September 14, 2016
Region of the Week: Mexico
Grito de Dolores, or Mexico’s Independence Day, is taking place this Friday, and it’s the occasion for us to focus on this fascinating country. Mexico may be known for its many museums, delicious street food, party culture and gorgeous beaches, we often forget to mention the country’s buzzing wine industry. Mexico is experiencing a true wine revolution, and we’re here for it! Read all about the forgotten region below:
A little bit of history…
The history of winemaking in Mexico began in the 16th Century, when Spaniards brought vines from Europe to Mexico. From then on, wine was only produced on a very small scale in the country, and production stopped completely in the 17th century, when Charles II of Spain prohibited winemaking in Mexico, except for Church purposes. It is only after Independence (in 1810), that production rose again, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the 1980s, winemaking in Mexico rose both in quality and quantity, thanks to the support of the National Viticulture Association, who helped introduce and promote modern techniques. Although Mexico is not a traditionally wine-drinking country – the alcohol culture being more centered on tequila, beer, or mezcal – the reputation of Mexican wines has grown steadily in the past few years, and it is not ready to stop!
Mexico and its grapes
Although there were indigenous grapes before the arrival of Spaniards, it is the European and moe specifically Spanish grapevines that strived in the country. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Barbera and Tempranillo are the red grapes that are most widely planted there, while Mexico has Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc for the whites.
There are three major wine-producing regions in Mexico, the main one being the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, just two hours by car from San Diego. The country’s biggest wine region is even sometimes referred to as a burgeoning Napa Valley, with its 100 wineries and the Ruta del Vino (Wine Route), which connects over 50 wineries across the region.
Where to taste?
The Valle de Guadalupe offers many different options, each more beautiful than the next, and Decantos Vinícola is a prime example. The 50-acre winery features amazing views from its gorgeous patio, and is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the view. For great sustainable mono-varietal wines, check out Finca La Carrodilla, which uses organic grapes and solar panels; try their Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz – they are best-sellers for a reason. For white lovers, Monte Xanic and their popular Sauvignon Blanc is the way to go! Sip on one of its award-winning whites while overlooking the winery’s lake: it’s worth it, we promise!