Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy National Cachaça Day 2011

Last year about this time, Flavors of Brazil saluted Brazil's National Cachaça Day which is commemorated every September 13, in honor of the date in 1661 on which the production of cachaça in Brazil was legalized. Such an important and august date deserves more than one post on this blog, so once again we're raising a glass of Brazil's national spirit and toasting the iconic sugar-cane-based liquor with the traditional "saúde!" Pronounced "sow-OO-gee", saúde is the Portuguese word for health and it is as obligatory when toasting in Brazil as Cheers! is in English.
 Expocachaça  at São Paulo's Municipal Market

As part of the lead-up to today's celebrations, an international cachaça exposition and trade fair was held last week in São Paulo. It took place at the city's beautiful municipal market and combined a profession trade fair with an exhibition open to the public. Organizers estimated that  20,000 visitors attended the exposition, and sales of  cachaça were estimated to be somewhere between R$800 thousand ($500 thousand) and $1 million ($600 thousand).

Blind tasting
As part of the trade fair a blind tasting was held to determine the best brands of cachaça in Brazil. The fours judges, two "sensory technicians", one journalist and a sommelier, tasted 91 different brands and ranked each one. Fortunately, rules of the tasting prohibited swallowing the liquor - elsewise, the judges would never have made it to the last few samples! Between each sample, the judges used dry white bread and green apples to clear the palate, and inhaled the aroma of coffee beans to clear the olfactory glands.

The cachaças were divided into two groups - white and aged (golden) - and each group received its own ranking. At the end of the tasting the judges divulged a list of the 10 best white cachaças and the 10 best aged (golden) brands in Brazil (and presumably the world).

Even though many of the winning brands are artisanal and only made in small quantities for the domestic market in Brazil, here is the complete list of winners. We at Flavors of Brazil are going to try to track down the best is each category to provide our own judgment on their quality and will report the results on the blog. We can't promise, though, not to swallow! (Maybe that's why it's called a blind tasting...)
Brazil's best cachaças - Expocachaça 2011, São Paulo

White cachaças:
1) Casa Bucco
2) Branca de Minas
3) A Tentadora
4) Pé do Morro
5) Engenho São Luiz
6) Santo Grau Século XVIII
7) Germana Soul
8) Ouro 1 Prata
9) Batista
10) Engenho d'Ouro

Aged (golden) cachaças:
1) Pedra Branca
2) Magnífica Soleira
3) Velho Alambique
4) Germana Heritage
5) Chacrinha Ouro
6) Dona Beja Sarau
7) Vale Verde 12 Anos
8) Magnífica Envelhecida
9) Colombina
10) Capim Cheiroso

1 comment:

  1. What?! I missed it! I hope no one minds if I raise a glass a day late? I will put this in my diary for next year. I have been to that market in SP, but then I was hunting for their famous (and enormous) pastel de bacalhau (yum!).

    What an interesting post - I am a big fan of Cachaça and so feel really lucky to live here where it can be obtained so cheaply and easily. And a BIG thank you for the list. Of these I have only tried Magnífica Envelhecida (which was indeed great). Now I will try to track the others down. Cheers!