Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hora Feliz Wines at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana




If you have a hankering for California or Mexican wine, you should stop by happy hour (hora feliz) at Oyamel. Oyamel is a playful mexican tapas-style restaurant located in Chinatown. The resto is owned and operated by world-famous chef Jose Andres who is known for spanish cooking, namely tapas or small plate dishes. He has a reputation for using non-traditional cooking methods and for owning several restos here in D.C. (jaleo, cafe atlantico, zaytinya, and minibar). Jose Andres restaurants are some of the best the city has to offer and Oyamel is no exception.

Right now, Oyamel is offering happy hour wines by the glass at half price. Although the wine offers only a handful of red and white wines, it serves up California and Mexican wines which are sure to compliment the $4 happy hour tacos. Check out the fun and unique cocktail selection as well!

Mexico's premier wine and food festival a smashing success




The XIX Fiestas de La Vendimia, Baja California's famous wine festival, was very successful this year, featuring forty-five wine and food related events that took place from August 7th through 23rd. The events have captured the attention and enthusiasm of residents of the area and other parts of Mexico, as well as wine lovers from all over the world, as they discover and explore authentic fine Mexican wines. Little by little, Mexico seems to be embracing the world of wine, gourmet food, and wine country exploration, along with the ubiquitous tequila and beer. According to local wine country writer and travel guide, Steve Dryden, "It’s a very exciting time to be enjoying the lifestyle of the Mexican wine culture."

The article continues here: http://www.examiner.com/x-16812-Southwest-Wine-Travel-Examiner~y2009m8d26-Mexicos-premier-wine-and-food-festival-a-smashing-success

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gourmet experiments. Traditional Mexican Candy paired with Mexican wine




I want to share a very interesting experience that I just had at the L.A. Cetto wine boutique here in Mexico City.

My friend Berith Tinajero, director of La Bella Época, and Pablo Torres from the L.A. Cetto wine boutique, invited me some weeks ago to a very unique event: a traditional Mexican candy tasting with wine pairing.

There is so much to tell about this interesting experience, that I'm going to divide it up into two blog posts. This first one shall be dedicated to the white wine experience.

The article continues here: http://blog.more-mexico.com.mx/search/label/Mexican%20wine

Book about Mexican Food

Ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Torsten Rahn and write an essay that will appear as a brochure or book, on''The Wine Country Mexico-Local Food and Recipes''.

Some info I have, but I need the latest available statistics, wine law changes and everything that has to do with wine from Mexico. I would be glad if you could help me with my project. I take everything that has information material related to food and wine from Mexico. Happy to e-mail or post. For incidental postage I come to you.

Hoping to help and friendly greetings



Wine School Dresden
Branch of the HWBR Rostock
Torsten Rahn
Schwepnitz Street 1
Dresden / Germany
01097

Tel: 0351-6567980
Fax: 03212-1128764
Mobile :0173-9124730
e-mail: rahn.t @ t-online.de

Lookingfor Icaro wines




Hello,

I am looking to buy Icaro blend of Merlot/Shiraz - Do you have a website address?
Muchas Gracias, Jessica

contact: jesse.johnston@verizon.net

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Puerto Vallarta offers the best of Mexican boutique wines



Puerto Vallarta real estate offers incredible variety when it comes to food. In addition to many other options, this city is well known for its place that it holds in the world of high cuisine. A part of this culture is the fine selection of wine which Puerto Vallarta offers. Not only does Puerto Vallarta offer its residents the best selection of wine from around the world, but it also offers the finest selection of Mexican “boutique” wines, coming from Baja California.

Article continues here

Mexican Wine Country Vacation Guide!




Whether you have visited California’s wine country and are looking for a different experience, or have always dreamed of taking a wine-themed vacation, visiting the Baja region of Mexico allows for some of the best wine tours and accommodations. While winemaking is not indigenous to Mexico, thanks to Russian entrepreneurs, over time the Valle de Guadalupe region has been known as Mexico’s premier exporter of fine, locally-grown wines.

The article continues here:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Explore Mexican Wine on Gina Naya's blog


If you’re a wine lover planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta (or anywhere in Mexico,) this is the blog to read. Gina Naya's Blog details the best of the local wines (who knew?), wine restaurants, as well as smart food pairings that will have you shunning reposado and shouting "me gusta la vino roja de Mexico!" (Don't judge me, my Spanish is quite rusty.)


Naya describes recent wine events featuring such goodies as Catena Zapata wines, the Argentine wine push into Mexico, while sharing photos from a recent trip to Mexico's premier winery, Castillo de las Minas. Naya, no wine novice, describes each wine’s nose, body and ideal food pairings from her tastings there.


Naya obviously is a cheerleader for her city, region and country – and especially for the artisan winemakers – but her enthusiasm and beautiful photos make it a site to see prior to a journey (or weekend trip) to sunny Mexico.

Here is the blog: http://www.g-naya.com/

Xcaret Park Wine Cellar-A Tribute to Mexican Wine



If you are a wine lover, you will have the time of your life discovering the truly delicious Mexican wine at Xcaret Park´s newly constructed Wine Cellar. This Xcaret attraction is located beneath the park´s Main Plaza and features hundreds of Mexican wines for tasting and purchasing. Visitors that wish to enjoy this Xcaret attraction will be offered a Wine Cellar Tour or an extravagant meal in the special cellar dining room featuring various wine labels from the Mexican states of Baja California, Zacatecas, Coahuila and many more.

The Wine Cellar at Xcaret Park which its original name is “Vino de México” stocks nearly 3500 bottles in more than 160 Mexican labels which include famous wineries such as Casa Madero, Santo Tomas and Domecq. The Xcaret Wine Cellar was designed to share the history of Mexican wine, as well as encouraging visitors to try many different wines. Xcaret´s Wine Cellar is the only one in the world that stocks Mexican wines exclusively.

Article continues here: http://www.experiencexcaret.com/xcaret-attractions/xcaret-park-wine-cellar-a-tribute-to-mexican-wine/

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Discover the 2005 Barón Balch'é Reserva Especial




The Roommate doesn't drink, but she was kind enough to snag me a bottle of Mexican wine during a summer trip to Cancún. I told her, "I don't really care what it is, I just want to be able to say I've tasted a Mexican wine." She found a shop with a helpful proprietor. To use a baseball metaphor, I was expecting a foul ball or perhaps a single. Instead, The Roommate knocked it out of the park.

The wine she got was the 2005 Barón Balch'é Reserva Especial from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, Mexico (just south of the US border). This is a beautifully restrained 12% abv--it drinks like silk. I've had similar low alcohol wines from places like Israel and Turkey, which runs counter to the conventional wisdom that the closer you get to the equator, the higher the alcohol must be.

Article continues here: http://wine-by-benito.blogspot.com/2009/09/2005-bar-balch-reserva-especial.html

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tasting Mexican wines

Hey guys, sorry for getting back so late with another wine blog. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the wine tasting of some of northern Mexico’s wines. I found a couple excellent choices. A chenin blanc, and a petit syrah.The first being a Chenin Blanc is from the winery of Santo Tomas. A refreshing wine with citrus notes, a refreshing bouquet, and pale wheat in colour. The taste is refreshing on the palate, and posesses a delightful finish. This wine would be great pared with Coquilles St. Jacques, any light white fish.

Article continues here: http://wineandfood.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/mexican-wines/

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Laboratorio gastronomico de Vino Club en Mexico



Preparando una nueva galería. "1er laboratorio gastronómico de interacción entre el vino mexicano y la gastronomia de vanguardia" en www.vinoclub.com.mx

Puerto Vallarta real estate offers the best of Mexican boutique wines



Puerto Vallarta real estate offers incredible variety when it comes to food. In addition to many other options, this city is well known for its place that it holds in the world of high cuisine. A part of this culture is the fine selection of wine which Puerto Vallarta offers. Not only does Puerto Vallarta offer its residents the best selection of wine from around the world, but it also offers the finest selection of Mexican “boutique” wines, coming from Baja California.

