Sunday, February 19, 2006

Four interesting articles about Mexican wines

Find here our monthly selection about Mexican wines

1. Mexican Wines at COPIA

COPIA is the American Center for Wine, Food, & the Arts located in downtown Napa. Yesterday, they had a free Wines of Mexico walk-around wine tasting. Paired with its free admission to COPIA for the month of January, it drew a large crowd, despite the persistent rains.

More information here:
http://sweetnapa.blogspot.com/2006/01/mexican-wines-at-copia.html



2. Mexican wineries Ensenada

More information here:
http://thetopwineinformation.com/blog/?p=3713


3. Baja Mexican wine

More information here:
http://the1topwineinformation.com/blog/?p=2668


4. Mexico's wine industry lure people with award-winning vintages

VALLE DE GUADALUPE, Mexico - When the market for Mexican wines plummeted 20 years ago, growers in this valley northeast of Ensenada started ripping out their grapevines.

More information here: http://latinamerican-markets.blogspot.com/2005/11/mexico-wine-industry.html

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Just discovered

Hello,

I just discovered your website and find it very interesting. I'll try to promote it with my friends.

Hubvdv

Monday, February 13, 2006

More opinions about Mexican wines and wineries


A Tasting Tour of the New World's Oldest, Newest, and Most Promising Wineries...
Quiz time everyone! Where is the oldest winery in the entire western hemisphere (in all the Americas -- from the Arctic Circle all the way down to Tierra Fuego)? Maybe California you say? Nope. Chile? Sorry, guess again. Maybe somewhere on the east coast. Not a chance.
Surprise! It's in Mexico!



