Monday, December 29, 2008

Mexican wine visits Bay Area


A growing number of Mexicans and Mexican Americans are enjoying wine, though if you want to enjoy Mexican wine you have to travel to Mexico. A recent event in Napa gave Bay Area people a rare taste of Mexican wine, which is not available in Northern California. The event, hosted at COPIA, attracted more than 500 people who sampled wine from 14 Mexican wineries.

All of the wineries at the event are located in the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, where most of Mexico's wine is produced. The wine-growing region 67 miles southeast of San Diego has a long history of winemaking dating back almost 200 years. First settled by the Kiliwa and Kumiai native people, Spanish missionaries, settlers from other parts of Mexico, and immigrants from Russia and Europe created the unique character of the valley. Today the wine region is home to 27 wineries, ranging from small family operations to the largest, L.A. Cetto, which produces 600,000 cases a year and exports to 26 countries.


The Napa event also featured Mexican food, musical performances, and a panel of winemakers from both the Napa Valley and the Guadalupe Valley to address the question, "Is Guadalupe Valley the Napa Valley of the 1970s?" Future growth of the Guadalupe Valley and its wines was discussed in relation to the strict regulations the United States (especially California) and Mexico has on importing alcohol. Current laws greatly limit the importing of wines between the two countries, whether by distributors or individuals. Many people visiting Mexico would like to see higher limits on the alcoholic beverages they are allowed to bring home. Currently, California residents can bring only one liter of wine back from Mexico.

While L.A. Cetto and a few other large wineries export their wines, the Baja wineries are not very interested in becoming large, global brands. The great interest in Mexican wines among Bay Area people is probably not enough for the wineries to work through government regulations and expand their production for export to more markets. Like many smaller winemakers in California, the Baja winemakers say that they aren't willing to compromise their wine or their business in order to compete in larger markets. For Bay Area wine lovers, a trip to Baja may be the only way to satisfy their curiosity and taste.

Source: visionhispanausa.com

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.

I've also been in a couple of discourses on wine and food in the Valle de Guadalupe here and on the wine board in the past 7 months which got me to thinking recently,thanks ibstatguy and dnamj! "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in" 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....


Continued here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578501

Discover with Mexican Wines the winery Freixenet; Spanish Cava wine legacy


In 1978, a Catalana company, bought some land to establish a winery in the north of Tequisquiapan, in the Mexican state of Querétaro; a good land for vineyards of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Macabeu, among others. In 1984, they bottled their first following the traditional method of Champenoise. The 10th November (what a beautiful date hehehe, those that dont know me, it´s my birthday!) 1986 (not the year i was born…i wish tho!) was officially opened the winery of Freixenet in México, with a new name called “Finca Doña Dolores”

In 1977, the Catalán José Antonio Llaquet took the management of Freixenet de México as manager and enologist. With his wife as PR made this winery a successful one. Since then, the quality and name of their wines has been growing.

Now with the management of Jordi G. Fos, Enologist by profession and an experience of more than 18 years producing “Cava” and wines in Cataluña, the Alt Penedés zone, the winery is starting a new phase with renovated energy and many new ideas.

Continued here: http://jszolliker.com/2008/12/freixenet/

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Little Taste of Baja in a Bottle


By Bill Garlough

With May approaching, we don our sombreros as we head south of the border for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. While margaritas and beer are the typical beverages of choice, wine also offers an interesting pairing with Mexican cuisine.

As winter continued to linger, my wife and I recently fled to Mexico for a warm change of pace. Besides better weather, Mexico offers world-class culture and cuisine. Mexico has significant history behind its wine industry, as it has the oldest wineries in the new world. The Spaniards established grape growing and wineries in the sixteenth century, as they colonized this part of the new world. The majority of grapes

Continues here: http://salsa-recipe.com/a-little-taste-of-baja-in-a-bottle/

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

News about the Mexican wines industry



The Mexican wines industry has centuries of roots, when the Spanish conquered our land and brought their vines to the new world, but when the high quality of the wines produced in this far lands reached the ears of the King in Spain, fearing a competition from the colonies in America, the King decreed a prohibition to harvest grapes and produce wine, except for those wineries that were producing wines for the Church. This prohibition went on until México became independent from Spain in 1810.
The development of the industry was interrupted by laws, revolutions and crisis that delayed it for many many years. Now we are on the road again, still a long long road to learn ahead, but we are doing it pretty well.

