Among wine geeks, there has been buzz for some time about the potential of Brazil—better known for beaches, soccer, caipirinhas, and rainforests—to fashion serious vino. Problem was, you couldn’t get the wines in the United States.
But that’s been changing, and now there are 10 wineries being imported to the U.S. The newest one is among the best: Salton, which is Brazil’s largest privately owned winery, and family-run to boot.
Salton is located in the region that produces the bulk of Brazil’s fine wine: Serra Gaúcha, a mountainous area in the far south, towards Uruguay.
I tasted through Salton’s portfolio with the two family members that run the show, Mauricio Salton and Daniel Salton. Mauricio, the CEO, emphasizes that the wines are easy-drinking bottles for “moments of pleasure and moments of joy.” He adds that it’s a family tradition going back to the founder: “We follow the principle of my great-great grandfather—sharing wine with friends.”
Salton has been developing a reputation for its sparkling wines, and the Salton Intenso Brut ($15) is lively, refreshing stuff—a great summer aperitif. I also liked their bigger reds: the Salton Intenso Tannat 2012 ($14), with light plum flavors, and the Salton Talento 2009 ($25), a red blend with a nice plump cherry character and a little bit of oak.
These are all pretty inexpensive ways to experience the magic of Brazilian sunshine without getting on a plane—though I will say, I’m filing away the Serra Gaúcha region in my own future trips folder.