Article continues here: http://www.alanbolen.com/?p=14473

Mexican wines on Wikipedia



Mexican wine has a distinguished history. Mexico is the oldest wine-making region in the Americas:[citation needed] production began in 1597 when Spanish missionaries and settlers came across the gifted Parras valley in what is now the northern state of Coahuila, where they found abundant water and profusion of native vines. Today, the Valle de Parras in Coahuila is the country's second larger wine-making region after the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California. Although it is mostly produced and consumed in Northern Mexico, the wine industry in Mexico is believed to be one of the world's fastest growing in the next years, however is still limited and less consumed in the Central and Southern Mexican states, where the wine industry never had the same success than in the northern part of the country.

There are several Mexican wines which have achieved important international recognitions and received medals for their outstanding quality, such as Santo Tomás, Monte Xanic, L.A. Cetto, Chateau Camou and Vinos Casa de Piedra.

Article continues here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_wine

Greetings from California,




My parents recently visited a winery for the wine festival a few weeks ago. They loved it and really want me to visit. I live in Humboldt County in Northern California. We are a small community with a few local wineries and the giant Redwood Trees. I love wine and visit every winery I can in California--Both Napa and Sonoma Counties are very close by.

My mother also mentioned the dinner served to everyone. I am really excited and can not wait. My only concern are the Styrofoam cups that were given to my parents to drink wine out of--yuck. I am hoping when I visit I am not drinking wine out of one of these cups but severed the proper way, one can not swirl the wine and smell the nose, look for legs, and taste it effervescence in a plastic cup. I would love to learn more about your wine club. I have yet to drink your wine. My mother has purchased a bottle for me and I cant wait. I am very happy to know that Mexico has been growing grapes overfive hundred years. Viva Mexico y la pan dulce!

Thank You,Lorena Perez
www.co.humboldt.ca.us
sleepylola@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Elaboration of wines at Cavas Valmar




Currently the grapes used to make the Cavas Valmar wines come from wineries located in the Valle of San Vicente which is south of Ensenada. The vines there are 40 years old. The Chenin Blanc is produced at their winery in the Valle de Guadalupe with 30 year old plants.

The technology to make the Cava Valmar wines has constantly changed improving year after year: They have put forth larger and more modern equipment with even more adequate humidity temperature controls.

The elaboration of Chenin Blanc begins in July when vintners visit the wineries to check the characteristics desired for the grape harvest. That is to say that they look for sugar content, acidity in addition to selecting the part of the vineyard that is the healthiest with no damage to the leaves or the grapes.

Once they determine the harvest date, the harvest will begin in the first hours of the morning using plastic boxes with a capacity for 10 kilograms to avoid loosing the fruitiness and damage to the grapes during their transportation to Ensenada.

In Ensenada, the grapes are separated from the vines sending the juice, skin and seeds to the fermentation tanks. Afterwards, only the juice is sent to the fermentation. The skins and seeds are pressed and this juice is fermented separately being of lower quality. This juice is fermented at lower temperature of approximately 12 degrees centigrade for two or three months and after gelatin is added to be filtrated and stabilized for bottling. The bottles are sent to storage to rest for at least six months before being labeled to be ready for sale.

The elaboration of the Cabernet Sauvignon begins in September with the supervision of the vineyard. When the optimum conditions of quality are reached, the harvest begins. These grapes are also picked in the early hours of the morning in plastic boxes for their transportation to Ensenada where they begin their grinding process sending juice, skin and seed to the fermentation tanks where they stay for 12 days extracting the colors, flavors and aroma that will give the Cavas Valmar character. Once the alcoholic fermentation has completed the the wine is placed in the wood barrels where the second fermentation called malolactica begins.

At the end of the year the wine is sent to other barrels separating the sediment. They are sent to another facility with controlled temperature and humidity. They remain there aging a minimum of 12 months. After this, a bit of egg whites are added and filtrated, stabilized and bottled to be sent back to the winery where it will spend another 12 months before being labeled to be ready for sale.

Source: bajawines.com

Discover the Santo Tomas Vineyard of Baja California



Open since 1888, Bodegas de Santo Tomas winery has been producing wine longer than any other winery in Mexico. It is best known for having joined California's Wente Vineyard to produce Duetto, a 50-50 Santo Tomas/Wente blend. It is also known for its Santo Tomás Reserva Unico.

The origen of Santo Tomas Vineyard and Winery (Bodegas de Santo Tomas) comes from the Domincan Missionaries who settled the Baja area circa 1697. The mission of Santo Tomas de Aquino was started by Jose Loriente on April 24, 1791 in the Valle de Santo Tomas.

En 1888, Francisco Andonegul and Miguel Ormart started Santo Tomas Vineyards and Winery.

Abelardo Rodriquez acquired Santo Tomas Vineyards and Winery in 1932 and 3 years later established the business on Miramar Street in Ensenada Baja California where the first bottling plant was there was established in 1939.

Don Elias Pando continues the traditon now as the main principle owner.

Bodegas de Santo Tomas has over 118 years of business and service in the wine making business. They are one of the forefathers of the newly rediscovered wine industry here in Baja California.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Guataque wine event, Mexico (4/4)



When you put this wine event into the proper perspective, acknowledging that these dedicated, artisan and smaller producers, with limited resources and training are making a diverse mixture of drinkable wines, it’s very impressive. In deed, some of these winemakers from this event and local winemaking schools have moved up the chain and become known nationally for their artisan and boutique wines. In reality, Mexico’s wine industry is still emerging in quality and production, but it is an exciting time as the industry evolves. Due to the low production of wine, and with a growing national market for regional wine, many artisan winemakers are having success in selling their products. Handcrafted wines have the advantage of bringing to the consumer, the “bottled spirit and passion” of the individual winemakers and their intimate relationship to the vines and land. As we grow and gain experience with our craft, we offer great value for the quality, and a personal expression in the art of making small quantities of wine.

Several regional food venues were present with an abundance of gourmet delights for this event to include: Capricho’s, Casa Plasencia, Tres Misiones Cheese and Olive Oil. Cafe Tomas, Bodegas del Arte, and Hogaza pastries. The event organizers were able to artfully blend a combination of wine, cerveza, food, music, dancing and good times into a successful day in Mexico’s premium wine country. For those winemakers and wineries I didn’t mention in this article, don’t worry, I’ll be featuring several artisan operations in upcoming articles for this publication and others. Please contact me if you want further coverage of your wines and your passion for the art. Thankfully, Viña de Liceaga came through again as a graceful host for this event. Serious wine and food lovers, please note that as of July 1st, Saverios Restaurant (one of the best in the region) will be setting up their summer tent galley as Asador Campestre at Liceaga Winery in San Antonio de las Minas. They’ll be open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon until 10 p.m.

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Valle de Guadalupe where he guides individual and small group wine tours. He can be reached at: sbdryden@hotmail.com or www.bajawineandtours.com

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guateque wine event, Mexico (3/4)



Alvaro Alvarez and Hortensia Riesgo, brew-master and winemaker, have been focused an creating premium handcrafted beer and in Ensenada since 1992.
Zinfandel seems to be a “rising star” among the artisan winemaking movement. One reason for the presence of Zinfandel is that there was a small surplus left over this last season that made its way to the artisans and smaller producers who have to purchase grapes from growers. Pau Pijoan of Viñas Pijoan empowered one of his beautiful daughters and her friends to pour his Mare, a 100% Zinfandel which was a “stand-out” (the wine) at this event. Another notable Zinfandel poured is being produced by Agosto. This 2008 Zinfandel is a team effort by Laura Chanes, Monica Chanes, Gloria Guisa and Juan Antonio Fernandez. Quinta Liz Arraga, Laura Chanes was a fellow graduate of mine at the “world renowned” La Escuelita, the artisan winemaking school in El Porvenir, Valle de Guadalupe. She is one of many women in Mexico who are taking part in our emerging wine industry with great results and progress. Another 2007 Zinfandel from Serena, is another prime example for the potential of Zinfandel in the region.