1. Yesterday's Myths vs. Today's Reality
-------------------------------------------------------
In 1998 at the Challenge International du Vin, held in France, judges awarded gold medals to Monte Xanic 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon and to Monte Xanic 1995 Merlot. Chateau Camou 1995 Gran Vino Tinto was awarded a silver and the Prix d' Excellence (like a "best of show" blue ribbon) went to the Monte Xanic 1995 Cabernet.
My point isn't that Mexican wines are better than those of any other country, just that they can be every bit as good and complex as their better known brethren. Mexican wines can be as intense, as intriguing, and as well-made as the wines of any other country in the world.
There are some outstanding vineyards, and there are some wines that can really tickle the palate of an adventurous consumer. I'd like to help you find the better brands.
A couple brands that are consistently good include the Monte Xanic wines (which I held up as award winners a moment ago) and some of the venerable wines from Bodegas de Santo Tomas. One tip that can help you find the gems among a pile of ordinary stones is to stick to the reds.
It's no coincidence that all of the awards I mentioned a moment ago went to red wines. Red wines tend to do better in the southern parts of the northern hemisphere's wine belt, while whites do better in cooler realms. There could be exceptions, of course, but I think it's no accident that most of the wineries in Mexico will tell you that their best offerings are merlots or cabs.
Let's start off by figuring out what parts of Mexico you might want to visit if you're looking for wine.
2. Where the Wines Are.
----------------------------------.
Most wine production is in the Baja California Peninsula, but there are at least 3 mainland viticultural areas with at least a dozen small, local wineries. Let's start with Baja...
Baja
Baja California is to Mexican wineries like California is to United States wineries. By far, the lion's share of wine production (over 90 percent) happens on the west coast. There are two parts of Baja where you will likely find vineyards: the Guadalupe Valley near Ensenada, B.C. Norte and a relatively small number to the north of Los Cabos in B.C. Sur. Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe are the points to remember here.
Ensenada is no Napa, but the region is developing something of a reputation as Mexico's "wine country". From Ensenada, it is easy to visit at least 10 wineries. While it may have once been true that only a handful of varietals were produced in Mexico, today you can find at least a dozen or more different kinds of varietals.
If you want a chance to sample a large number of different Mexican wines at one time, try to time a visit to Ensenada to coincide with the opening of their Fiesta de las Vendimias celebration. The celebration includes a "Wine Experience" tasting.
Valle de Guadalupe runs along highway 3 between Ensenada and Tecate. You can drive route 3 and stop in at several wineries (maybe cross at Tecate and drive south towards Ensenada). The wineries along this route include (roughly in order as they appear along the road from north to south) L.A. Cetto, Pedro Domecq, Bodegas Valle de Guadalupe, Chateau Camou, Monte Xanic, Vina Liceaga, and Casa de Piedra.
After doing the wine tour drive, you could plan to spend the night in Ensenada and visit a couple of wine tasting rooms in the city.
Bodegas de Santo Tomas is the oldest and most venerable winery in Baja California, having gotten its start in 1888. They run a tasting room in Ensenada at Av. Miramar 666. Cavas Valmar is about a century younger, but they also run a tasting room in Ensenada; theirs is at Av. Riveroll 1950, at the corner of Calle Ambar.
One of the more interesting developments in recent years is that Spanish vintner Freixenet (famous for their satiny black bottles as much as for their dry sparkling wines) opened a winery in Baja.
Other Regions
As I mentioned, the lion's share of Mexican wine is produced in Baja California. Yet it is categorically wrong to assume that Baja is the only place in Mexico where wines are made, just as it is categorically wrong to say that all American wines are from California. Knowledgable wine drinkers know that there are small local boutique wineries along the east coast and in quite a few states throughout the U.S. (even here in Texas, a land known more for scrub lands and longhorn steers, wineries proliferate especially in the rolling hills northwest of San Antonio and west of Austin).
In Mexico, wineries exist in several states, including Sonora, Zacatecas, Querataro, and Coahuila.That one winery that deserves special attention from wine connoisseurs is Casa Madero.
Casa Madero is a very special winery because it is the oldest winery anywhere in the Americas. The winery was established in 1597 in Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila. Coahuila is a rugged state in the north central part of Mexico, and Parras is a small town on Carreterra 40, about an hour west of Saltillo (figure two hours driving from Monterrey). Casa Madero is located on an old hacienda about 2 miles north of the town (on the road to La Paila). The winery welcomes visitors and a tasting room is open from 9am to 5pm.
Casa Madero produces several varietals including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. They also produce two reserve brandies that are generally regarded as better than any other brandies in Mexico. While none of these are held up by connoisseurs as the benchmark by which to judge all other wines, they are still very good wines of above average quality. Most critics will probably rank them as 3-1/2 to 4 star wines. I find the chardonnay to be softer than some of my favorite California chardonnays. The cabernet sauvignon has a very big, well rounded character with a lot of intense fruitiness. Their merlot is a soft, rounded red that many people regard as the best of the winery's regular brands. All three of these wines are imported to the U.S., though in very limited quantities.
Parras is a fascinating little place that's well off the tourist path. It's got a fascinating history behind it (it's the town where Pancho Villa was gunned down), but the place is interesting to me, because it is a town where wine has been made for more than 400 years. While Casa Madero is the undisputed quality leader in the area, there are also a handful of smaller wineries around the town producing mostly low-end wines (including sherry and port) for a purely local market. Like some of the Baja wineries, most of this production is destined for the stills.
If you want to sample some of the obscure wines of the region, stop at one of the bodegas in town. Ask a local for directions to either Vinos Caseros Santo Madero or Vinos Caseros Fuantos.
You can also find a small scattering of local wineries around the colonial city of Zacatecas (often called the "pink city"). I absolutely love Zacatecas, and a visit is made even better by enjoying a bottle of local red wine at dinner. There are at least four small wineries in Zacatecas, and the best-known local brand is Cachola. The winery itself is outside the city in Valle de las Arsinas at the intersection of highways 45 and 49. If you plan to visit the winery, they ask for advance notice.
Some Mexican Wines You Might Find
Here are a few of the wineries that I mentioned in this review, along with recommendations for some of their wines .
* Monte Xanic (Cabernet Sauvignon)
* Chateau Camou (Gran Vino Tinto)
* L.A. Cetto (Petit Sirah)
* Casa Madero (Merlot)
* Domecq (Cabernet Sauvignon)
* Santo Tomas (Merlot)
* Freixenet Mexico (Sala Vive)
* Cachola (Ruby Cabernet)

