Did you ever catch the commercial of a young couple, nestled between palm trees, facing the waves, two chairs enjoying a popular Mexican beer? You may have been taken to imagine your own oasis, somewhere in the Caribbean, along the Mexican coast or one of the famous beaches of Brazil. Wherever this well known advertisement takes you, your bungalow or maybe your favorite resort probably rests in the background.
What may seem less likely to enter your mind, deep into this tropical coastline, is a modern vineyard. Varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Alicante Bouchet as well as the Portugese Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz grapes glisten in the sun. This vineyard is equipped with a modern system of fertilization and irrigation, making the production of wines possible in a semi-arid location at a latitude just 8° South of the Equator—a transformation of innovative viticulture and oenology, pairing sustainable agriculture and difficult growing conditions.
Vinibrasil, a project launched in 2002 at the Portuguese winery Dão Sul, is unique in the production of wines of international quality at a latitude 8°S along the São Francisco River in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. The sediments in the soil in the valley of São Francisco along this river enjoy layers of clay and gravel allowing the gentle drainage of the soil and the production of different types of wines. The local climatic features reduce the incidence of pests and diseases and allow for a continuous cycle of production unparalleled in the traditional wine producing regions of the globe.
While not yet available in the US, the 2005 Rio Sol Syrah Reserve emotes a rich aroma of a fruit compote combined with notes of cocoa, vanilla and spices. Well structured and engaging, with balanced tannins and persistence, this tropical miracle pairs well with roasted red meats, game, risotto, fresh pasta as well as hard and mild cheeses. Of course, the 2005 Rio Sol Syrah Reserve also pairs with a quiet Summer night with friends far away from the Equator who want to capture a tropical oasis in a memorable wine.