To be continued

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Guateque wine event, Mexico (2/4)



Two interesting features this year was a nice presentation of regional micro-brewed beers (cerveza) and an abundance of Zinfandel wine. Labricha Cerveza Artesanal had an excellent table presentation with a fine selection of handcrafted beer, staffed with knowledgeable personnel. Their Monasterio Stout, is smooth, full-bodied, with hints of coffee and smoke flavors, that would pair-up nicely with oven-baked lamb and many mole dishes. In addition, they make a palate-pleasing light honey ale, bright golden color, clean, refreshing, with floral aromas, ending with a smooth finish with a hint of ginger. I’d love to match this brew with carne asada, or shrimp in coconut milk sauce.

To be continued ...

Guataque wine event, Mexico (1/4)



This annual wine event is probably the most enthusiastic and “down to earth” wine country event held each year in Valle de Guadalupe. The focus is on emerging winemakers, beginners, artisans, home-brewers, small operations and intermediate-level producers. This year’s event was enhanced with the use of the new multi-use activity center generously provided by Viña de Liceaga in San Antonio de las Minas. The overall event planning was brilliantly orchestrated by Leonardo Lizárraga and friends. It is remarkable to note that these events continue to advance and improve vastly with each season. The food venues, tickets sales, parking, sanitation, stage, live music, dancing area, gazebos, security, and table seating made for a fun, family-oriented event. One obvious element was that you could really feel the “enthusiasm and spirit” as you approached the grounds, filled with a diverse mix of people, micro-brewed beers, regional culinary delights and newly produced wines.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Casa de Piedra Winery, what and where ?



This project was born with the desire to produce an excellent wine for the enjoyment of the group of people whose interest and enthusiasm lay in the initiation of the winery. At Casa de Piedra, we have endeavored to make our "Estate Wine" using the grapes from the area and its diverse microclimates. Utilizing the latest technology combined with the expertise and sensibility of our winemakers, we have attained a level upon which, each bottle exclusively reflects the personality of the land.

The vineyard is located at km 93.5 in valley of San Antonio de las Minas, Baja California. The Casa de Piedra and its vineyards, is uniquely situated, lending its geometric rhythm and harmony to the vines. The building has an intimate farmhouse ambiance, but is well equipped with small capacity stainless steel tanks complete with computerized processing control, a semi-gravitational system and underground caves. Eight years have passed since our first harvest, and we have received high acclaim of our wine both nationally and internationally.

Interested in their products ? Find them here: http://www.vinoscasadepiedra.com/ing.htm

Discovering Mexican Wines



I recently returned from a wonderful two-week vacation in Mexico. It was my first time there as a tourist, and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the diversity of the country from the hustle of Mexico City to the vibrant traditions of Chiapas and the ancient cultures of the Mayas in the Yucatán. One of the most enjoyable parts of the trip was the food and drink.

From dishes traditionally associated with Mexico (burritos, fajitas, empanadas), to more regional dishes we sampled (cochinita pibil, relleno negro, poc-chuc), everything was as good as I had hoped. I also enjoyed the variety of Mexican beers, from the ubiquitous Corona to lesser-known brands such as Modelo Especial, Pacifico and Superior to name just a few. The real surprise, however, was the discovery that Mexico produces wine — and that some of it is quite good.

I should warn you that I make no pretenses to have tasted the full gamut of Mexican wines. Indeed, a Mexican friend who imports French wines into Mexico warned me that the best wines — which are usually produced in low volumes — are not available in ordinary restaurants. They are snapped up by top restaurants and collectors. That said, this review will offer the normal tourist a reasonable guide to what is found on most restaurant menus. Note that all prices are in US dollars and reflect the price I paid in the restaurant.

In all, I tasted only eight different wines: one sparkling, two whites and five reds. The rest of the time, I was drinking beer or Chilean and Argentine wines. Half the wines I tasted were from producer Pedro Domecq, part of the Pernod Ricard wines and spirits group. Though good distribution has clearly helped Pedro Domecq, the wines are in fact reliable. Domecq’s 2006 XA Blanc de Blancs made from Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling was the “value” find of the trip. It was slightly buttery on the palate with hints of apricot and honey. The finish had just enough acidity so that it wasn’t cloying. Widely available, it only costs $18 in most restaurants, and it is often available in a half bottle (for a little less than half the price).

The reds from Pedro Domecq run the gamut. The 2003 XA Cabernet Sauvignon is like the dozens of average Cabs you see from Chile. Medium bodied, it has flavors of lush ripe red berries with soft tannins. In all, it is a flabby but very drinkable wine for only $20. Moving up the quality scale is the 2003 Chateau Domecq Cosecha Seleccionada. This wine is round and supple with flavors of wild berries. Made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Niebbelo, it is a better deal at $23; I only saw it twice on the wine lists however. In what I tasted from Pedro Domecq, the 2005 Reserva Real was by far the best. Made from Merlot and Petit Syrah, the wine has a burnt cherry taste with firm tannins. We definitely drank this one too young, but, at $26 a bottle, it did not hurt the pocketbook.

The other producer prevalent on wine lists is L.A. Cetto. I tasted at least two of their wines and both were disappointing. The 2005 Fumé Blanc was completely flat, with no freshness at all. At $24 this was a heavy price to pay. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, at $15 a bottle, was at least cheaper, but the wine was just awful. It reminded me of all the really bad wines I used to drink when I did not know any better and could not afford any better, even if I did.

The star of the trip was from producer Monte Xanic. The 2002 Merlot was a perfect expression of what Merlot can be: full of flavors of lush, overripe cherries, and smooth as silk tannins. It was perhaps a bit past its prime, but it was the wine of the trip, with a $65 price tag to show for it. It was the only wine I tasted that showcased the caliber of high-end Mexican wines.

Finally, the bottle of sparkling wine we purchased to toast the end of a successful trip fell flat. The Vino Blanco Espumoso Brut from Champbrule ($12) is a mix of Chardonnay and French Colombard. It tasted like the worst of both. My notes literally read “bland creamy white with bubbles forced through it.” Celebrate with some Chilean sparkling instead, or better yet just splurge on French champagne.

So if you are off to Mexico for vacation, my advice is to choose your local wine carefully because there are indeed good ones to be had. For higher quality wines, you will need to head to a top restaurant and pay the price, if the Monte Xanic is indicative. In the mainstream, Pedro Domecq is widely available and offers, on the whole, good value for the money. Nevertheless, if you find yourself at a simple home-style joint without good wine options, the varied local beers make perfect chasers. I look forward to exploring more Mexican wines when they are widely available on the export market or on future trips to Mexico. I know now I’ve only scratched the surface.

Source: http://www.findyourcraving.com

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mexican Wine: Adventures in Wine Tasting



I had a great time staying out at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Mazatlan. They put on a Wine & Cheese Tasting class on Thursday afternoon featuring Mexican wines. First up was a 2007 Casa Madero Chardonnay from Coahuila which was light and crisp with a light pear flavor. We moved on to a NV La Cetto White Zinfandel from the Guadalupe Valley in Baja which had a strawberry and cranberry flavor. Last up was a Casa Madero Merlot that was light a fruity with flavors of plums and red cherries. I can honestly say that all three of these wines produced in Mexico are very enjoyable. The Casa Madero Chardonnay was my favorite of the afternoon and is perfect for those sunny 80 degree days lounging by the pool or with dinner.

Source: woodinvillewineupdate.com

Enjoy the Wine Festival 2009 in Baja California, Mexico

Want to discover the Mexican wineries in Baja California ?

Want to enjoy a good wine or a good mexican meal with appropriate wine ?

Want to have a dance or participate at a cultural event in a nice - winery - environment ?

All this is offered to you by the organisators of the Mexican Wine festival 2009 in Baja California.