Anonimous opinion about Mexican wines





1. What about a bottle of Mexican Wine?

You'll find some, but not many in the US. Because of the heavy export duties to the United States, they haven't been recognized as they should. One suggestion is Duetto, made in both California and Mexico. It's made from two kinds of grapes grown in each place.

Connoisseurs of both domestic and imported wines will appreciate Sancho Panza Wine Bistro, hidden within Plaza Las Glorias Hotel. Owner Ron Kleist stocks 160 types of wine from South Africa to Chile. Bottles range from $15 - $200. Jazz musicians perform every night, and Wednesday is wine tasting night - for a nominal fee, you can have an appetizer and sample all the wines you want. "I was in a phone booth in Des Moines, Iowa, setting up a company there," says Kleist.

"It was snowing, and I said 'that's enough.'" He came to Cabo six years ago and named his restaurant after Don Quixote's squire. When it comes to Mexican wines, he recommends those from Valle de Guadeloupe, near Ensenada. Chateau Carmou is another good choice, he adds.


2. The Mexican wine industry

While you could say that Mexico has the oldest wine industry in the hemisphere, it is really a much younger industry than you might think. Most of Mexico's wine is made in Baja, but with the exception of Santo Tomas, none of today's wineries existed there prior to the early 1990s. Even Santo Tomas is a very, very different winery than it was 10 years ago -- they've updated techniques and modernized equipment. While there are really only a handful of small wineries in Baja today, the excellent growing climate of the Valle de Guadalupe could portend the growth of several more...if only Mexicans drank more wine. Mexico is not a wine-drinking country. People drink beer and they drink tequila. They might reach for a brandy, but very seldom do they reach for a wine. (Mexican per capita consumption is about 2 glasses per year, compared to about 10 bottles in the United States and about 60 bottles in France.)

Mexico is a country with a fascinating winemaking history and several young, energetic vineyards producing some interesting wines and even the occasional excellent vintage. An adventurous palate would do well to give them a try.

