Mexico is known for beer, tequila and mezcal, and we must admit there are some great brands. However, what most don’t know is the popularity of Mexican wine has been on the rise since the 1980’s. Even with the majority of the population only consuming an average of two glasses of wine per year, Mexico is becoming a big player in the world of wine.
Surpassing a sophistication level, Mexico is setting a standard of excellence in both production and taste, creating the opportunity to compete with top winemakers of the world.
The hotspot for winemaking is the Baja California Region of Valle de Guadalupe sitting at thirty two degrees latitude. Valle de Guadalupe is home to the “ruta del vino”, a wine route connecting 52 wineries. Starting in Ensenada, this stunning location is fast becoming a tourism destination, similar to Sonoma Valley, California. In addition there are other emerging locations like the states of Zacatecas, Guanajuato and Queretaro that are also producing some great surprises.
Credited for introducing grapes to the Baja region, Russian immigrants purchased 40 hectares (100 acres) and encouraged others to do the same. The inspiration of a community led to Valle de Guadalupe’s reputation for making great wine.
The region provides a distinctive taste, texture, and aroma in its wine. Perhaps it’s the hint of minerals from the earth, or a trace of salt providing the balance and spirit to the wine. The climate here resonates with the grapes, fulfilling an earthly purpose lost for centuries.
Spaniards introduced European grapevines in the 16th century, however Mexican winemaking never took off, and was even prohibited from production (unless for church use) from 1699 until Mexico’s Independence in 1821. With production expanding and perfected over the past twenty years, vineyards are fairly new by wine standards.
With more interest in winemaking, consumption is also on the rise in the country. The wines of Mexico have their own personality. Consuming their product with pride, the people of Mexico are evolving like a fine wine when it comes to this spirit.
Poetry in tending the grapes to perfecting the blends, Mexican wine is a gift awaiting the wine connoisseur and the novice.
We’ll raise a glass to that. Salud!