More information (program) here: http://www.fiestasdelavendimia.com/programa.php

Baja's exotic wine country since the 1990's



The Fiestas de las Vendimias—Wine Harvest Festival—in and around Ensenada, takes place every summer in August. Because I was writing an article about the festival during the summer of 2000, Terry and I were invited to the kick-off celebration at the Ensenada Cultural Center. We donned our party duds and headed north to sample wines from all the wineries, along with appetizers from Ensenada’s finest restaurants. The next night was the Street Fair at the Bodegas de Santo Tomás. We brought Gayle, Chelsea, Derek and Gonzo to this event with us. We were planning to meet Keith, from the Spanish language school. Trouble was, he was on Mexican time and we were on camp time. The kids got bored and as whiny as two-year-olds, so we left by 8:30—which was about five minutes before Keith arrived.

Article continues here:http://www.bajamagic.com/storyshow/WineFestival.html

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Monte Xanic, “Flower which blooms after the first rain”



Proudly Mexican, this brand is well positioned in the Premium market, producing wines of consistent quality.
“Xanic” name is originated from the Cora Indians, that continue to inhabit parts of Nayarit (the state where i was born, soon will talk about it) on México´s Pacific Coast and it means “Flower which blooms after the first rain”

20 years have passed since Monte Xanic started producing wines in a time where many others were closing their doors for the flood of low cost wines and modest quality. This winery took the challenge and yes they really took it to the next level!!

Article continues here: http://www.g-naya.com/2009/04/11/monte-xanic/

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Paralelo, an Innovative Winery for a Contemporary México!



Hugo D´Acosta, one of the star winemakers of Ensenada started Paralelo Winery thinking on the people that wanted to make it´s own wine.

It was born as a property/partnership project that allowed people to participate directly in the wine industry and experiment what it is to be part of it.

The name Paralelo is used because it´s a Parallel project to Casa de Piedra, the other winery from Hugo D´Acosta; it uses the same varietals, the same assemblage, but at the same time it´s completely different. What makes it different? The essence of the valley, each peace of land transmits to the wine it´s own characteristics: the terroir.

Continues here: http://www.g-naya.com/2009/05/22/paralelo-an-innovative-winery-for-a-contemporary-mexico/

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Discover the wine region of Baja California, Mexico

One region has become the leader in reviving the reputation of Mexican wines, and, perhaps tellingly, it lies just above the 30th parallel. 90% of Mexican quality wine comes from northern Baja California, centering around the city of Ensenada.

The major winegrowing subregions – the Guadalupe, Calafia, San Vincente, and Santo Tomás Valleys – all lie close to the Pacific where they can benefit from the cooling ocean breezes and mists. Hot days and cool nights is a classic winegrowing combination throughout the world, allowing grapes to develop their sugars without a corresponding drop in acidity. All the valleys feature a mix of alluvial soils and decomposed granite.

More, here: http://mexicanwines.homestead.com/REGIONBaja.html

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Discover the wine region of Durango, Mexico



Durango is the perfect place for a wine experience. We have multiple Wine Spectator acclaimed restaurants, over 50 licensed establishments, 600+ hotel rooms, almost 200 boutique galleries and shops, all right downtown. We truly have the perfect environment for a wine event. There is more to do in this county than any other county in Colorado.

More, here: http://www.durangowine.com/

Friday, June 05, 2009

Discover the wine region of Sonora, Mexico


This region is situated in the Coahuila and Durango States. It has a desert climate with an average annual temperature of 64.4 ° F (18 °C.)

Two very distinct periods occur in this region; the first one from April to October, has an average annual temperature of over 68 ° F (20 °C ) and the second one, from November to March, has temperatures that vary between 56.48 ° F (13,6 °C) and 66.92 ° F (19,4° C). The lowest average annual temperature occurs in January and the highest in July and August.

The relative humidity varies seasonally. In spring it is 31 %, in summer 16 %, in autumn 53 % and 44 % in the winter.

Wine production, including quality wines, continues in these areas of Mexico as well, most notably in the La Laguna region, which straddles the states of Coahuila and Durango in the northeast; this is the home of the Parras Valley, the first appellation recognized by the Mexican government. Half of Mexico’s vineyards are in Sonora.

More, here: http://mexicanwines.homestead.com/REGIONLaguna.html

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Discover the wine region of Zacatecas


Founded in 1546, Zacatecas offers a rich historical culture combined with 21st century living.

From fascinating museums and cable-car rides of ancient mines, to villages where traditional silversmiths still live and work, the state of Zacatecas is a place where centuries of history meet modern-day elegance and commodity.

Smaller high elevation vineyards are planted at Zacatecas and go as high as 7,000 feet on the plateau of Aguascalientes...

Continues here: http://www.chiff.com/wine/n-america/zacatecas.htm

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wine tour in Querétaro, México



On the weekend I made a little trip to visit the wineries in the state of Quéretaro, México. I would recommend to stay in Tequisquiapan, a beautiful village about 2 hours north of México City. The village has a very picturesque spanish style plaza with many good restaurants that serve the local wines. There are also some very nice wine and cheese bars, where one can sample local cheeses paired with the local wines. There are some very nice hotels right on or very near to the plaza in all different price ranges.

From Tequisquiapan it is about 15 min drive to "La Redonda" wineries

http://www.laredonda.com.mx/

The winery has free tours once a day during the week and every hour on the weekend. You can sample their wines for free and the tour is very interesting, although it is a very small winery. They plant Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, a local grape called Salvador and just started to plant Tempranillo, of which they don´t offer any wines yet. Their 2004 Malbec-Cabernet called Orlandi is pretty good; they also make some very good sparkling wine, which they produce using the "Methode champenoise". The winery is owned by an Italian family, they offer italian food at the weekends.

From La Redonda it is a 5 minutes drive to Freixenet of Mexico (Mexican subidiary of the spanish company):

http://www.freixenetmexico.com.mx/Freixenet/Index.html

Freixenet also offers a free tour, where one can visit the deepest cavas in the Americas (25 mts). They also produce the sparkling wines (cavas) following the methode champenoise. I am not very convinced of their table wines, but they make excellent sparkling wines.
Freixenet also has their own winebar in Tequisquiapan, where they offer Freixenet wines from all over the world. Very interesting, so you can sample wine make from the same grapes from the same company from different continents.

The village Tequisquiapan also has a wine & cheese festival end of May, I will definetely visit again for this occasion:

http://www.tequisquiapan.com.mx/docs.php?id=115

A toast to Mexico's undiscovered wine country



By CHRISTINE DELSOL

One of the earliest casualties of the drug-related violence in northern Baja California has been its wine valleys, particularly the Guadalupe Valley, northeast of Ensenada, which has single-handedly put the country on the wine connoisseur's map and earned the moniker, "Mexico's Napa Valley." Monte Xanic, Santo Tomas and L.A. Cetto are among its best-known brands.

Mind you, we have heard from legions of oenophiles who have made tasting trips in the past year without encountering any of the types of problems currently grabbing headlines, but with Baja Norte officially outside the comfort zone, this might be just the time to sample Mexico's undiscovered wine regions.

Article continues here: http://www.seattlepi.com/travel/405209_mexico0416.html

Monday, May 18, 2009

Riedel Wine Bar - Polanco writes...



One of the most impressive new wine bars is the Riedel Wine Bar on Campos Eliseos in the heart of the Hotel Zone in Mexico City just across the street from the Nikko Hotel in the prestigious Polanco neighborhood.
The bar features over 250 labels of wine from 14 different countries, of which more than 90 wines are served by the glass. The top suppliers are Mexico and Spain with more than 30 different labels each, followed by Australia, Chile, Argentina and France.
The ambiance is always taken care of with the proper lighting and music and of course excellent service. Riedel Wine Bar is always a great choice whether it's just tapas and a glass of wine or a full course meal.

Source: opentable.com

California Winemaking Began in Mexico Centuries Ago.




By David Mandich

Angel Salinas is the sommelier at Don Emiliano restaurant in San Jose del Cabo (near Cabo San Lucas, Baja California) and a member of the International Slow Food Association - a movement that began in Italy 16 years ago to counteract the fast food industry. Members promote regional cuisine, local farmers and fine dining with family and friends in an unhurried environment. Senor Salinas' passion for Mexican wine, 85% of which is grown in the Guadalupe Valley of Northern Baja California, fits perfectly with Slow Food's philosophy of supporting regional growers.


