Friday, September 13, 2019

Brazilian Sparkling Wines with Salton Brut

Learning about wine is a never ending process and even though I like to focus on Italian wines I believe it’s important to understand wine on a broader scale as well. I’m always intrigued when I discover Italian grapes being grown on different terroirs.  This month our Wine Pairing Weekend group is discovering Brazilian wines.  Definitely another first for me.

Brazil’s Wine History
Brazil has been making wine from some time, but more table wines kept for local consumption.  In recent decades is where they have becoming more prevalent on the wine scene and producers are focusing on increasing the quality of the wines.  With the first appellation, Vale dos Vinhedos, only just recently established in 2002.  Today the number of wineries stands at around 1,000. 

Although Brazil is known mostly for their sparkling wines there are plenty of still wines getting recognition as well.  Many of the varietals produced throughout the country are Italian and French.  Per Decanter, grapevines were brought to Brazil back in the 1530’s by the Portuguese.  It wasn’t until Italian immigrants came in 1875 bringing their wine knowledge and establishing a wine culture that would get the Brazilian wine producers to start to bottle their wine for commercial use.

The Winery
I tried wine from the Salton winery located in Bento Goncalves, the main city of Brazil’s largest wine region, Serra Gaucha.  Serra Gaucha is in the southern part of Brazil near Uruguay in the state of the Rio Grande do Sul.  About 80-85% of the country’s production comes from this region. Serras means low mountain ranges and Gauchos are the cowboys of the Brazilian Pampas, or lowlands.    

The Salton winery is stated to be the oldest running winery and was founded in 1878 by Italian immigrant, Antonio Domenico Salton.  He came over from Northern Italy to seek out land and establish himself in Brazil.  In 1910 Antonio involved his 7 sons into the business.  They’re actually so large they produce around 9-10% of Brazil’s wine production.  Pretty amazing!  Although a large portion of their grapes are purchased from small growers that they have established long term relationships they do also grow some of their own grapes. 

Salton Alma Sparkling BrutThe Wine
Although I’m not a fan of sparkling wine how can you not beat a bottle sold at $5 a bottle.  The Salton Alma Brut is made of 60% moscato and 40% trebbiano grapes.  All Italian grapes obviously.  I was surprised with it being so dominated by moscato that it didn’t let off more florality.  A dry, crisp bubbly with lingering lemon and minerality on the finish.  ABV 11.5% 

The pairing: Although sparkling wines can be paired with a large array of foods a simple appetizer and glass of bubbly is a perfect way to start any occasion.  I paired the Alma Brut with crostini topped with Fig and Walnut Butter from Stonewall Kitchen and an Artichoke Antipasto spread from Trader Joes.  Of course I had to add some slides of fresh pecorino cheese, my favorite!  It was the perfect day to end the work week for me and was quite enjoyable. 
Brazilian sparkling wine food pairing with Salton winery
Please join me, Wines of Brasil and my fellow bloggers while we share our wine pairing suggestions for Brazilian wines. It is easy to join along, even if you don’t have a blog. Just tune in to Twitter and follow #winePW Saturday at 11am EST. In the meantime, check out my friends suggestions for meals to pair with Brazilian wines.

      *This wine was received as a sample, but opinions are all my own. 


      1. Love that we got the same wine, but noted such different things out of it. Didn't get the lemon or minerality...more tropical fruits and flowers. But, as you say, at $5 it's worth a few more looks.

      2. Jennifer-
        I'm so glad you enjoyed that wine. Brazilian wine fits into the Italian wine theme as the lion's share of producers all have Italian ancestors. I like your pairing and your insistence on cheese. Brazil is actually really well-known for it's moscato based wines. Particularly one of the GI Farroupilha. A producer called Casa Perini is one you should look for if you are a moscato fan. See you soon.

      3. Yummy appetizer with this Alma Brut Sparkler. Perfect for fall entertaining!

      4. I definitely noticed the Italian influence on this sparkling wine. It made sense when I looked at the label and noted the wines used.

      5. What a fun way to expand an Italian wine passion with the Italian diaspora!