Friday, April 21, 2006

Mexican wine makes a comeback in the land of tequila

Mexican wine makes a comeback in the land of tequila

15.09.05By Tim Gaynor

ENSENADA, Mexico - Long before Mexico gained fame for its cool bottled beers and searing shots of tequila, pioneering winemakers were planting vines and laying down the New World's first vintages there.
Banned in the 1600s by Spain and subsequently eclipsed by local brewers and distillers, the once flourishing industry is now making a comeback in three semi-desert valleys a few miles south of the US border.
Twenty-two wineries dot the San Vicente, Santo Tomas and Guadalupe valleys, close to the Pacific coast resort of Ensenada in Baja California state, and are winning critical attention both in Mexico and abroad.

Production is small at just 1.5 million cases a year, but the reds and whites produced in the region of 7,400 acres have won more than 20 medals at international fairs in Europe and the Americas in the past decade. Aided by wine technicians and enologists from as far afield as Chile and Italy, Mexican growers have invested millions of dollars in their vine stocks and in state-of-the-art equipment, to put the local wine industry back in business.

"When people think of Mexico they think of beer and tequila, but winemaking is having its renaissance," Baja California Winemakers Association manager Blanca Acosta said as she drove through rows of vineyards near Ensenada. "The climate and soils are producing some really world beating wines," she added.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Comments about Mexican wines - by Jose Morales

Nice idea about these mexican wines. Here is my opinion.

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.

Mexan wines at Copia (USA)

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.

The show featured the wine-growing region of Baja, California, which is comprised of three valleys near Ensenada, about 60 miles south of San Diego. Thanks to an Arctic current that pulls cold water up from the depths of the ocean to create a Mediterranean-like micro-climate in this area, it has become a wine growing region. Wine has been made their on and off for the past 300 years. Oddly enough, in 1905, it was a colony of Russians who had arrived and revived its vineyards, which have been producing and multiplying ever since.

The show was exceedingly well done. The tables were arranged on the perimeter of the room, so that all you had to do was walk up, wait for a few people in front of you, and then have a choice of about 4 wines to try. One table even had grappa. There were a few food tables and plenty of room. None of the wines were for sale, it was just a tasting. I have to admit, I felt like I was stealing--so much free stuff so graciously offered.

I wish I'd liked more wines, but I was jolted by a zinfandel with a syrupy sweet start.... a sour cabernet sauvignon.... a puckery syrah. I guess I like balanced wines, so if a strong flavor bursts out, I retreat. But I did enjoy the refreshing, crisp Chardonnay Reserva 2004 at Vinicola L.A. Cetta.

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