Sunday, October 21, 2007

What about Wine shopping in Mexico City ?

In order to do some wine shopping in Mexico City, the best way is to have your buddies giving you some advices.

Just had a thought - we will only be in Mx City for a few days before we go by bus to Morelia and then Patzcuaro. We are devoted wine drinkers and don't know what to expect in Morelia or Patzuaro as far as availability. Any recommendations for a place in Mx city to buy two or three interesting bottles to take with us? Thanks for any suggestions.

Morelia is actually a fairly sophisticated city. I don't think you should have too much difficulty finding good, drinkable wine there. Like the U.S., Costco in Mexico also has a pretty good wine selection. Morelia has a Costco. If you're taking a taxi into town from the bus station just have the driver stop at Costco, run in get a couple of bottles and then head for your hotel. There are also numerous liquor stores around town.

More information here:

What about Mexico Wine Country ?

Baja Wine Country
Mexico’s Baja wine country offers unique spirits worth exploring—an easy trip from Southern California.
By Frommer's Portable Los Cabos & Baja

Admittedly, Mexico is not the first country to come to mind when thinking of wine, but the emerging wine country in Baja does make for a memorable exploration and a unique and easy trip from Southern California. Take a long weekend and indulge in an exploration of the spirits here.

Day 1: Tijuana to Ensenada

Cross the border into Mexico, and make a stop in Tijuana for a generous sampling of Baja's wines at the Cava de Vinos L.A. Cetto (L.A. Cetto Winery). Cava is big and commercial, but it will give you an introduction to what Mexican wines have traditionally been known for. The cork-covered building is certainly a sight to see in and of itself. When you're finished (making sure you're sober enough to drive), head down the coast to Ensenada, but not before enjoying a truly wonderful meal at La Embotelladora Vieja at the Bodegas de Santo Tomás winery, which crafts its menu to complement wines. Be sure to book a room in advance at the Adobe Guadalupe if you want to truly immerse yourself in the wines of the Valle de Guadalupe. You also can stay in Ensenada, as it's just a 29km (18 mile) drive between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo along Highway 3.

Days 2 & 3: Valle de Guadalupe

To orient yourself and ensure that you start your explorations with some knowledge of the area's unusual history, pay a visit to the Museo Comunitario del Valle de Guadalupe and the Museo Histórico Comunitario. Try lunch at the Museo Communitario's adjacent Russian restaurant. Fill the rest of your days with visits to the various wineries where you can view bottling processes and partake in tastings. My preference are visits to the smaller, boutique wineries, such as Monte Xanic, Chateau Camou, or Mogor Badan, but you may also enjoy visiting one of the large establishments at L.A. Cetto or Domecq. Be certain to plan a meal (reservations are recommended) at Laja before heading back.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Setting standards of excellence in Mexican wines

The "Big Three" wineries may provide good, affordable wine for the mass market, but the small wineries are providing the enthusiasm in sophisticated wine circles. These elite vintners are
elevating the quality and the reputation of Mexican wine, As the excitement grows, several wineries and winemakers are well on their way to achieving cult status.

Hugo D'Acosta at Casa de Piedra, whose first vintage was in 1997, is the standard-bearer for the small boutique wineries in the valley. The unique winery is new, but looks old and was
designed to look like a stone house as the winery name implies. "We wanted to keep it
simple," says Hugo, "like our wine." While the winery makes a subdued architectural statement, the "simple" wines, as it turns out, are elegant and concentrated.

Casa de Piedra produces only two wines: a white, Piedra de Sol, made from Chardonnay grapes grown in high-density vineyards, and a red, Viño de Piedra, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Production currently sits at 1,250 cases, which D'Acosta hopes will soon double, as he is optimistic about the future of Mexican vines, especially the old vines
he's bringing back to productive life. "Old vines planted many years ago by the Russian emigrants may take on a new life.... The roots go very deep on these head-pruned plants and they are better adapted to the arid conditions. They could make beautiful wine," smiles D'Acosta.

Ice wine and beyond: Monte Xanic

Another star leading the quality charge is winemaker Hans Backhoff of Monte Xanic. The winery produces a Calixa line offering high quality, oakaged white and red varieties at a reasonable
price. There's also the premium or Monte Xanic line. The biggest surprise, however, comes from
Backhoff's Mexican ice wine. He found the nearby refrigerated lockers used by the local fishing industry perfect for freezing the grapes despite the Mediterranean-like climate.

While Mexican ice wine may seem a little out of place, so too did the idea of producing wine in Mexico, period. To the chagrin of skeptical critics, the commitment by Mexican winemakers
to produce quality wine is paying off. A growing number of wines now compete with top-tier winemaking regions around the world. And the best is yet to come, as is evidenced by the enthusiasm, dedication and confidence found throughout the Baja Peninsula. Says Christian MacKay of L.A. Cetto Winery: "With over 100 international awards, we are showing the wine drinkers of the world our best. Our wine is great; we only need to spread the word."

A freelance writer and retired international airline captain, Thomas J. Reagan Jr. travels extensively seeking great wines of the world.

A little Bordeaux inMexico

Deeper into the Valle de Guadalupe is the small town of Francisco Zarco. Driving down the bumpy, unpaved road toward wineries Château Camou and Monte Xanic is like stepping into an old Mexican movie set. Horses, goats, dogs and people roam the streets and on both sides of the road, houses and buildings have an authentic "well-worn look."

Entering Château Camou at the edge of town, dusty clay gives way to lush green. Winemaker Dr. Victor Torres is one of the fathers of the wine revolution in Mexico and his Bordeaux-style
wines reflect his time at the University of Bordeaux, where he obtained his doctorate in enology.

"One of the miracles here at Château Camou is the presence of very old vines; many over 60 years old–they are our treasure," says Fernando Favela, whose family owns the winery. Jesus
Rivera oversees this entire process with fanatical pride and guards the esteemed reputation of the winery, whose bottles grace the tables at haute cuisine restaurants throughout the U.S.

A freelance writer and retired international airline captain, Thomas J. Reagan Jr. travels extensively seeking great wines of the world.