Brazil, or for those of a Latino bent Brasil. Land of carnival, poetic football and strange body hair arrangements. Winewise, it's so far not made the same degree of splash as its fellow South Americans Chile and Argentina. Even Uruguayan wines are easier to track down. But Pele's homeland offers some surprisingly good grog. 'No we don't do two harvests a year,' I was told in no uncertain terms at the recent London Wine Fair by one of the country's many impossibly gorgeous, doe-eyed beauties. 'They only do that in the north.' And it's true. The climate is such in the tropical reaches of northern Brazil that there's not much difference between the seasons. Clever farmers can irrigate their vines in such a way that they do get two crops a year - five in two years, if they really go for it.
But further south, grape growing is far more conventional, and there are a number of producers whose wines are seriously tasty. Names to look out for are Salton (not to be confused with Boots' sun-tan lotion...), Lidio Carraro and Miolo. And it's a Miolo wine that's in the glass in front of me. No, it's not the Merlot, which could compete with some rather more rarefied Merlots from other parts of the world. Nor is it the elegant Bordeaux lookalike RAR. And it's not the Quinta do Seival, made from the Portuguese grapes Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz. But this 2005 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tannat is still very attractive, with juicy berry fruit and something of the cherry and chocolate dryness of Tannat lurking in the background. The only carp I have about it is the name. You want a name something that speaks of a dynamic, passionate young country, a name as sexy and svelte as Gisele Bundchen, as lively as the Mardi Gras, a name like....Gran. That's right, Gran. GRAN?!? Never mind Gisele, Gran puts you more in mind of Liz Smith.... So Miolo, tasty wine, fully deserving a wider audience, but as far as the moniker is concerned, you need to go back to the drawing board.
And for the rest of you, the place to find some of the excellent Miolo reds in the UK is through Coe Vintners.