Mexican wine, according to Angel, is produced in boutique quantities mainly for domestic consumption, but is exported in small quantities to 38 countries due to demand. With only 6,200 acres under cultivation in all of Mexico, he suggests Gallo Wine's production in California alone may exceed that of his own native country.


Small volumes, often in the range of 500 cases, are more the rule than the exception in Mexico. Bottles of finer vintages are often numbered like limited-edition art. Salinas shows me a bottle of 2004 Roganto Cabernet, which cost $75US when it was first introduced and now commands over $500 at auction. Many stockbrokers would be hard-pressed to match that kind of return. Roganto wines are known for their elegance and sophisticated single varietal red wines. Aged in oak barrels in the seaport town of Ensenada, these delicious wines pair well with seafood, local lobster and game.

Article continues here: http://hubpages.com/hub/mexicanwine

The Essential Valle de Guadalupe food and wine!




It was another divine couple of days in Baja last weekend.The food, the wine, the people, the scenery.It has now been about 8 years or so since I've been traveling regularly to Tijuana, Ensesenada, and the Valle de Guadalupe.Occasionally Rosarito, and two trips driving all the way to Loreto.Much has changed.

What is the Valle de Guadalupe and Mexican wine?This is the question that drives the restauranteurs, vintners,chilango wine enthusiasts, journalists,quesotraficos, tourists, and adventurers alike.In Polanco, it's about the boutique and cult Mexican wines.Do you have any Tres Mujeres?Casa de Piedra? For the American media it's Laja, Monte Xanic,Adobe Guadalupe, and Cetto.I mean, every article sends you to the same five places!

Currently, I count 34 wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe(Francisco Zarco,El Porvenir),San Antonio de Las Minas(sub apellation), Ensenada, Santo Tomas, and Ojos Negros.There are an equal number in development in the Valle according to my friend Steve Dryden(Baja Times wine writer/D.F. columnists), and there are people making table wines from their own backyards being sold in restaurants and shops.Yet, where does everyone go?Cetto, Domecq,Santo Tomas,Monte Xanic, Chateau Camou, or Adobe Guadalupe.Where do they eat?Laja.Where do they stay?Adobe Guadalupe or La Villa del Valle.The report, so-so wines, great meal at Laja, wine was expensive, brought my own, I can find better wines cheaper.....

There are good wines at these places, but not necessarily on the tastings.Cetto wines are usually the cheapest in a restaurant and a good value wine with dinner, but they do have better wines not on their tastings in a higher price range.Dona Lupe makes organic wines, but her real talent is in the amazing food products she makes not her wines, which are OK.The Camou tasting has a nice blanc de blancs and chardonnay, but the reds are their cheaper offerings, again their best wines aren't part of the tasting.The more expensive Camou and Xanic wines are not on the tastings and are more of a reflection of their potential.There are wineries just like this in California, and anywhere for that matter.

The next level of traveler makes it in to Muelle Tres and Manzanilla, where I believe the spirit of wine country in Mexico is well represented by Benito Molina.Local ingredients, Mexican ingredients, and select Baja wines.Most of what Benito has you won't find on your drive to Cetto or Adobe Guadalupe.Many are by appointment only, and some are illusive, like Hugo D'Acosta.Liceaga is easy to find and has tour groups coming through, even the obnoxious kind like were there on the Friday after Thanksgiving.The Liceaga tasting has a nice Merlot, chenin blanc, and the grappas are outstanding.

I went to see if one of my favorite wineries, Vinisterra, was open early Friday, after a couple of tacos de birria.Perfect Mexican breakfast to cushion the consumption of Baja wines.They were closed again, but after talking with a groudskeeper, a French women who had been talking on her cell phone said that she would give us a tour.Vinisterra just built a beautiful tasting room and production facility, I first went years ago when you went up to the house for a tasting.Agnes, a perky and apt wine enthusiast from Bordeaux led us through the Vinisterra wine making process, including a taste of wine from the maceration tanks, still very sweet and viscous.Agnes was a blast and made an amazing guide for a friend of the family that had just taken the tour with the owner earlier that hour! I hope Agnes stays on.But more importantly, this French wine drinker as she called herself, put my convictions into her European perspective.When I asked what she thought Mexican wine was, she named tempranillo,nebbiolo, and chenin blanc, among others.Agnes described the mineral and saline qualities of the soil, and how more professionalism has brought forth wine makers that can balance this challenge of terroir. Vinisterra has a fine tempranillo, nothing like a Spanish Rioja at all,different, Mexican.A Mexican wine, with mineralty, but balanced.Interesting, unexpected, and delicioso. Baja makes different wines, the best Mexican wines, but you have to drink the right ones to know them.Casa de Piedra, J.C. Bravo, Tres Valles, Vinas Piojan, Mogor Badan, the Cabernet at Valmar, Vinos Californios Roganto, that sauvignon blanc made by Hugo at Benito's restaurants.

Worried about spending too much? Well, when you consider the cost of eating at Manzanilla, Muelle Tres, and the phenomenal La Guerrerense, where you can have ceviches of fresh abulone, cod, pismo clam, huarache oysters, and that #&%#ing urchin for next to nothing, what's the problem?How about this, go to Bevmo, get your affordable wine and take it to the best Mexican seafood place in the US......forgot, we don't have places like Muelle Tres or La Guerrerense.OK, the Water Grill, for the same quality, $120 a head, $25 corkage, your stellar wine selection $18, a total of $163. At the stand $30 for the Baja wine, and $10-$15 for a seafood feast that will change your life.

The globalization of wine is a bore, this has always been the wisdom shared by my European friends who are used to their unique local food and drink being distinctive.While Napa makes world class wines, at times I'm perplexed by the lack of diversity.I guess Robert Parker has many wineries doing a bit of a dance.Of course, there are others ignoring RP and making different wines in every market.But, is this what you expect?The same paradigm applied to all experiences?If so, then I suggest getting off the tourist track and at least exploring the best of the Valle de Guadalupe, and no some of these things aren't on the map.That's part of the fun.

Finally, when I see Hugo D'Acosta sitting having lunch meetings at Manzanilla, restaurant owners taking classes at La Escuelita, chilangos in Polanco chasing down cult wines from Baja, and brand new cuisines evolving in front of my very eyes, I just have to ask.Do you think that these people in the Valle aren't possibly getting together and asking eachother questions like," I have a lot of spicy foods, what have you got for me Hugo?" "Wow, this Sonoran beef needs something different, what do you think Camilo?"Only the French and Italians are capable of such complicated thoughts?Baja Med cuisine(La Querencia and and Villa Saverios), Valle de Guadalupe cuisine(Laja), and exploding gastronomic movement from Tijuana to Ensenada are only possible because of the synergy between the food and wine that is happening right now.Laja is part of that, so are the Baja quails I had at a street cart near Francisco Zarco.Martin San Ramon, the brilliant chef from the Cordon Bleu who runs Rincon San Ramon moved back to Baja to be a part of this revolution.The food scene in northern Baja eclipses anything we have here in California wine country in quantity, diversity, and quality.

Baja wine and food is an essential part of Mexico.The wines are made for the chefs in cooperation with the winemakers, and if you're not partaking and exploring then you're missing the experience.For me, it's Manzanillo and Muelle Tres and Benito's select wines, it's Casa de Piedra and J.C. Bravo, roadside Baja quail with a glass of local wine from the abarrotes that sells ostrich, the real del castillo degustacion at Saverios with a nice chenin blanc, the farmer's market pizza maker at Rancho Badan,quesatacos at La Ermita, the sashimi de callos at La Querencia, the pizza with chorizo de abulon at Baja Med Pizza co., fish tacos at my favorite stand, La Guererrense, Ivette Vaillard's Mas Mezcla, and tacos de birria on a Sunday morning.

Just some of the magical and sensual delights of northern Baja and the Valle de Guadalupe.

