9 Wines You Must Try before You Leave Mexico

Cabernet fields │© Lydia Carey
Cabernet fields │© Lydia Carey
You wouldn’t know it from the amount of Mexico‘s wine in the international market, but the country grows over 7,000 acres of delicious, creative and inspiring wine varietals. Mexico was the first place that wine grapes were planted in the ‘New World’, and has kept up the tradition of winemaking for centuries throughout Baja California, Coahuila and other parts of Central Mexico. Here are a few wines you must try on your trip.
Vineyards of Baja │ © Gabriel Flores Romero / flickr

Casa Madero – Cabernet Sauvignon

Winner of a Gold Medal for their 2014 Cab in the 2016 edition of Vinalies Internationale in Paris, Casa Madero’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a elegant and spicy version of this monovarietal. Casa Madero is the oldest vineyard in North America (located in the Valle de Parras in the state of Coahuila), and at least one of their wines should be on your list while you travel through Mexico.

Santo Tomas – Barbera

Barbera grapes were the first monovarietal of the ‘New World’ and have a flavors of deep, dark red fruit. The Santo Tomas Barbera is 100% Barbera grapes and aged 12 months in French oak barrels. The winery has been running since its founding in 1888 as the country’s first commerical winery.

Wall of Wine - Baja California │ © Lydia Carey

Concierto Enológico – Pauta

Concierto Enológico’s Pauta is a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Barbera and Garnacha grapes grown in Northern Baja California. They are silver medal award winners at 2016 Vinalies Internationale, with only 12 years of growing under their belt, and are run by the family of Luis Sarabia, a long-time resident of Baja California.

Villa Montafiori – Nebiollo

We truly reccomend that you try any Nebiollo wine that you can get your hands on, since there aren’t many in Mexico that aren’t completely delicious. Built by the hands of an Italian winemaker, Paolo Paoloni, this vineyard knows its way around the Nebiollo grape variety, also originally from Italy. Nebiollo has lots of great fruit flavor and hint of sweetness that’s not too overwhelming.

Wine Barrels │ © Britt Reints / flickr

Monte Xanic – California-style Chardonnay

Monte Xanic is another of Mexico’s bigger names in winemaking, and they have a stunning tasting room and expansive property if you get a chance to get out to Valle of Guadalupe in Baja California where they are located. The Chardonnay is malolactically fermented, giving it a rich, buttery texture, and is aged nine months in barrel.

Lechuza – oaked Chardonnay

Lechuza is a tiny boutique winery with quite a lot of reach – they are even on the menu at the French Laundry in California. Their oaked Chardonnay is deliciously creamy, while the unoaked version really brings out the minerality that is common in this area of the country. Look for their bottles in both the US and in Mexico City restaurants.

Lechuza tasting │ © Lydia Carey

Las Nubes – Nimbus

Merlot 45%, Cabernet Sauvignon 35% , and Tempranillo 20%, Nimbus has notes of tobacco and leather, dark fruits and a hint of smoke. Both Nimbus and Las Nubes Nebiollo wines won gold metals in the 2010 Concurso Internacional Ensenada Tierra del Vino XVIII, a yearly wine contest held in Baja California.

Casta de Vinos – Cirio

Casta de Vino’s Cirio blend is aged 12 months in Hungarian and American barrels, and is a blend of Cabernet and Mourvedre grapes. Mourvedre is not a super common grape in Baja California, and adds a gamey, earthy touch to the flavor of the wine. Casta de Vino’s tasting room and restaurant are a full-on weekend hangout in Baja California.

Cabernet fields │ © Lydia Carey

L.A. Cetto – Petit Sirah

L.A. Cetto has several good wines that can be found at most liquor and grocery stores. Their Petit Sirah won the silver medal at last year’s Vinalies Internationale, and their Nebiollo is also a delicious Baja California wine. This winery was also started by Italian immigrants in 1924, and is worth a stop on your wine trail through Baja California.