Opinion about mexican wines

Opinion about Mexican wines
by Patrick Pollak

Yes, it's me again, but this time I am not here to talk about the elixir of the gods called Tequila, but about a much more common product… wine.
Wine production is widely spread throughout the globe. Not only countries like France, Italy, Spain, the United States or Australia produce wine. But let's focus on the region I want to talk about today, Mexico.
If I am lucky you might have heard that Mexico produces wine, however I am pretty sure you have a certain, not very good or quality oriented image of them. Well it is time to change.
Mexico has been producing wine for more than 5 centuries. This might come to a surprise, but the oldest vineyards and winery in America is in the state of Coahuila in Mexico. This winery founded by Don Lorenzo Garcia in 1597, 73 years after Aztecs fell, is nowadays called "Casa Madero". This house is a fine example of the wines that Mexico can produce: Clean, fruity, elegant and straightforward products like their Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Try them you will not be disappointed.
Like other wine producing countries, Mexico has passed through many changes and cycles. Many varieties of grapes have been used in the past, however today, the most popular ones are the basic grape types like Chardonnay or Cabernet. A bit rough some might say, however this is changing, the proof being Mexican wines have won several medals in different international contest like the "Challenge International du Vin" in France or the "Orange County Fair" in California or still the "Selections Mondiales" fair among many. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc are among the ones that excel in the warm Mexican climate.
There are a few wine producing regions in Mexico: Queretaro which produces mostly Cavas (Spanish version of Champagne), Parras in the North Eastern state of Coahuila. However the elite region is located near the town of Ensenada in Baja California, which has the best climate for wine growing. This is where we will find almost all of the wineries of this vast country.
The wine industry in Mexico has a tremendous potential and future. However it is still young in regards to modern wine production techniques and definitely young in terms of quality.
But quality is what brought me here and that is a common characteristic found in several of the Mexican wineries. Monte Xanic might be the best example of it. They have successfully positioned themselves as the first quality making winery in Mexico. This goes back to the 80' when they started producing wine. Nowadays, it is Mexico's finest large scale producing winery. They actually have 2 lines: the "Monte Xanic" label and the more easy drinking, less complex "Calixa" Line. Then comes the Ultimate "Gran Ricardo" which is a very limited production only bottled in Magnums. Exquisite and elegant. This winery is mainly recognized for producing wines of complex aromas, big fruit concentration and cellaring potential. Their newest line (Calixa) is made for day to day drinking with more flexibility and user friendliness. Their Chardonnay "Calixa" is a delight with tropical flavors, a lot of freshness and crispiness but not heavy.
Bodegas Santo Tomas is another big player in the Mexican industry. They produce some fine wines like the "Santo Tomas Gran Reserva Unico" among others. They have successfully produced a joint venture wine with Wente Bros in Livermore California called "Duetto": Elegant, complex and very well made red wine.
Domecq might be a familiar name for some of you and why not, it is one of Spain's most notorious names in regards to sherry. This traditional house, which begun producing Mexican brandy some 60 years ago also brings some interesting choices. The "X-A" range is a well made all day line of wines, whereas the "Chateau Domecq" is the real stuff: Complexity and extraction with cellaring potential.
You might be familiar with the wines from L.A. Cetto. This winery has done a very good job at exporting their products overseas, like to the UK, which by the way is still the best client of Mexican producers. L.A. Cetto produces several examples of fine wines, one of their best being the "Nebbiolo Reserva" and the fairly new "Don Luis" line, which is a premium line with interesting blends.
And then there are the small wineries... Ranging from size and production, these emerging wineries like Chateau Camou, Casa de Piedra, Vinas de Liceaga, Mogor Badan or Cavas Valmar produce some of the most interesting wines. These houses, some of them we could refer to as boutique wineries bring some of the best examples of the New Mexican "savoir faire". Their wine makers are constantly producing new and exciting wines like the red "Vino de Piedra" and the white "Piedra del Sol", which for me exemplifies the driving desire to produce fine wine. These two wines are certainly some of the best wines I have tasted from Mexico and getting your hands on a bottle of these might be either costly or difficult to do.
El "Gran Vino Tinto" from Chateau Camou is another fine example of Bordeaux like wines, which have received numerous awards. This house also produces a good oaky style chardonnay and Fume Blanc.
Reviewing in detail each of these wineries would take too long and I would probably confuse you with the funny names. So let's wrap it up, just remember that there is another exciting wine region out there with products to suit every taste and whose industry is still flowering. I am sure it will come to you as a different & nice surprise.
Salud!!
Written By Patrick Pollak
Patrick Pollak is a native of Mexico & the Assistant Director of Food & Beverage at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Chicago.

Comment on Mexican wines and wineries


Opinion about Mexican wines
by Patrick Pollak

Yes, it's me again, but this time I am not here to talk about the elixir of the gods called Tequila, but about a much more common product… wine.

Wine production is widely spread throughout the globe. Not only countries like France, Italy, Spain, the United States or Australia produce wine. But let's focus on the region I want to talk about today, Mexico.

If I am lucky you might have heard that Mexico produces wine, however I am pretty sure you have a certain, not very good or quality oriented image of them. Well it is time to change.

Mexico has been producing wine for more than 5 centuries. This might come to a surprise, but the oldest vineyards and winery in America is in the state of Coahuila in Mexico. This winery founded by Don Lorenzo Garcia in 1597, 73 years after Aztecs fell, is nowadays called "Casa Madero". This house is a fine example of the wines that Mexico can produce: Clean, fruity, elegant and straightforward products like their Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Try them you will not be disappointed.

