This week I sat down with celebrity editor in chief of the Tribune, to sample wine produced here in Mexico. There has been a fair bit of press lately around the region known as Valle De Guadalupe, and its wines have truly come into their own over the past five years.
My goal in writing these articles is to encourage us all to really enjoy the very best of living not only in this beautiful part of the country, but to explore and try the many fantastic foods and products produced locally in Mexico. Anyone who knows me can attest to my love of great wine, and along with fresh flavourful food, I think that sharing a bottle or two together with friends is one of the best experiences we have in life. I do understand that for many reasons people do not consume alcohol, so my goal is not to encourage alcohol consumption, but for those who do raise the odd glass, you might as well know a little about what options you have locally.
Similar to most wine producing regions of the world, Mexico has a large number of small-batch wineries located in and around the Valle De Guadalupe area. From Puerto Vallarta, you can grab a flight to Tijuana and head south towards Ensenada. There are several boutique hotel options available for you, but the trip can be made less expensive by day tripping and heading back to rest your head in the Ensenada area. The great news is that we have a few local shops located here in Vallarta that have an impressive number of wineries represented and offer price points around $170MX and up. Most bottles I pick up seem to be in the $300MX to $750MX price range.
Ok, before you say, “No way am I spending $750MX on a bottle of wine!” I will say that there are much less expensive wines produced in Mexico by large-scale wineries. You can pick those up almost anywhere for under $100MX and add to your daily repertoire. However, due to small scale production of these boutique wineries, the prices are higher than what we might spend to have a glass while watching Netflix and snacking.
The three bottles we tried this week included one rose and two blends, or tinto’s. One of the interesting things is that the two bottles both from Rivero Gonzalez winery also list the total number of bottles produced. If you are going to spend a few extra dollars on the wine for a nice meal or as a gift, it is interesting to see that information and be able to share it. You are after all paying for the limited production from these wineries.
Most red wines will be served at room temperature, but ask the people working in the store for clarity, as there are exceptions to everything in life. Room temperature is based on a geography in a part of the world that has cool temperate climates. Aim for a temperature around sixty-five frenheit or 18 degrees celsius. You will need to refrigerate it for a few hours here before serving. It also helps to use chilled glasses since the wine can warm very quickly changing the taste. My guest and I experienced this first hand this past weekend, and the taste of the wine changed fairly dramatically from earthy and delicious to muddy.
We enjoyed the Rose and thought it was a good ‘chilling by the pool’ wine. Very dry, unlike many of the mass-produced versions and much more of a traditional Rose served in France. Some lightly flavored cheese and fresh pears or apples would have been great. I served neither!
The two bottles of blends we tried were both good. However, the slightly more expensive bottle at $600MX was the one that we tasted until there was no more left. They could have used some time decanted or put thru an aerator if you have one. Both of the blends I would have served with grilled or roasted meats, and I will serve again in our cool January evenings with a hearty stew or rack of lamb.
So for those of you living in town, equally so for those who spend a few weeks or months, try to pick up a bottle or two of Mexican wine over the next few months. Share with your friends or organize a small wine tasting for everyone to chat, taste and perhaps find a new favorite bottle!
Until next time, Salud!