Wines from Mexico

Henry Yuen

Clean, crispy Chenie Blanc fm MexicoI love Mexican food, it often gives me the gusto of is a festive cuisine and best enjoy in a party setting. However, when it comes to Mexico wine, I don’t have much encounter yet.  The only so call tasting took place many years ago on a cruise to Ensenada where I had the chance to taste some Mexican wine during a land tour visit to a monastery. The monks had their own winery but the wines were neither out of any ordinary nor did they give me lasting impression.   The climate and terrain made growing wine grapes a challenge back then, consequently, it required strenuous intervention and efforts.

Though Mexico had a long history of making wine dating back to the Spanish colonial era, drinking wine definitely took a back seat to other popular beverages in Mexico. It was more common to see people drinking beer and tequila than a glass of wine.  Despite of Mexico’s long wine making history, the wine industry in Mexico has seen it’s up and down due to various political upheaval and changes in the rule of the land over the years. Now a new generation of proprietors are emerging to revive the industry and I am intrigued by it, though some of the wines are not yet available in the general liquor stores.

At a recent tasting hosted by Tourism Mexico to promote Mexican Cuisine as a UNECSO designated Intangible Cultural Heritage, I had a chance to taste some contemporary Mexican wines. What I mean is that these wines are crafted by some young winemakers using grapes from wineries that employ advance viticulture methods to improve quality.  Here’re what I had that evening:

 A Monte Xanic Chenin Blanc-Colombard was served with the first course Sopa Tarasca – a Soup with Tomato, Flor de Mayo Bean and Chile Ancho.  The Chenin Blanc was fresh and clean with a hint of green apple and enough acidity to pair well with the zesty tomato soup.  Chicken Breast stuffed with Nopales, Red Mole was the main course and was paired with Casa Madero Shiraz which expressed itself with an appealing earthy tone, slightly oaked and with some black berries and spices. It was not quite full-bodied but well represented and stood up well to the thicker sauce of the chicken dish.  I had to say, this was one evening of delightful flavour and education that turned a new chapter in my perception towards Mexican food and wine.

Still a hill to climb when compared to both the Old World and New World wines, the price point and product

A surprising delightful red with a round bouquet and body

knowledge are drawbacks at this point to support more Mexican wine in BC.  Various inherent production costs, business economics and taxation factors limit the availability and popularity of these wines, at least here.  As a result, consumers may hesitate to grab these wines on a regular basis. Yet, for true wine loves who enjoy exploration, new age Mexican wines are definitely worthwhile alternatives, especially if they are good drinking wines representing new discoveries from a relatively unknown wine region with a story to tell.