Like other wine producing countries, Mexico has passed through many changes and cycles. Many varieties of grapes have been used in the past, however today, the most popular ones are the basic grape types like Chardonnay or Cabernet. A bit rough some might say, however this is changing, the proof being Mexican wines have won several medals in different international contest like the "Challenge International du Vin" in France or the "Orange County Fair" in California or still the "Selections Mondiales" fair among many. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc are among the ones that excel in the warm Mexican climate.

There are a few wine producing regions in Mexico: Queretaro which produces mostly Cavas (Spanish version of Champagne), Parras in the North Eastern state of Coahuila. However the elite region is located near the town of Ensenada in Baja California, which has the best climate for wine growing. This is where we will find almost all of the wineries of this vast country.

The wine industry in Mexico has a tremendous potential and future. However it is still young in regards to modern wine production techniques and definitely young in terms of quality.

But quality is what brought me here and that is a common characteristic found in several of the Mexican wineries. Monte Xanic might be the best example of it. They have successfully positioned themselves as the first quality making winery in Mexico. This goes back to the 80' when they started producing wine. Nowadays, it is Mexico's finest large scale producing winery. They actually have 2 lines: the "Monte Xanic" label and the more easy drinking, less complex "Calixa" Line. Then comes the Ultimate "Gran Ricardo" which is a very limited production only bottled in Magnums. Exquisite and elegant. This winery is mainly recognized for producing wines of complex aromas, big fruit concentration and cellaring potential. Their newest line (Calixa) is made for day to day drinking with more flexibility and user friendliness. Their Chardonnay "Calixa" is a delight with tropical flavors, a lot of freshness and crispiness but not heavy.

Bodegas Santo Tomas is another big player in the Mexican industry. They produce some fine wines like the "Santo Tomas Gran Reserva Unico" among others. They have successfully produced a joint venture wine with Wente Bros in Livermore California called "Duetto": Elegant, complex and very well made red wine.

Domecq might be a familiar name for some of you and why not, it is one of Spain's most notorious names in regards to sherry. This traditional house, which begun producing Mexican brandy some 60 years ago also brings some interesting choices. The "X-A" range is a well made all day line of wines, whereas the "Chateau Domecq" is the real stuff: Complexity and extraction with cellaring potential.

You might be familiar with the wines from L.A. Cetto. This winery has done a very good job at exporting their products overseas, like to the UK, which by the way is still the best client of Mexican producers. L.A. Cetto produces several examples of fine wines, one of their best being the "Nebbiolo Reserva" and the fairly new "Don Luis" line, which is a premium line with interesting blends.

And then there are the small wineries... Ranging from size and production, these emerging wineries like Chateau Camou, Casa de Piedra, Vinas de Liceaga, Mogor Badan or Cavas Valmar produce some of the most interesting wines. These houses, some of them we could refer to as boutique wineries bring some of the best examples of the New Mexican "savoir faire". Their wine makers are constantly producing new and exciting wines like the red "Vino de Piedra" and the white "Piedra del Sol", which for me exemplifies the driving desire to produce fine wine. These two wines are certainly some of the best wines I have tasted from Mexico and getting your hands on a bottle of these might be either costly or difficult to do.

El "Gran Vino Tinto" from Chateau Camou is another fine example of Bordeaux like wines, which have received numerous awards. This house also produces a good oaky style chardonnay and Fume Blanc.

Reviewing in detail each of these wineries would take too long and I would probably confuse you with the funny names. So let's wrap it up, just remember that there is another exciting wine region out there with products to suit every taste and whose industry is still flowering. I am sure it will come to you as a different & nice surprise.

Salud!!

Written By Patrick Pollak
Patrick Pollak is a native of Mexico & the Assistant Director of Food & Beverage at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Chicago.