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When we think about drinking in Mexico, we think of Tequila and cervezas – rarely do we consider wine. Mexico was the first country in the New World to make wine in 1524, but it is only in the last couple of decades that Mexican wine production has become a subject of interest.
The wine industry in Mexico is currently flourishing, with most production taking place in the states of Coahuila and Northern Baja California. In fact, 90% of all Mexican wines come from the Valle de Guadalupe, in Baja. The semi-arid Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing and there are now over fifty wineries in the area, harvesting grapes such as Grenache, Tempranillo, Zinfandel and Nebbiolo. The results are robust reds.
As many of the vineyards are small-scale operations – some only producing a few hundred cases of any single wine in a year – these wines become coveted, specialty wines. You won’t be able to find them in a supermarket – but you can procure a number of them at Valgiani Wine & Deli in Punta Mita.
I had the chance to meet up with Jorge Polanco, owner of Valgiani Wine & Deli, and he told me, “The goal is to offer clients boutique wines (many of which are Mexican) that they can either drink here or take home.” As Polanco is also an importer and distributor of wines, he is able to sell these exclusive, high-quality wines at great prices.
In the past, Mexican wines were generally not sought-after. “There was a lot of quantity but not really any quality,” Jorge said, “But in the 1990s, all that changed, when some smaller wineries came onto the scene, in search of that quality.”
5 Must-try Mexican Wines
- Passion Meritage, from Bodega San Rafael (Valle de Ojos Negros, Baja)
- Nebbiolo, from Vinisterra (Valle de Guadalupe, Baja)
- Pedregal Syrah Mouvedre, from Vinisterra (Valle de Guadalupe, Baja)
- Paoloni Nebbiolo de Guadalupe, from Montefiori (Valle de Guadalupe, Baja)
- Gran Cabernet, from Alto Tinto (Valle de Santo Tomas, Baja)
Desiree Bilon is a writer, translator and a surf tour guide. After traveling and living abroad on four continents she now calls Mexico home.
Desiree occasionally manages to use both of her Master’s degrees: International Relations and Translating/Interpreting. Her writing has appeared in surf and action sport magazines in English, Italian, and Spanish.
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Photos courtesy of Valgiani Wine & Deli.