Where can we position the wine industry in México? Really hard to tell, because there are many factors involved: private inversion, quality, accessibility, sustainability, diversity, high taxes, small productions and permits and a tremendous price competition compared to the wines of foreign countries.

It is a fact that there is a demand of a more interested and exigent consumer, but also a fast growing crowd of new consumers in México; young people without prejudgments and a palate that is not used or biased to a certain type of wine.

All this gives the Oenologists a freedom that has enriched the wine offer in México.
México does not have a “signature” vine like Australia and their Shiraz, Argentina and their Malbec, Chile and it´s Carmenere or South Africa and its´Pinotage.
México has more than one outstanding grape and not one, but many micro-climates and soils.

Diverse wines, diverse styles; just as the diversity of wineries and the interpretation of their oenologists. Each with it´s own philosophy, it´s own project, it´s own formula, it´s very particular understanding of the terroir, the vine, their dreams and themselves.
Each one driving it´s own oenologic project depending on the understanding of their client, or their own passion and personality.

Continues here: http://liberateyourminds.blogspot.com/2008/12/mexican-wine-industry.html

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.

I've also been in a couple of discourses on wine and food in the Valle de Guadalupe here and on the wine board in the past 7 months which got me to thinking recently,thanks ibstatguy and dnamj! "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in" 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.

Continues here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578501

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Can you help ?



Hello,

My name is Harry Reifschneide. I am a resident of a unique ship called "The World".

I am also a member of the wine committee.

Our ship will be in Mexico starting on February 11 in Tampico
We will be in Mexico until late in February and then back again in late April for over a month on the west coast.

Our Sommelier and wine buyer has asked for my help in identifying some premium wines and potentially arranging for help in getting them to us early in our February stay in Mexico.

Can you help?


Harry Reifschneider
reifer@mac.com
+1-415-462-6374 (US # to Vallarta)
+1-206-661-3224 (US cell)
+52-322-29-407-62 (Mex Cell)
+1-415-373-3701 (MyFax)
+52-322-20-918-60 (home Vallarta)
Paseo de la Marina Sur 385
Shangrila Marina
Torre B, Piso 13-2
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
48354 Mexico

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mexican wines on Mexicana flights


Mexico's national airline is aiming to capitalise on a growing number of British visitors to the country, with the launch of direct flights to Mexico City from London Gatwick Airport.

Flights from London, which will be on a Boeing 767-200 aircraft, will begin to depart from January 18 at 10.30am and arrive in Mexico's capital at 17.35pm local time.

Mexicana will fly twice a week - on Thursday and Sunday - between the two destinations until February, when two additional flights on Friday and Monday will be added.

Isaac Volin, Mexicana chief commercial officer, said: "This new route forms part of our expansion strategy and is intended to meet demand for better travel alternatives to and from London."

Passengers on these flights will enjoy bed seats, an exclusive in-flight meal prepared by Mexican chef Enrique Olvera and a select list of handpicked Mexican wines.
Mexicana began its operations in 1921 and now operates a fleet of 86 aircraft serving 50 international destinations.

Source: http://news.cheapflights.co.uk/flights/2008/11/mexicana-launches-london-route.html

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bottled Up in The Baja


In this issue, we’ll plug you into two of the small, artisanal producers of the good juice from Mexico Lindo. Both have their operations in the Ensenada area in the Baja Norte.

