Interview with Thiago Mendes, from Eno Cultura


The United States Diplomatic Mission in Brazil, through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), launched a two-year campaign in São Paulo on March 28, entitled #USFoodExperience (A gastronomic experience of the United States).

During these two years, lovers of excellence in cuisine will be able to experience typical ingredients, the richness of North American cuisine and the culture of each of the six gastronomic regions of the United States (Northeast, South and Southeast, Midwest, West and Pacific Coast ).

The first event of the campaign was the launch dinner #USFoodExperience, with the presence of the New York chef James Briscione - director of the Intitute of Culinary Education (ICE). He presented the essence of North American gastronomic culture to a select group of chefs, journalists and opinion makers.

"As in Brazil, the gastronomy of the United States varies greatly according to the region of the country. Our goal is to share this diversity and these flavors with Brazilians ", says Chanda Berk, the Agricultural Consul in São Paulo and director of USDA's Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Brazil.

The menu featured different products from the United States, including Alaskan Sockeye salmon and Halibut, beef, Pinto beans, Brooklyn beers, Mother Earth beers, Jim Beam and wines from the main producing regions of the country.

Eno Cultura was responsible for the wine harmonization of the #USFoodExperience campaign launch dinner. We invited Mr. Thiago Mendes, founder and director of Eno Cultura, to participate in an interview.

1- Thiago, what was it like to participate in the launch dinner of #USFoodExperience campaign?
For Eno Cultura, participating in the launch dinner of #USFoodExperience is supporting the development and growth of wines from the United States in Brazil.The United States is the world's fourth-largest wine producer, with regions, climates, and microclimates ranging in more than 1,100 miles that make up the California wine region, not to mention all other wine-producing states. The diversity of the several styles of wines and strains of grapes grown in the United States need to be communicated to the most influential personalities of Brazilian gastronomy.

2- Thiago, talk about the reasons that led to the selection of wines to harmonize with the dishes served during the dinner.
Diversity was the concept behind the harmonization, which in addition to being functional, aimed to show the variety in styles of wines produced in the United States and what is available in the Brazilian market.

We started with Chateaux St. Michele, Eroica, Riesling, 2013, wine from a little known region of Washington state, produced in partnership with one of the icons producers of the Mosel Valley in Germany, Dr. Loosen, which has demonstrated perfect balance and liveliness between acidity and citrus and tropical fruits with the freshness and delicacy of flavors of the initial entrance.

The Joseph Phelps, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir 2013 wine, this newcomer to Brazil, has demonstrated all the freshness, fruit purity and complexity that the Sonoma region has to offer. It certainly complemented the juiciness and texture of Smoked Alaska Sockeye Salmon very well.

Halibut from Alaska with a New England clam showder sauce, asks for a fairly cool, medium-complex wine, such as Beringer Private Reserve, Chadonnay 2010 from the classic Napa Valley region. That producer is very respected for consistency and quality since 1876 in all levels of wines produced.

Another classic among American wines, and one that could not stand out of that selection, is the Cabernet Sauvigon of Napa Valley, particularly when accompanied by a typical Angus New York prime strip. Robert Mondavi is world renowned for his talent as an enologist and for producing premium wines, such as "Opus One".

Oakville, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon demonstrated all the elegance and sophistication that the fine Napa wines offer, complementing the protein and texture of Angus, through the tannins and juicy fruit.

Still following the diversity theme, Robert Mondavi, Napa Valley, Moscato d'Oro 2015 sweetened the night with freshness and delicacy, accompanied by the Sicilian lemon tart. Moscato is a common grape in Northwestern Italy and in Southern Brazil. California has been producing good wines like this one.