Today was our last official day in Brazil’s wine country; tomorrow we head to Rio for some R&R.
We rounded out our wine country visit with some interesting cultural events. First we went to the House of Erva Mate to see how mate, the ubiquitous daily drink of Brazilians, is made. Bushes are cultivated and harvested, roasted in a special oven and then pulverized. This powder is then placed in a special cup, hot water is added and a silver spoon inserted to sip the beverage. The flavor is very much like green tea, and Brazilians swear by its health benefits.
We did squeeze in 2 winery visits, although neither was anyway near the quality of the wineries already visited. In fact today’s wineries were more reminiscent of what Brazil was like 50 years ago. We tried to smile during the tastings but it was hard at times. How can you tell a winemaker his wine is awful? Thankfully we had already seen firsthand the high quality level that Brazil has attained producing world class wines.
Our other cultural highlight was a visit to the Casa de Ovelha, the House of Sheep, where we had a tasting and also a demonstration of how dogs are trained to herd the flock.
Bottom line: wines from Brazil to watch for are sparkling wines and outstanding reds made from international varieties as well as rare varieties only found in Northern Italy. The best testimony I can offer to the quality of wines from Brazil is the fact that I’ve filled my 12 bottle shipping case with all Brazilian wines, with no room for Chile!