Roganto Winery (officially, “Vides Y Vinos Californianos”) is located in downtown Ensenada in a most unlikely place. As a matter of fact, we got lost trying to find them. After driving up and down a busy main drag, we finally found them in a small building behind a water well services business. Seems the winery is located behind the water pumps! Go figure! (Owners are the same….vineyards are out in the country south of Ensenada). “Roganto” takes its name from the first few letters of the first names of the partners, Rogelio Sanchez and Antonio Luis Escalante.

Continues here: http://vino-club-san-miguel.blogspot.com/2008/10/bottled-up-in-baja.html

Friday, November 14, 2008

Savor an Ensenada Winery Tour

Wine Tasting in the Vineyards of Baja California's Ruta del Vino

The wine route, or the Ruta del Vino, can be traveled from Tecate in the north to Ensenada in the south, or vice versa. In either direction the acres of vineyards, quaint wineries, and friendly locals will urge you to stay in this undiscovered stretch of wine country that rivals the growing conditions of Napa Valley

continues here: http://mexican-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/savor_a_winery_tour_in_mexico

The Grand Old Man of Mexican Wines -- Casa Madero


In 1575, the Spanish Crown appointed governor of then-to-be state of Coahuila, and the founder of San Luis Potosi, his Excellency, the estimable Francisco de Urdinola. The good governor founded the first winery in the Parras (“grapevines”) Valley, and produced the first commercial wine in the Western Hemisphere. Although not Mr. Popular among the local indigenous population, we can raise a glass to ol’ Francisco for getting the ball rolling in Mexico.

Shortly thereafter, in 1597, Felipe II of Spain deeded a land grant to Don Lorenzo Garcia who founded the Hacienda de San Lorenzo. In the late 19th century, Don Evaristo Madero Elizondo bought the wine production of the Hacienda from its then French owners, and Casa Madero, the oldest surviving winery in the New World, was born. Today, Jose Milmo, the great, great grandson of Don Evaristo, continues the tradition. Happily, the hacienda and wine cellar structure have been preserved in their original beautiful condition.

The Parras Valley, (reputed to be one of the hideouts of Poncho Villa) sits at an elevation of about 5000 ft., and has the ideal climate for grape cultivation. Quite arid, with cool nights, and warm days, its mountain spring water creates an oasis for man and vine. Primarily red wine country, with low rainfall (only about 11in.annually, and only in the harvest months of June, July, and August), superb Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot are produced, and in the right hands, and with careful handling, delicate, delicious whites such as Chenin blanc, Chardonnay, and Semillon can wet your whistle nicely.

Continues here: http://baja-wine.blogspot.com/2008/10/grand-old-man-of-mexican-wines-casa.html

Friday, November 07, 2008

Terrific Mexican Wine........Who knew?


As a fairly recent transplant from north of the border, I was seriously concerned as to how to satisfy my wine habit here in my new home. After all, who’d ever heard of a “good Mexican wine”? An oxymoron, to be sure!

However, a chance meeting in the lovely courtyard of an old house-turned-restaurant soon proved those fears to be unfounded. Oh, don’t get me wrong….there is plenty of Mexican plonk out there. It’s just that there is also world-class (NOT a typo) vino being made here if you know where to look.

A little background is in order. Just about everyone knows how grape rootstock was brought to the Americas by the Spanish missionaries, planted here, and that’s pretty much how things got started. But did you know Mexico is actually the oldest (450 years) wine producing country in the Americas?

Continues here: http://vino-club-san-miguel.blogspot.com/2008/10/terrific-mexican-winewho-knew.html

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ruta del Vino: Wine Route from Tecate to Ensenada


The wine route, or the Ruta del Vino, can be traveled from Tecate in the north to Ensenada in the south, or vice versa. In either direction the acres of vineyards, quaint wineries, and friendly locals will urge you to stay in this undiscovered stretch of wine country that rivals the growing conditions of Napa Valley.

