The New York Post recently featured the best wines of Mexico, many of which come from the Valle de Guadalupe on the nation’s western Baja Coast south of Tijuana and north of popular vacation destinations, such as luxurious Cabo San Lucas and scenic Puerto Vallarta.
“Close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, a climate that’s cooler than most of Mexico and mountains that border the valley all conspire to create good growing conditions there for chardonnay, cabernet and merlot,” writes the New York Post. “Wine has been produced in Mexico since the 1600s, but in recent years, vintners have traveled and educated themselves to create unique wines that hold their own alongside global competitors.”
In addition to producing wines that taste really good, the price of top-notch wines coming out of Mexico is very reasonable compared to similar varieties that are coming out of well-established areas in California, France or Italy. And you can add to all of this the fact that some of the world’s top tasters and connoisseurs have found wines from Mexico to be even more distinctive in flavor than those from the world’s traditional top wine producing regions.
“The Baja region gets a lot of sun, which is good for full-bodied wines,” says Hugo D’Acosta, who is a trained French winemaker, lauded as the Robert Mondavi of Mexico and owner of four wineries, including the esteemed Casa de Piedra, according to the Post. “It [feels like] Northern Italy.”
Although the fine wine scene in Mexico is still young, with production of any single vintage typically limited to 3,000 cases or less, this actually works in the favor of local producers, because it means that each winery is considered to be “boutique.” The region’s most popular varieties include chardonnay, Grenache, Bordeaux-style cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which have characteristics similar to wines hailing out of California,Italy and France.
“There is a new generation of winemakers who have been traveling the world,” says D’Acosta. “They’ve been exposed to places like France and Italy and Spain and to the wines from there.”
This early phase of Mexico’s winemaking history is allowing vintners to experiment with a variety of different flavors and notes, combined with a reverence for tradition and a dedication to producing wines that can compete on an international level.
Here is a summary of the three Mexico wines that were selected for recognition by the New York Post:
Jalá, Valle de Guadalupe
A blend of cabernet sauvignon and Grenache, this wine is described as “a little spicy with hints of cinnamon and clove,” according to Hugo Orozco, who owns Brooklyn-based La Slowteria, which offers the wine for sale at a retail price of $55.
L.A. Cetto, Valle de Guadalupe
Intense and savory, this sauvignon blanc is ”pretty flavorful because the fruit ripens so nicely down there,” according to Roberto Santibanez, who owns the New York-based Fonda restaurant, where the wine is served for $38 a bottle and is recommended to be paired with salpicón pescado, or pan-scorched cod, flavored with onions, cilantro and chili peppers.
Rivero González, Coahuila, Valle de Parras
A uniquely blended cabernet sauvignon, this wine is described as “a fantastically full-bodied white wine,” according to Felipe Donnely, who is a chef and partner at New York-based Comodo restaurant, where the wine is served for $75 a bottle and was recently paired with mescal-braised octopus, Brussels sprouts and Cesar salad.
What is your favorite wine from Mexico? Tell us in the comments section below!