Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rating:*** 2003 Rio Sol Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva - Vale do Sao Francisco - Brasil (Brazil)

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Original Review, December, 2006: Some dear Sao Paulo-based colleagues provided me this unique opportunity - a bottle of the first vintage of a Brazilian wine from ViniBrasil, a four-year-old partnership between a Brazilian wine importer and a Portuguese wine producer. As they explained for me, the wine "is made in the city of Petrolina, in the middle of the drylands of the Northeastern state of Pernambuco, Brazil, irrigated by the waters of Sao Francisco River. It is the first international quality wine produced at the 8-degree south latitude."

So, let's see... I step into the wine with interest and perhaps just a bit of trepidation... There's a distinctly robust color; a deep, dark brick/ruby red moving to opaque in the center. Good so far... The nose is a mix of brambles, cherry fruit and oak, brighter somehow than the colors. On the palate, smooth, round cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors, followed by some mouth-puckering tannins. These would smooth out a bit with age or decanting. The finish comes in as charcoal-roasted red cherry. Unusual language perhaps for a cabernet sauvignon, but a complete, round, robust wine experience nonetheless.

Should be some real interesting things coming from this region in future years. Watch out, Argentina! And special thanks Lais, Sandra, Silvia and Eloa!
Updated Review, three years later, January, 2010:  Color has remained entirely consistent; after three years, that's a strong sign.  On the nose... wow - a bold, violet-perfumed cherry and raspberry melange.  Now the palate brings a slick, mineral middle leading to a roof-of-your-mouth raspberry flush.  Bright fruits move to the sides of your mouth and lodge in your cheeks.  Charcoal and tannins have evaporated, leaving the finish as a slightly gritty bright red cherry.  This one is ready to drink right now!

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