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Blame it on Rio: Three Good Choices

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Three wines grown in Brazil to help us settle down from the excitement of the road and get ready for the track and Sagan’s MTB adventure.

The Rio 2016 Olympic games opened with plenty of concern; while the games appear to be a success so far, Rio has been tough on the cycling set. The technical descent down from Vista Chinesa combined with the high stakes in pursuit left some of the biggest names in the peloton battered and with broken bones including Nibali, Henao and Porte. In the women’s race tragedy was seemingly averted in what looked like a very bad crash for the Dutch rider and race leader Annemiek van Vleuten. On top of the broken bones, American cycling fans certainly had their hearts break alongside Mara Abbott at the finish line of the women’s race. Of course, Kristin Armstrong managed to put them back together with her third Olympic TT gold!

Clive Pursehouse

RELATED: Catch up on all the Olympic action in our Feedzone

There are many days of the games left and we still have plenty of track events and the opportunity to watch Sagan fight for a medal in the MTB race. For cycling fans though it’s been a rough two days, to take the edge off, there’s actually wine grown in Brazil that just might do the trick.

In the late 1800s Italian immigrants settled in Brazil’s far southern state Rio Grande do Sul, it was here in the mountainous Serra Gaúcha that they planted vineyards. The altitude results in a temperate climate that is outstanding for a variety of wine grapes. Lidio Carraro is a winery that began producing wines in 2002, but the Carraro family roots date back to the Italian region of Veneto before arriving in Brazil in 1875. Today the winery represents some of the best Brazil has to offer including sustainable viticulture and cutting edge enological practices.

2013 Dádivas Chardonnay
Made from two different clones of Chardonnay this wine is opulent and round without any use of oak barrels. Aromas of chamomile, apple blossom and pineapple, and a palate that is round and ripe with flavors of sweet hay, cut apple and plenty of texture and mouth filling viscosity. $15

2014 Agnus Merlot
From the growing region of Encruzilhada do Sul and a tiny four acre vineyard. This Merlot is an exercise in highlighting the fruit character of the region. Also fermented and aged in steel the aromas are cut strawberry and blueberry compote, along with notes of turned earth. The palate is an emphasis on fruit purity, with a bright core of blue fruit, notes of clove and outstanding tannin. $12

2014 Agnus Tannat

Tannat is generally an uber-tannic grape that can often times produce nearly unapproachable wines. This bottling however shows that even in youth, the Tannat from this part of Brazil makes for very drinkable, well structured wine. This wine is aged in barrel and that helps mellow a bit of the grape tannin and this wine takes on aromas of espresso, blackberry and dusty cherry. The palate is rich and round with lots of dark fruits and cocoa powder and opulence. $12