While relatively young, having been founded in 1979, Don Giovanni has the feel of a more mature property. The nice, 18 hectare (44.5 acres) estate vineyards surround the ivy cloaked winery.
The estate here is a modest but complete tourist attraction with restaurant, guest rooms and a nicely appointed tasting room. The wines show good quality of base material and are freshly fruited, but could use further work in the cellars. Production here is modest with something around 14,000 cases a year.
Top Wine Tasted: NV Don Giovanni Dona Bita Brut 90pts
One of the more interesting wineries I visited in Brazil, Don Guerino, is a baby. Founded only in 2004, the winery is outside of the main viticultural areas, though it is still in Serra Gaucha. The winery holds 50 hectares (124 acres) of estate vineyard. Unusual for the region, the vineyards here are devoted to premium varietals.
The wines are rather fruit-driven, in as much as these wines can tend to be. They do have a rather distinct terroir expression balancing out the fruit. These are attractive wines with a minimally noticeable winemaking signature.
Top Wines Tasted: 2011 Don Guerino Merlot 89pts
Perini is a family owned winery and a large one at that. Production of about 125,000 12-bottle cases comes from 92 hectares (225 acres) of estate fruit that is supplemented by purchased fruit. The winery is 40-years-old, but the family has been privately making wine for much longer. They successfully navigated the transition from producing a little bit of wine back in 1928, to high volume, bulk table wine production beginning in 1970, and then finally to becoming fine wine producers over the past two decades.
The wines at Perini are rather attractive, though many have yet to shake a certain rusticity that seems rooted in the history here. That history is not exclusive to the past, as evidenced by the continuing focus on large format, hybrid 'table' wines that are produced here to satisfy the domestic market. Still, there is enough to like with Perini's wines that I think they are worth watching.
Top Wines Tasted: 2010 Casa Perini Marselan 89pts
Founded in 1931, Aurora is Brazil's largest winery and most important cooperative. A complete line of wines is produced here under the Aurora and related labels, with most being typical of a large producer such as this.
Well priced in relative terms, the wines tend to be light and fruity, with some solid performances by the Moscatos, in particular. These are fine wines. Those produced from Vitis Vinifera account for less than one third of the total production, which stands at around 4.6 million 12-bottle cases.
Top Wine Tasted: Aurora Moscatel Espumante Rosé 88pts
Garibaldi produces mainly sparking wine. Perfectly serviceable Moscatos are the highlights of production here. The remaining wines tend to focus on entry level products including quite a few that are produced from hybrid grapes. Many tend to be on the sweeter side.
Founded in 1931, Garibaldi is a cooperative that relies on 350 families farming over 800 hectares (2000 acres) to produce some 1 million 12-bottle cases a year. The production is primarily sold in Chile and domestically in Brazil. For the style of wine they produce, Garibaldi proves quite capable. Their sweet sparkling wines would win many fans here in the U.S.
Top Wine Tasted: NV Garibaldi Espumante Moscatel 86pts