Friday, July 1, 2016

On Luiz Alberto's Birthday Year, Drink Brazilian Sparkling Wines from Casa Valduga by Philip S. Kampe

                                             Casa Valduga;s 'Sparkling Wines'

Today is Luiz Alberto's Birthday.

Luiz is the founder of the #Winelover Community, with over 20,000 members worldwide and at last count, 38,888 Twitter followers.

Luiz was born in Brazil, as was his wife, Nanci Bergamo. They both still have Brazil in their souls.

At our (with my wife, Maria) last visit to their home (mansion) in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Luiz poured a 'sparkling wine'to welcome us to their new house. He said, 'I bet you can't guess where this wine is from?' Honestly, I was stumped. Luiz proudly said, BRAZIL.

That is when my fascination for sparkling wines from Brazil began.

During my journey to find the best sparkling wine from Brazil, I stumbled onto Casa Valduga, a winery with a 140 year history in Brazil. The Valduga family arrived in 1875 from northern Italy. Winemaking began in Brazil four generations ago.

Today, Luiz Valduga heads the operation at Casa Valduga, where modern technology and old world charm meet. The sparkling wines are made the Traditional Method also known as methode champenoise.  This is the same way champagne is made, using a second fermentation. This process creates the highest possible quantity of bubbles, as the maturation process occurs in an underground sparkling wine cellar, considered the largest in Latin America, with a capacity of more then six million bottles.

The vineyards of Casa Valduga lie in three locations in the south of Brazil:
Vale dos Vinhedos—Leopoldina
Serra do Sudeste---Identidade

The sparkling wines that I sampled are rivals of the famous French houses. After sampling ‘130’ from Casa Valduga, I realized that the traditional grapes, 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, have a home in Brazil.

The ‘130’ was elegant, creamy, full of bubbles, intense and persistent.

The 2014 Blush, made with 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir was overly aromatic and flavorful focusing on honeydew melons, cantaloupe and toasty almond butter. The lingering finish coated my palate for several minutes.

2014 Brut Arte was made with 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. Fresh red fruit mixed with an undying acidity made this sparkling a favorite of mine. The aroma of honeysuckle hypnotized me.

During my quest for sparkling wines from Brazil, I went a little off the course and sampled an amazing 100% Cabernet Franc from Casa Valduga named ‘Raizes’ a 2012 and a 2014 Cabernet named ‘Don Guberino.’

Both wines are on their way to stardom.

As is Casa Valduga, a wine imported by Heritage Brands of California.

Philip S. Kampe

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