Country: Brazil Region: Serra Gaucha
Colour: Red Style: Dry
Producer: Cooperativa Vinicola Aurora
Aurora is a giant cooperative–Brazil’s biggest wine producer, commanding over 30% of the domestic market for still wine. It was originally founded in 1931 by 16 Italian immigrant families. At one time it had as many as 1300 members, but there are now 1100 with an average of 2.6 hectares of vineyards per member. Members get paid 8% more than government established minimums, and must follow an extensive rule book regarding everything from safety and pesticide use to harvest dates and yields. They have their own grape nursery for members, which propagates 30 varieties and three different rootstocks. The co-op also owns 16 hectares of prime vineyards in Pinto Bandeira, the source for some of their top wines.
A team of 15 winemakers oversees the production of 45 million litres of wine per year. Less than 2% is exported, but that makes up 30% of Brazil’s wine exports. It was briefly exported to the U.S. as “white Zinfandel” back in the early 1990s. They are now exporting to the U.S. under the Carnaval label wines that are known in Brazil as Procedencia, and producing some special bottlings for the U.S. and Irish market under the label Brazilian Soul.
Grapes are picked and produced young, making the wine very fruity and tart. This tartness is cut by leaving some residual sugar in the wine, giving the wine a round, smooth mouth-feel and a slightly sweeter, more approachable flavour to the casual wine drinker. Light jammy dark fruits, with a touch of cocoa and a smooth finish.
Food Matches: Perhaps try it with feijoada, the traditional stew of beans with beef and pork.