g/ltr residual sugar

IWC 2013 Silver Medal winner

Very good quality Traditional Method sparkler, which has benefited from 24 months lees ageing. Green-gold in colour, shows persistent fine mousse with pronounced tropical notes on nose. Palate is dry but soft and well rounded, with good fruit overlaying brioche yeastiness. Acidity gives a kick of real freshness, following through into a long finish.

This Brazilian bubbly is ideal to drink as an aperitif but will make good accompaniment to lighter chicken dishes, salads and risotto.


Campos de Cima Extra Brut Champenoise 2011

12% Abv.  3.8g/ltr residual sugar

In similar vein to sister wine above, this extra dry sparkling wine is a very good quality Traditional Method sparkler, which has benefited from 24 months lees ageing. Green-gold colour, with nose showing only a trace of tropicality, while mousse is fine and persistent. Lean, dry austere palate which shows a mineral – almost saline – character. Noticeably higher acidity than the Brut, and definitely more of a ‘food wine’. 

 

Drink with oysters, grilled fish and seafood in general.


Campos de Cima Viognier 2014

13 % Abv.

2015 Decanter Commended

An Unoaked blend of 90% Viognier & 10% Chardonnay.

Bright; light gold in colour with greeny reflexes. Lovely peachy apricot nose with hint of jasmine and acacia flowers. ‘Oily’ or ‘petrol’ character may also be present – typical of Viognier – but does not detract from wine. Clean and fresh palate with decent level of acidity. More ripe peach and stone fruit, and touch of white pepperiness also discernible. Medium bodied with good rounded mouthfeel and almost honeyed texture.

Drink within next year or so.

One of the most versatile South American white wines, this may be drunk chilled (8-10˚C) as an aperitif, or served with salads, light or mildly flavoured white meat or fish/seafood dishes.


Campos de Cima Assinatura 2014

13% Abv

2015 Decanter Commended 

Go Brazil imports a range of leading Brazilian wine brands. This Brazilian red is a blend of 70% Malbec, 25% Shiraz & 5% Tannat.

Entire blend is aged in new French oak for 6 months.

“Assinatura” means ‘signature’ in Portuguese. 1500 bottles only were produced, individually numbered.

Bright and deep red-ruby colour. Nose shows a rich and attractive perfume. Belies its youth, with concentrated palate of ripe red fruits, with flavours of tobacco, black pepper and liquorice. The oak is well integrated, lends structure without dominating. Dry, full bodied, with smooth almost silky tannins, long, lingering finish.

Drinking very well now – but has the potential for many more years development.

Serve at just below room temperature ( 18°C ); either on its own or perhaps better with marinated meats, venison, game or well flavoured cheeses.


Campos de Cima Origem 2014

12,5% Abv. 

Latin wines include reds which are full of flavour. This Brazilian red wine is an unoaked blend of 35% Merlot, 35% Tannat, 15% Cab Sauv & 15% Cabernet Franc.

Clear, bright, deep ruby-purple colour. The nose is lightly scented, hinting at plum and black cherries with a whiff of truffles. Involving palate shows dark ripe, sweet dark fruits with earthy, almost vegetal character with sprinkling of black pepper. Wine at first is bold and brash but then opens up, becoming more supple. Medium to full bodied, acidity and tannins in good balance, slightly sour black cherry on medium length finish.

Drink now and for next couple of years.

Serve at just below room temperature ( 18°C ); drink on its own or as an accompaniment to pasta, pizza, risottos, lightly spiced dishes or hard cheeses.