Continues here: http://mexican-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/savor_a_winery_tour_in_mexico

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bordeaux in Baja - Chateaux Camou


Bordeaux in Baja - Chateaux Camou

How many people in their 40s dream about what they would like to do when they retire (@ 65+/-) and pull it off right on schedule? Ernesto Alvarez-Morphy did just that, promising to fulfill a life-long dream, when, in his mid-forties, he determined that upon retirement, he would own a winery. In 1986 he made his move on time. Combining forces with several Mexican businessmen, he purchased an existing vineyard in the Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe which had been planted in 1937.

The goal? Nothing less than world class wine! Anything less was not an option.

Now the hard work began. Six months later, a winery in the California mission style architecture was built overlooking the vineyards. After studying the soils and vines, the plan became to graft 60 acres and to reseed another 30 acres with the so-called “noble” French varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.

The area was settled by Russian immigrants early in the 19th century, who dry farmed wheat and some still call the area “Valle de Trigo”, or Valley of Wheat. We didn’t see any wheat, but there are a lot of Russian surnames about.

Ch. Camou sits in what is called Canada del Trigo, surrounded by about 95 acres of Bordeaux style grape vines. Production is in the hands of winemaker Victor Manuel Torres Alegre, who trained at the University of Bordeaux. Michel Rolland, a Bordeaux winemaker, has been a consultant at the winery since 1995.

There are three levels of wine at Camou. Leading off at the top is the El Gran Vino Tinto, a classic Bordeaux/Meritage blend of Cab, Merlot, and Cab Franc. After fermentation, it spends about three months in used oak barrels, then into new French oak for about 15 months. The Vinas de Camou line includes a “Fume” blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) and a Chardonnay. The Flor de Guadalupe is the “value” line, and includes a Zinfandel, a Blanc de Blanc, and a “Clarete” (a Bordeaux blend). The Zin is from purchased grapes, and is blended with a tad of Cab, and a smidgen of Cab Franc. Bordeaux-heads will love these wines, with their complexity, restraint, balance, and power.

Alvarez-Morphy feels he has achieved his dream of world class wines. With gold medals from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in 2000, highest honors in “Wines of the Americas”, and “Challenge International de Vin”, Camou is hitting on all cylinders!

The history of Ch. Camou shows how small-to-medium producers are taking the wine making art in Mexico to new levels.

Federico Valentine had no idea what awaiting him when, clutching his 1874 edition of “Traite Sur Le Vin” (Treatise on Wine), he fled post war France in 1919 to seek his fortune in the New World. Arriving first in New York, he later got a job on the railroads in Mexicali, Mexico. Moving to Tijuana, he met and married the comely Guadalupe.

With her family’s help, the newlyweds bought a small ranch near Ensenada. No High Chaparral, it had no electricity, water, or paved roads. It had “honeymoon” written all over it! Undaunted, they began raising vegetables and cattle. He sold his wares from a small cart door-to-door. Behind the little ranch house, and being ever the good Frenchman, Federico planted a small vineyard, and, using his handbook as a guide, he made the good juice for his family’s use. He had a small wooden vat in which he pressed the grapes with his own feet.

Volume increased and so did the family. Federico’s sons Hector and Gontran opened a general store in Ensenada, selling all sorts of vegetables. Years later, Federico’s daughter married Fernando Martain, who happened to be the head of production at Bodegas de Santo Tomas, another up and coming winery in the Valle (we’ll have a look at Santo Tomas in a future article).

The family had been discussing the idea of creating a family winery, so they decided to “take the plunge”. Things began slowly and very low-tech. Wine was produced in an old garage with rustic, manually operated equipment. The whole family pitched in. Cavas Valmar was born, and off and, if not running, walking. The first production came in 1985 with a whopping 350 cases of a wide scope of varietals: Barbera, Muscatel, Lambrusco, and Nebbiolo, to name a few. With the profits, they began to upgrade the equipment and expand production. Today, production has hit about 2000 cases coming out of about 50 acres of vineyards.

Cavas Valmar is dedicated to pushing the envelope on winemaking in Mexico. They take pride in the fact that their wines reflect the “terroir” (the unique characteristics that the soil in which the grape vines are grown impart to the grapes) of the Valle and have minimal human intervention. In this way they avoid standardization of their production and allow Mother Nature to express herself through each vintage.