Source: Street Gourmet LA

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mexican wine regions: Zacatecas


Zacatecas: Lying south of the “global wine zone” (between latitudes of 30 and 50 degrees), Zacatecas’ vineyards grow in the Ojo Caliente and Valle de la Macarena regions. At altitudes of about 6,500 feet, crisp winters and fresh summer temperatures, combined with moisture-retentive clay soils, are optimal for sugar-rich grapes that mature quickly.

A range of European red varieties (cabernet sauvignon, merlot) grow here, as well as those more common to California, such as zinfandel, and American hybrids (Black Spanish, Lenoir). Some white grapes also thrive here.

Zacatecas, one of Mexico’s beautiful silver cities, stands on its own as a historic destination, but it also boasts several small wineries. The best-known local brand is Casa Cachola. The winery is outside the city in Valle de las Arisnas at the intersection of highways 45 and 49. If you plan to visit, make arrangements in advance.

More news about Mexican wine regions here: http://mexicanwines.homestead.com/REGIONS.html

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fiestas de la Vendimia 2009 (3/3)


Monday August 10th at 6:00 p.m is the second Monte Xanic “Sunset Concert.” They present works from classical repertoire, accompanied by fine cheeses and house wine in a beautiful valley setting!

Friday August 14th offers Jazz at EL Mogor winery at 5:30 p.m with house wines and Mediterranean empanadas.

Friday August 14th at 6:00 p.m. 18:00 Hrs Vinícola Viña de Liceaga, San Antonio de las Minas presents a variety of local cheeses, accompanied by house wine and music.

Friday August 14th at 6:00 p.m in Manzanilla Restaurant near the Ensenada harbor will present gourmet tapas matched with premium Viñas Pijoan wines. Popular event!

Saturday August 15th at 9:00 am is another “Winemakers Visits” held in most Valle de Guadalupe wineries where winemakers host visitors at their wineries to taste and describe their wines.

Saturday August 15th at 4:00 p.m is an event, NOT TO BE MISSED! You won’t need a bank loan to enjoy this wonderful Russian family. “Russian Memories” at Bibayoff Winery with Russian music, dancers, food and wines. All people are welcome!

Saturday August 15th at 6:00 p.m is the Malagon Family Celebration held near the village of Francisco Zarco. Horse show, live jazz and mariachi with authentic Mexican/American cuisine and large samples of all of their premium wines.

Saturday August 15th at 1 p.m come party “To the Sounds of Vinisterra” held at the winery featuring gourmet food, music along with some of Mexico’s best wine.

Sunday August 16th at 6:30 p.m is “Velada Italiana en Villa Montefiori” with Italian soirée at Villa Montefiori, opera music in the vineyard, italian cuisine (traditional italian food) wine tasting, music.

Tuesday March 18th at 6:00 p.m is my favorite event of the season! “la Noche de Cofradia en Ensenada” held this year on Tuesday August 18th at 6 p.m. This is the most reasonably priced event and exposes your palate to about 30 wineries and local culinary establishments. Held at the seaport terminal this competition matches wines with regional gourmet cuisine.

Thursday August 20th is the only FREE event held at the Park in Ejido El Porvenir at 4:00 p.m with music, local food and wine.

Friday August 21st at 7:00 p.m is a presentation of artisan wine, olive oils, and other handcrafted products. Held at the “La Escuelita” wine school in El Provenir.

Friday August 21st at 7:30 p.m is “Mexican Delights at Valmar Winery” in Ensenada. 19:30 Hrs. Deluxe dinner with a great variety of delicious Mexican dishes, paired with the best house wines, along with music and dancing.

Saturday August 22nd at 9:00 am is the final “Winemaker Visits” where winemakers host visitors at their wineries to taste and describe their wines.

Saturday August 22nd beginning at 2:00 p.m is the FAMOUS Santo Tomas Winery Street Fair with numerous artistic expressions, games, music, food and house wines.
19:00 Hrs.

Sunday August 23rd is the Grand Finale at 12:00 Noon with 18th annual “Paella Cooking Contest.” Held at Rancho San Gabriel, San Antonio de las Minas, Ensenada. A very popular (always sold out well in advance) country contest for cooking rice paella style, sampling of paella and wines, dancing and music.

Have fun, be safe, don’t drink and drive, hydrate during the events! It’s probably a great idea to get on the waiting list ASAP, as tickets sales are usually chaotic, confusing and presented at the last possible second before the events.

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Valle de Guadalupe where he guides private and small group wine tours. He also books lodging and can be reached at: sbdryden@hotmail.com or www.bajawineandtours.com

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fiestas de la Vendimia 2009 (2/3)


Here’s the main schedule of events for August 2009.

Friday August 7th at 7 p.m. is the 19th “Wine Experience” held at Centro Cívico y Cultural Riviera del Pacifico. This fun “opening event” is a presentation of the wines, labels and vintages of Baja California, music, food tasting and art.

Saturday August 8th at 9 am is XVII Concurso International “Ensenada Tierra del Vino wine competition held in the Hotel Coral y Marina. Professional judges select the best wines in the competition.

Saturday August 8th at 8:30 Hrs is a “Golf Tournament” at Real del Mar Golf Club sponsored by Hotel Calafia y Vinos Bibayoff. Happy golfers play “Four man scramble" with wine tasting at each hole, exquisite food sampling, followed by an award dinner with prizes, raffle & auction.

Saturday August 8th at 9:00 am is an informative and educational venue called “Winemakers Visits” held ay most regional wineries where winemakers host visitors at their wineries to taste and describe their wines. There are three of these events.

Saturday August 8th at 6:30 p.m is a “Gala Dinner” held at Vinícola Adobe Guadalupe featuring a formal dinner and wine auction for the rich and famous.

Sunday August 9th with an early start of 7:00 am, lucky guests can ride on horseback for 20K with wine tastings at wineries in the Guadalupe Valley and lunch.

Sunday August 9th at 1:30 p.m is the annual “Country Lunch” at Viña de Liceaga Winery, San Antonio de las Minas featuring baked lamb, house wine and live music.

Sunday August 9th at 6:00 p.m is the popular Monte Xanic “Sunset Concert.” They present works from classical repertoire, accompanied by fine cheeses and house wine in a beautiful valley setting!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mexican wine regions: Queretaro


Querétaro: One of Mexico’s most prosperous wine growing areas, Querétaro’s vineyards occupy altitudes around 6,500 feet. Sparkling wines make up the bulk of its output, but sauvignon blanc, St. Emilion, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir are also produced here.

This is the home of the Spanish vintner Freixenet’s Mexican operation. Freixenet is best-known for its dry sparkling wines (vinos espumosos, or “frothy wines”) in satiny black bottles, produced by the champenoise method of fermentation discovered by Dom Perignon in the 17th century. The winery also produces still wines, mostly red blends. Cavas Freixenet de Mexico, north of Tequisquiapan, offers guided tours, classes, concerts and festivals throughout the year.

The other major wine estate is Compania Vinicola Los Eucaliptos in Ezequiel Montes. Vinos Hidalgo La Madrilena is a local operation with wineries in the San Juan del Río region.

More information about this (an other) Mexican wineregion(s) here: http://mexicanwines.homestead.com/REGIONCenter.html

Fiestas de la Vendimia 2009 (1/3)


by Steve Dryden

Every summer the wineries of Baja California Norte pool their talents and wares to host an amazing series of wine, food, music and cultural events throughout the region. Most of these festivities take place in Ensenada or Valle de Guadalupe with a few events in other areas. You may need to get a bank loan to attend some of the events, but if you’re selective and practical you can enjoy some great wine, food and entertainment. The Vendimia 2009 takes place from August 7th and continues to August 23rd. Summer temperatures during these events usually hovers around 100 degrees F, so pace yourselves and hydrate with fresh water as needed. Due to the abundance of wine, it is suggested that you book lodging (ASAP) and spend the night near the location of the event. Hotel Plaza Fatima, Hacienda Guadalupe and Rancho Malagon B&B still have some rooms for the event season, if you act now.

