Mexico is typically known as a place for Spring Break and the infamous Girls Gone Wild. However, if you've ever traveled there, you would know that this beautiful country, located just north of the Central American border, has much more to offer. For starters, Mexico's geography is very diverse, as it includes mountains, protected natural areas and biospheres and bountiful beaches with the bluest waters. Mexico is home to the Aztec and Mayan ruins of Teotihuacán and Chichen Itza, has a major economy that produces oil and is the world’s largest producer of silver. Moreover, that’s not all-Mexico has a growing wine industry. In fact, Mexico ranks about 22% in world grape production and 25th in world wine production. Hummm...interesting.
I have had the opportunity to travel to Mexico many times, including my most recent trip this month. However, it never seemed to be a place for a good glass of wine. I always found Tequila and beer flowing everywhere, and I have even been introduced to many outstanding cocktails. Yet, wine appeared to be like a neglected and forgotten stepchild. When I did locate some wine, it was mostly imported from other countries. This prompted a “wining hour” investigation. I wanted to know more about the wine regions, the grapes grown, the specific wine Mexico actually produces and if they would be pleasing to my palate.
Several different varietals of wines are produced in Mexico, both vino tinto and vino blanco. The vineyards in Mexico are spread out over 7 states. Sonora and Baja California are in Northern Mexico and produce approximately 90% of Mexico’s quality wines. In the North is where an equal amount of whites and reds are produced, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Grenache, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and more. Zacatecas, Queretaro and Aguascalientes are considered the central regions, which are found at high elevations and produce mostly sparkling and white wines, along with a few reds. Lastly, Durango and Coahuila make up La Laguna, or The Lake region, which mainly produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Tempranillo and a few white wines.
Due its topography, there are several variations in climate. The coast tends to be hot and humid, while the inland communities are dryer and moderate. Meanwhile, Mexico City, with its higher elevation can reach freezing temperatures. Naturally then, several grapes are grown that can withstand the heat as well as the coastal breezes and accounts for the variety of wines produced in Mexico.
*Casa Madera (Coahuila) The oldest wine estate in Mexico. www.madero.com.mx
*L. A. Cetto (Baja California) www.cetto.wines
*Monte Xanic (Baja California) www.montexanic.com.mx
When visiting Mexico, you can take a trip to the aforementioned vineyards or to many of the other vineyards located throughout the country. Alternatively, Casa Rolandi Restaurant and The Club Grill, located inside the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico offer impressive wine lists that include wines from the country’s vineyards. In fact, The Club Grill also features a Tasting Menu paired with wines.
For more info on Mexican food and wine pairing, read Wine Folly’s Breaking the Rules: Wine with Mexican Food
Despite being a producer of wine, it is not always easy to find in Mexico. However, if you are up for the hunt, here are a few suggestions:
Dubois Vino Blanco Espumoso, Queretaro
2012 Casa Madero Chardonnay, Valle de Parras, Coahuila
2012 Don Luis, L. A. Cetto Viognier, Baja California
2012 Monte Xanic, Vina Kristel Sauvignon Blanc, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California
2012 Santo Tomas Vino Rosado Grenache, Valle de San Vincente, Baja California
2010 Santo Tomas Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle De Santo Tomas, Baja California
2010 L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo Riserva Privada, Valle De Guadelupe, Baja California
2014 Saxo Me Cuvee, Valle De Guadalupe, Baja California
2012 Sinfonia de Tintos Cuvee, Quinta Monasterio, Valle de Guadalupe
So, winelover, have you tried any other Mexican wines? What’s your view on Mexican wine?
About The Wining Hour
The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel. The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items. The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday's at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)
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