Source: Baja Wine

Friday, October 24, 2008

La Finca de Ensenada: A Taste of Mexican Lifestyle and Culture


by Lisa Shannon

One simple word sums up this incredible restaurant: atmosphere. The tables are set with elegant tablecloths and silverware, as well as a welcoming glass for your favorite wine. The staff is also pleasant and well-dressed, promising a quality dining experience. Mornings at La Finca are probably the most interesting of all, as business people congregate here for breakfast, socializing jovially with their co-workers before the workday begins. The parking lot is packed with BMWs, Mercedes, and Nissans, attesting to the fact that a wide range of business people choose La Finca as the backdrop to their morning ritual. While everyone enjoys their omelets and steak and eggs, a crew of car washers feverishly details the vehicles in the parking area. The contrast between the frenetic workers outside and the relaxed ambiance of the restaurant’s interior is truly amazing to behold.

Evenings at La Finca are characterized by mellow music, romantic lighting and a fine dining experience. The most coveted seating is close to the fireplace (most favorable in Ensenada’s winter months), where you can cozy up to a bottle of Guadalupe Valley’s finest wines with someone special. The steaks are exquisite and the service is impeccable.

In addition to providing a wonderful personal dining experience, the restaurant is equipped to handle large parties for dinner conferences or receptions. It is recommended, of course, that large groups call for reservations.

This local establishment defines what a quality dining experience should be. La Finca is located two blocks south of The Corona Hotel on the main boulevard. Call (646) 172-5833 for reservations.

Mexican Wines to be Featured at San Diego Bay Wine Event (3/3)


Another examples of the many interesting classes and events are: Arousing the Senses with Chocolate & Vino featuring Master Chef Michael Antonorsi of Chuao Chocolatier held on November 13th, Find the Opus, featuring wine expert John Alonge and the world’s best sake tasting to be held on Friday, November 14th. For more information about these and many more events visit www.worldofwineevents.com. or call Michelle at (858) 578-9463 in San Diego.

Don’t miss this premier wine and gourmet food event on the beautiful harbor side in San Diego. Two events I never miss are the Reserve Tasting on Friday November 14th and the Grand Tasting event on Saturday November 15th. The cooking classes are fun and exciting, the food and wine selections ~ are just incredible. This is probably the best way to discover the region’s best chefs, some of the world’s better wines and see who else is out there enjoying the food and wine culture. Pace yourselves, and enjoy one of the best food and wine shows in the region. See you there...

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Guadalupe Valley, where he guides private and small group van tours. He can be reached at: sbdryden@hotmail.com

Mexican Wines to be Featured at San Diego Bay Wine Event (2/3)


Some of the featured winemakers will be: Jon Emmerich, winemaker for Silverado Vineyards, Bart Barthe´lemy, winemaker for St. Barthe´lemy Cellars, Tyler Heck, winemaker at John Tyler Wines, Stephen Kroener winemaker/owner of Silver Horse Winery, Michael Richmond, winemaker for Bouchaine Vineyard, Etienne Cowper, winemaker at Wilson Creek Winery, Marketta Fourmeaux, winemaker at Chateau Potelle, Diana Snowden Seysses, winemaker at Snowden Vineyards, Steve Tamburelli, Director of Finance and Sales for Chappellet Winery, Amanda Cramer, winemaker for Niner Wine Estates, David Hopkins, winemaker at Bridlewood Winery, Justin Kahler, winemaker for Calcareous Vineyard, Jeff Ritchey, winemaker at Sensorium Wines, Steve Goldman, winemaker at Steven's Cellar, Alan & Mariela Viader, winemakers for Viader Vineyards, Kevin Hall, winemaker at Alexander Valley Vineyards, Louis de Coninck, winemaker/owner of Beaucanon Estate, Bryan Del Bondio, President of Markham Vineyards, Jack Cole, winemaker for Spring Mountain Vineyards, Dan Kleck, winemaker for Donati Family Vineyards, Andrew & Laurel Quady, winemakers/owners of Quady Winery, Dean De Korth, winemaker at Bernardus Winery, Bret Engelmann, winemaker/owner of Engelmann Cellars, Kathleen Inman, winemaker/owner of Inman Family Winery, Scott Peterson, winemaker at Joseph Family Vineyards, Bryan Kane, winemaker for Vie Winery, Al Perry, winemaker at Robert Biale Vineyards, Greg Gallagher, winemaker for Pope Valley Winery, Gove Celio, winemaker of Neal Family Vineyards, and Paul Tanguay, the Sake Ambassador.