Two of my favorites events include “Noche de Cofradia en Ensenada” held this year on Tuesday August 18th at 6 p.m. This is the most reasonably priced event and exposes your palate to about 30 wineries and local culinary establishments. Held at the seaport terminal this competition matches wines with regional gourmet cuisine. Another great day can be enjoyed Saturday August 15 at 6 p.m during the annual “Malagon Family Celebration” held near Francisco Zarco on a 500 acre ranch, vineyard, winery, B&B. This family orientated event includes a horse show, live jazz and mariachi, an abundance of authentic Mexican/American food, and large samples of all their wines. In addition, their B&B is available for lodging during many of the other events, if you book early!

To be continued ...

Drug War, Economy Hurting Tourism in Mexico's Wine Country - washingtonpost.com


Drug War, Economy Hurting Tourism in Mexico's Wine Country - washingtonpost.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A toast to Mexico's undiscovered wine country



By CHRISTINE DELSOL
SPECIAL TO SFGATE.COM


One of the earliest casualties of the drug-related violence in northern Baja California has been its wine valleys, particularly the Guadalupe Valley, northeast of Ensenada, which has single-handedly put the country on the wine connoisseur's map and earned the moniker, "Mexico's Napa Valley." Monte Xanic, Santo Tomas and L.A. Cetto are among its best-known brands.

Mind you, we have heard from legions of oenophiles who have made tasting trips in the past year without encountering any of the types of problems currently grabbing headlines, but with Baja Norte officially outside the comfort zone, this might be just the time to sample Mexico's undiscovered wine regions.

Continued here: http://www.seattlepi.com/travel/405209_mexico0416.html

Looking for an old Mexican wine "Vina veinticinco"


Hello,

I was wondering if you could help me locate an old bottle of wine that was made in Mexico named "vina veinticinco"? This is my mother's favorite bottle of wine, but it has been many years since she has been able to locate the wine. If you could provide me with any information that may lead me to purchasing a few bottles it would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you very much,
Juan Carlos
aguilera.de.jc@gmail.com

No Mexican wines in neighbouring United States ?


Hello,

I work for Robert Whitley, who in addition to being a wine writer and publisher of WineReviewOnline.com acts as Director for several international wine competitions. During the recent San Diego competition (March 21; wwwSDIWC.com), I noticed that no wines from Mexico were entered. From all over the US, and from Europe, South Africa, Chile, Australian, even Korea, but none from our neighbor Mexico.

We are now working on the Critics Challenge competition, which will be held on May 23 and 24. The website is www.CriticsChallenge.com. What makes it unique is all the judges are professional wine writers and reviewers. This might be a great way for Mexican wineries to expose their wines to these writers, as well as to the public through the medals they would win. Results of the competition will also be posted on WineReviewOnline.com.

Could you please pass on information about the competition to wineries you feel might benefit, or suggest ways in which I might do that? I would appreciate any assistance. It just seems a shame that the fact that fine wine is being made in Mexico is completely unknown to most wine lovers in the U.S.

Thanks in advance for any help,

Felicia Forbes

Competition Coordinator and Assistant to Director Robert Whitley
Critics Challenge International Wine Competition

May 23 and 24, 2009
www.CriticsChallenge.com

Entry forms and fees:
1034 W. Quince Street ,
San Diego , CA 92103

Or fax to 619-294-4878,
Or email to Critics_Challenge@yahoo.com

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ensenada's newest wine tasting room (3/3)


The “Green Room” includes one queen size bed, private bathroom and balcony with a sitting area offering a majestic view of the mountain range. The “Blue Room” includes two full size beds with one private bathroom and balcony with sitting area featuring a view of the mountain range. Many guests rent the entire complex to host family, friends and clients. The ranch reflects the traditional values cherished by the Malagon family and showcases their respect for nature, conservation, preservation of the land and the Baja California ranch lifestyle. And, somehow their wines seem to capture that same essence via the expression of the old vine roots that are deeply woven into the native soil of the valley, transforming mature fruit into rich, complex wine that speaks volumes about the strength and determination of the abandoned vines, who waited patiently for decades for someone to discover their palate pleasing treasures.

Rancho Malagon or Viñedos Malagon is a “hidden jewel” located in the village of Francisco Zarco in Valle de Guadalupe. This family owned 400 acre ranch, vineyards, winery, bed and breakfast gets a gold medal for hospitality, first class service, romantic ambiance, hidden location, and for creating fantastic wine. Until recently this amazing private estate has been “a little known haven” for selected friends and members of the Malagon family whose relatives have owned the property for several generations. One would never have guessed that such a special ranch exists behind the village of Francisco Zarco where lucky guests experience a stunning setting with valley and mountain views, an abundance of natural beauty, blessed with wealth of peace and tranquility. The ranch was originally a Russian homestead established in the early 1900’s by Molokan settlers. In 2000 Jose Luis Malagon purchased the ranch from relatives with the vision of creating premium wine crafted from old vine Grenache grapes planted over fifty years ago on his property. Over the years, with the help of his wife, children and friends they’ve have created the perfect Baja California retreat.

Next time you’re in downtown Ensenada, stop by and sample wines from two premium wineries of Baja California Norte. The tasting room will be featuring guest wineries each month as well as hosting special events. Guests from the cruise ships who purchase a case of wine will be offered free transportation to the port, and local residents can use their free taxi shuttle if they live within five miles of the tasting room. This summer Roganto wines will be available for tasting and purchase at the Rancho Malagon tasting room in Valle De Guadalupe, and Malagon will be hosting another unique food and wine event this summer during Fiestas de la Vendimia in August.

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer who lives in Mexico’s wine country where he guides private and small group wine tours. He can be reached at: sbdryden@hotmail.com or www.bajawineandtours.com.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ensenada's newest wine tasting room (2/3)

Nathan Malagon of Viñedos Malagon Winery near Francisco Zarco in Valle de Guadalupe is the new partner of the Roganto-Malagon Tasting Room. According to Nathan, “both Roganto and I wanted to provide visitors and local wine lovers in Ensenada an opportunity to explore our wines. Due to the fact that our wineries are located in remote areas, we’ve teamed up to bring our wines directly to wine consumers with our winery pricing. In addition, by May 1st, we plan to be open on Friday and Saturday night until midnight, so on weekends we’ll transform into a wine bar and lounge.” Renowned Orange County Peruvian Chef Ennio will be offering his famous Peruvian-Italian-Mexican fusion entrees on Wednesday and Thursday from noon until 5 p.m. Currently the tasting room offers FREE paella on Wednesdays with the purchase of a glass of wine, and cheese cake topped Malagon’s lemoncetto at $3 per slice ~ everyday.

Ennio Rocca has been a leading Chef in the Laguna Beach and Newport Beach area for over twenty-five years. He’s originally from Peru and is in the process of transitioning from Laguna to become a contributor to Ensenada’s “culinary renaissance.” He’s well known for his style of cooking that combines a blend of Peru, Italy and Mexico cuisine, seasoning and flavors into culinary delights that pair well with premium wines.

Viñedos Malagon is known for growing quality “old vine Grenache.” In fact, one of their three premium wines won a gold this year in the 16th International Wine Competition in Ensenada and their 2006 Reserva received 92 points from Wine Spectator magazine. One of the first winemakers in Valle de Guadalupe to explore the old vine Grenache grapes at Rancho Malagon was Jose Luis Durant, Chilean oenologist, then the winemaker for Pedro Domecq.

I suggest that you don’t drive this route at night or when highly intoxicated, as it is a narrow, winding, one lane route, often occupied by slow-moving trucks. Here in San Antonio de las Minas the wine country begins and extends along Highway 3 for about fourteen miles. Scattered about the valley and foothills are about twenty-five wineries, several restaurants with great food, specialty shops, art galleries, gourmet coffee and lodging. And, you’ll find wonderful people!

