Our recent visit to Bento Gonçalves, the town at the heart of the Brazilian wine industry in the southerly state of Rio Grande do Sul, was great fun and a real success.
An unexpected and last minute bonus came with an additional invitation to sit on an 16 strong international tasting panel, which was tasked with evaluating some of the best local wines from the latest, 2018, vintage. The ABE ( Brazilian Oenology Association ) holds this event annually in front of some 900 wine professionals, so a daunting but exhilarating experience for our director Nicholas Corfe, who was required to comment on a still youthful Tannat..
Our overall impression was of an industry galvanised by ongoing successes – exemplified by the consistent winning of international awards and recent favourable critical comment in Decanter magazine – and one which is growing increasingly confident on the world stage. Very noticeable was the continued investment in physical infrastructure, including imported machinery and tanks, and the building of impressive new restaurants, tasting and retail facilities. There also seems to be a trend towards more experimentation, with trials of new grape varieties and vinification techniques both observed.
We would like to place on record our huge thanks for the warm and generous hospitality shown by our hosts, and for the superb organisation of the programme.