Regional and national chefs making an appearance are: Gavin Kaysen, Executive Chef at Cafe Boulud in New York, Bernard Guillas, Executive Chef at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Sondra Bernstein, Executive Chef/Owner of The Girl & The Fig, Jimmy Schmidt, Executive Chef/Owner at Rattlesnake, Brian Malarkey, Executive Chef at Oceanaire, Richard Blais, Top Chef at Chicago, Casey Thompson, Top Chef for Shensei, Sam Zien known locally as Sam The Cooking Guy, Jeff Rossman, Executive Chef at Terra, Walter Manikowski, Executive Chef at Dussini, Michael Antonorsi. Master Chef for Chuao Chocolatier, Scott Wagner, Executive Chef at ChileCo Catering, Stephen Window, Executive Chef at Roppongi, Jeff Moogk, Executive Chef for Ladeki Restaurant Group, Gary Thompson, Executive Chef for Viejas Casino, Thomas McAliney, Executive Chef for Brandt Beef, Bridget Bueche, Executive Chef at Sub Zero Wolf West, Michael Rubino, Executive Chef at Napa Valley Grille, Thierry Cahez, Executive Chef for Paradise Point Resort, Damon Gordon, Executive Chef at Quarter Kitchen, Jason Knibb, Executive Chef at Nine Ten, Sarah Likenheil, Executive Chef of Sally's Seafood on the Water, Jason Marcus, Executive Chef for Red Pearl Kitchen, Matt Gordon, Executive at Chef Urban Solace, Rhy Wadington, Executive Chef at Bondi, Augustine Saucedo, Chef de Cusine at The Shores Restaurant, Vikki Nulman, Executive Chef Sol Cafe, NM., Kurt Metzger, Executive Chef for Concept Catering by CK, Christopher Gardner, Executive Chef at Flemming's Steakhouse, Wade Hageman, Executive Chef at Blanca Restaurant, Patrizio Sacchetto, Executive Chef for Oasis Bar & Grill, Deborah Scott, Executive Chef at Kemo Sabe, Indigo Grill, Elaine Ardizzone, Chef/Co-Owner Sweet Cheeks Bakery Co, Clay Bordon, Executive Chef at Clay's in La Jolla, David Warner, Executive Chef for Tower 23, Jefery Williams, Sous Chef at Rice at W Hotel, Joe Magnanelli, Chef de Cuisine for Laurel, Tony DiSalvo, Executive Chef at Jack's in La Jolla, Yves Fournier, Executive Chef for Pastries at Home, Marc Brislin, Executive Chef for Blue Wave, Dave Meade, Head Chef at Nobu, Teruya Noriyoshi, Head Sushi Chef for Nobu San Diego, Brian Rutherford, Executive Chef at Pinanfirina in the Keating Hotel, and Chris Kurth, Chef de Cuisine at the famous Grant Grill in downtown San Diego.

(to be continued)

Mexican Wines to be Featured at San Diego Bay Wine Event (1/3)


by Steve Dryden

One of my favorite annual wine and food events takes place from November 12th thru the 16th, along the beautiful harbor of San Diego Bay. I love this event because it features local, regional and national wine from Mexico and the western United States. In addition, it exposes Mexican wine to over 6,000 wine lovers and consumers that live within easy driving distance of our premier wine country, and allows us from Mexico a convenient opportunity to sample some of the best wines coming from US wine producers.