At this point I’m going to share with readers my favorite and most popular day tour to the wine country. Some of the wineries are “user friendly” while others don’t focus on tasting room sales or hospitality. Some of the wineries sell out their inventory each season, market their wines to commercial distributors and could care less if you visit their wineries or sample their wine. I’m going to save you time and frustration by sending you to my friends ~ who love sharing their wines and hospitality. You’ll meet some great folks! You need to know that all valley restaurants and food establishments are closed by 6 p.m. This tour does focus on the region of San Antonio de las Minas and you’ll have to double back some, but this is an easy tour for newcomers as well as experts. If you are an early bird (9 am) Casa Vieja opens at 9 am, and you can adjust your tour as needed.

To be continued ...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ensenada's newest wine tasting room (1/3)


As of April 1, 2009 Roganto and Malagon wineries have formed a partnership with their wine tasting room and wine bar in the Adobe Shopping Mall on First Street in Ensenada. This cozy wine outlet is located inside a modern shopping plaza originally designed for the cruise ship guests who walk along Lopez Mateos (First) with an additional side entrance at #69 Gastelum. Adobe Shopping Plaza is centered between Ruiz and Gastelum at #490 First and features thirty foot tall entrances and ceilings, modern sculptures, artwork, custom jewelry, and specialty gift items. The wine tasting room is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 p.m - providing guests and local wine lovers an opportunity to purchase wine from two of Mexico’s top wineries at winery prices with no middleman interference.

Roganto Wine or Vides y Vinos Californianos S.P.R. de R.L is considered by experts to be one of the top wineries in Mexico. Their 2005 Tempranillo has been awarded top reviews by international wine experts and judges. Currently only about 100 cases of the wine are available for purchase by the taste, glass or bottle from the new wine tasting room. This 2005 Tempranillo was aged in a combination of various new oak barrels for ten months and is a prime example of a top quality Mexican wine. In addition, wine lovers can purchase the 2005 blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon or the superb 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. About 80 cases of the Temp/Cab blend (aged in new oak for twenty-two months) remain with only and 100 cases of the Cabernet (twenty-two months in new French oak) available by the taste, glass or bottle.

The Roganto winery is technically a boutique winery in size and production, but he wines are actually artisan in quality. Their state-of-the-art winery facility is a real hidden treasure of Ensenada located behind a well drilling and commercial pump business - just a few miles south of downtown on Reforma Ave. Two wine enthusiasts, Rogelio Sanchez and Antonio Luis Escalante have teamed up to create the remarkable Roganto wines. One of their newest premium wines is an incredible 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not a traditional herbal and grassy tasting wine typical of this varietal, but an elegant wine with tropical fruit, guava, pineapple and pear on the nose, refreshing, crisp, well balanced and delicious. The production was limited to 550 cases, fermentation in stainless steel tanks _ with no oak barrel aging. These two dedicated local winemakers also create two distinct Chardonnay wines, one with stainless steel fermentation and no oak barrel aging ($22) and another excellent Chardonnay aged in new French oak for twenty-two months which will be featured soon in the new tasting room.

To be continued soon ...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wine and food: Mexican wines


Hey guys, sorry for getting back so late with another wine blog. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the wine tasting of some of northern Mexico’s wines. I found a couple excellent choices. A chenin blanc, and a petit syrah.The first being a Chenin Blanc is from the winery of Santo Tomas. A refreshing wine with citrus notes, a refreshing bouquet, and pale wheat in colour. The taste is refreshing on the palate, and posesses a delightful finish. This wine would be great pared with Coquilles St. Jacques, any light white fish.

Continues here: http://wineandfood.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/mexican-wines/

Wines of Mexico Fest, in Vancouver (Canada)


I've been intrigued by Mexican wines ever since I travelled to Mexico City last May. I haven't tasted very many -- only two in fact: this tasty Chenin Columbard from Monte Xanic, and a delicious Viognier from Bodega de Santo Tomas. I had the Viognier at fabulous La Hacienda de Los Morales, an 18th Century mansion in tony Polanco.

Since then I've been dying to explore more Mexican wines. So imagine my disappointment -- I have to miss the Wines of Mexico Fest. The fest is this Thursday, April 2 at the Metropolitan Hotel. Tickets are $35 through and can be purchased through the website.

Mexican wines are practically unknown in Canada, but the Fest will no doubt include some very rare, interesting, quality wines. Don't miss this opportunity to taste where barely any Canadian has tasted before!!

Source: http://full-bodied.blogspot.com/2009/04/wines-of-mexico-fest.html

Mexican Wine: Adventures in Wine Tasting


It was quite a challenge to find some nice Mexican wines while I was in Mazatlan, but it can be done. It does take a bit of work and you will probably taste a few incredibly bad wines. You have to approach it as an adventure in wine tasting but you are probably on vacation and should be open to new experiences.

Continued here: http://woodinvillewineupdate.com/2009/03/mexican-wine-adventures-in-wine-tasting/

Monday, April 06, 2009

Wines of Mexico Fest


The 2009 Wines of Mexico Fest will take place on Thursday, April 2 2009 at the Metropolitan Hotel. The tasting will give Vancouverites an opportunity to try some of the best wines from our sunny southern neighbour. Tickets are only $35 through www.mexwine.com

Mexico has been producing wine for more than five centuries. In recent years the quality of Mexican wines has attracted international attention, and Mexico has won medals in many prestigious international competitions including the Challenge International de Vin, California’s Orange County Fair, and the Selections Mondiales. The Wines of Mexico Fest in Vancouver will showcase wines from select Mexican wineries, including Monte Xanic, Bodegas de Santo Tomas, and L.A. Cetto.

The Monte Xanic winery prides itself on being a pioneer in winemaking process and technology. It is located in Mexico’s most prestigious winemaking region, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California. The winery’s methods produce premium and ultra-premium wines that perfectly express the terroir of this exquisite area. www.montexanic.com.mx

Bodegas de Santo Tomas, founded in 1888, has been producing wine longer than any other winery currently operating in Mexico. The first vines in the Santo Thomas Valley were planted by Dominican missionaries who settled the Baja area around 1697. Bodegas de Santo Tomas is well-known on the international stage for its high-quality wines. www.santo-tomas.com

L.A. Cetto winery, located in the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, currently exports to over 25 countries. With 75 years of winemaking tradition behind them, they are one of the largest wineries in Mexico and have won a total of 132 international awards for their wines. www.lacetto.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mexican Winemakers Want You To Try A Glass



by Vanessa Romo


Weekend Edition Saturday, February 21, 2009 · In 1976 there was a major shift in the wine world. In a blind taste test, French wine aficionados proclaimed a Napa Valley Wine superior to a French one. Today, wine lovers can enjoy wine from all over the new world. Still, Mexican winemakers are having a hard time finding acceptance — at least in the U.S.

Listen to the 5 minutes interview on this page http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100961312

You will also find some comments and reactions on the same page about the audio message.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Great wining, dining and art, wrapped in great surroundings and weather...




By Eduardo Rincón-Gallardo


Because Vallarta Winefest takes place from February 22 to 28, 2009.

This time it all began at Lázaro Cárdenas square, a block away from the very renowned dining outlets all along Basilio Badillo Street and next to the sidewalk cafés of Olas Altas Street. Some of the best restaurants of Vallarta and the Bay Area brought out a selection of hors d’oeuvres and made them available to the general public for 10 and 20 pesos!

Man, you could dine like a millionaire for ten bucks!

Some wine distributors were also offering a great selection of wines from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay for only 10 and 20 pesos a glass!

It is the ideal opportunity to try some of the very diverse wines Chile is producing.

It is also a unique chance to witness the great breakthrough Argentina’s Malbec has become.

And for the many who thought Uruguay was not a wine producing country, there were some samples of high-quality wines, among them, their jewel Tannat.

Chefs and sommeliers from the bay’s restaurants and from the wine distributors were sharing their delight and expertise with the many locals and tourists who gathered at the plaza at sunset to enjoy the breeze, the music – there was a band playing traditional “Danzón” – and of course the very special selection of foods and wines.

By then, all participating restaurants had their Winefest menus and wines in place, so all, locals and visitors could savor something more special than usual during these days.

Continues here : http://www.pvmirror.com/artculture/214/winefest-ing.html