The Baja California premier wineries featured will be: L.A. Cetto, Cavas Valmar ,Chateau Camou, Bodegas San Rafael, Vin˜a de Liceaga, and Vinisterra, along with micro-brewed beer from Tijuana Brewery and Cucapah Brewery. Baja California restaurants in attendance are some of our region’s best: Villa Saverios Restaurant ~ Casa Plascencia Restaurant of Tijuana, La Querencia Restaurant of Tijuana, El Olivo Restaurant of Ensenada and El Asao Restaurant of Tecate. Copies of food and wine articles from The Baja Times will be available at the Baja California pavilion.

This amazing wine and food event features over 700 wineries, 60 of San Diego’s top fine dining restaurants, 30 gourmet food companies and many other exhibitors. Several palate pleasing events include presentations of gourmet foods, celebrity chefs, wine dinners, cooking classes, wine tasting classes, olive oil competition, live and silent auctions, personalities and “way too much” premium wine and gourmet food.

Endorsed as a “must do” event by the Baja Times, The Guadalupe Grapevine and other lesser known publications to include: voted one of California's top food festivals by the Los Angeles Times, ranked top 100 Southern California Events by BizBash Magazine and listed among top U.S. Wine & Food Festivals on Forbestraveler.com. One thing is certain, the diversity of food and wine selections are enormous and marvelous ~ there is something here to make everyone happy and content! The 5th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is an international showcase of the world's premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities, and gourmet foods with part of the proceeds used to benefit the American Institute of Wine & Food culinary arts scholarship program.

(to be continued)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Terrific Mexican Wine........Who knew?


As a fairly recent transplant from north of the border, I was seriously concerned as to how to satisfy my wine habit here in my new home. After all, who’d ever heard of a “good Mexican wine”? An oxymoron, to be sure!

However, a chance meeting in the lovely courtyard of an old house-turned-restaurant soon proved those fears to be unfounded. Oh, don’t get me wrong….there is plenty of Mexican plonk out there. It’s just that there is also world-class (NOT a typo) vino being made here if you know where to look.

A little background is in order. Just about everyone knows how grape rootstock was brought to the Americas by the Spanish missionaries, planted here, and that’s pretty much how things got started. But did you know Mexico is actually the oldest (450 years) wine producing country in the Americas?

Legend has it that Hernan Cortez, and his men exhausted their wine supply when celebrating the conquest of the Aztecs in the 1500s, (all that conquesting makes for a heavy thirst!) so as first governor of these new lands, ordered the new colonists to plant 1000 grapevines for every 100 natives in their service. What a guy! That couldn’t have been a hard sell, because wine had been an indispensable part of the daily life of the colonists in Spain, and that wasn’t about to change when they arrived in “New Spain” (certainly understandable!).

The grapes did so well that in 1531, Charles I decreed that all ships sailing to New Spain carry grapevines and olive trees to be planted here. The wine produced from these vines eventually became too good for their own good, however. The quality improved so much that wine exports from Spain to their new colony dropped dramatically. So much so that, in 1595, Phillip II decreed that ALL wine production in New Spain be terminated. It seems that Spanish wine producers and distributors were being squeezed just a little too much! (Not the first time a government sticks its nose into the free market!). The Crown’s local representatives, the Viceroys, strove to implement the 1595 decree eliminating wine production, but sometimes you just can’t keep a good idea down! Despite howls of protest from Spanish wine interests, vine cultivation, while limited, was here to stay, thanks mainly to the missionaries who maintained wine was necessary to perform religious ceremonies. When there is a will there is a way!

Article continues here: http://baja-wine.blogspot.com/2008/10/terrific-mexican-winewho-knew.html

Wine or Beer to go with Mole Poblano?


I love making Mole Poblano, the wonderful classical Mexican chile/chocolate dish, when I can, which isn't terribly often. (I live in Denmark, and the chile scene here is depressing.)

And yet, I have NEVER worked out what kind of wine or beer would go best with this dish. Does anyone have any good suggestions?

I've toyed with porter, and some red wines, but without too much success. I'm an enjoyer though not a connoisseur of either wine or beer. And I KNOW I won't be able to get advice from my local wine merchants on this one. I'm very grateful for any ideas!

Reactions and opinions continue here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564476#4108911

Looking for mexican wineries with hotel accomodations


Hello,

I am visiting Mexico next April and wondered if you know of any wineries that have hotels or accommodation that I could stay at?

Many thanks

Paul

paul.siegert@bbc.co.uk

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Little Taste of Baja in a Bottle



With May approaching, we don our sombreros as we head south of the border for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. While margaritas and beer are the typical beverages of choice, wine also offers an interesting pairing with Mexican cuisine.

As winter continued to linger, my wife and I recently fled to Mexico for a warm change of pace. Besides better weather, Mexico offers world-class culture and cuisine. Mexico has significant history behind its wine industry, as it has the oldest wineries in the new world. The Spaniards established grape growing and wineries in the sixteenth century, as they colonized this part of the new world. The majority of grapes were used for brandy production and food, with a small amount used to make table wine.

Two important wine regions today are Aquascalientes on the northeastern gulf side and the Baja Peninsula on the northwest side of Mexico. Both have ideal, Mediterranean-style climates for grape growing. The days are hot and the ocean breeze cools the grape crops at night, allowing the sugars to develop while preserving the grape’s acidity levels.

While dining, we tried Mexican and South American wines with our meals. Some of our favorite Mexican wines included Chateau Camou’s Vino Blanco, Monte Xanic’s Chenin Colombard and L.A. Cetto’s Chardonnay. These wines are all produced on the Baja Peninsula, along the Pacific coast. Delighted with these new wine discoveries, we looked in our favorite wine stores when we returned. Unfortunately, Mexican wine production is low, and these brands are not yet established in the Midwest. However, you may run across these wines when you visit the American Southwest, southern California or Mexico.

Betty

Wine viticulture in Northern Baja



By Gill Billy

Mexico is a diverse and mostly arid country with several areas appropriate for vineyards. Mexican commercial winemaking dates from the 16th century and now is producing several very good wines at competitive prices. In the past few years, the country's leading wineries have collected an impressive array of accolades, gaining a following among wine lovers excited by the prospect of finding excellent vintages in unexpected places. Visitors to Baja California’s beaches and marinas find its wine country a pleasant side trip while visiting the beautiful seaside town of Ensenada, 90 miles south of San Diego. Ensenada’s Vendimia Wine Festival in August is annually eagerly awaited and better hotels and yacht marinas partner local wines with wine tours year-round.




The vineyards are situated in coastal valleys on the western side of the long narrow Baja peninsula, facing the Pacific Ocean. The main production area is close to the American border south of San Diego. This region has become the leader in reviving the reputation of Mexican wines. 95 percent of Mexican quality wine comes from northern Baja California, centering around Ensenada. The three wine-producing sub regions, all located within 60 miles of Pacific coast, from north to south are the Valleys of Calafia and Guadalupe, San Antonio de las Minas, and the Santo Tomás Valley and San Vincente Valley. For the last thirty years new generations of ambitious vintners have been laboring to finally put Mexico on the winemaking map. Having decided that the time has come to develop a proper wine industry that competes with California and even France, they have begun to produce a number of surprisingly good table wines. These are accumulating good reviews, international awards and serious export interest.


The major winegrowing sub regions all lie close to the Pacific Ocean 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. The climate is classically Mediterranean, with low winter rainfall followed by a dry spring and hot summer. Pacific breezes and regular coastal fog make some of the coastal valleys less torrid than latitude would suggest, and several cooler micro-climates have a dependable humidity around 80%. Vines are supported by drip irrigation. All the wine producing valleys feature a mix of alluvial soils and decomposed granite. The Guadalupe Valley and especially its neighbor the Calafia Valley have become the most well-known appellations so far, although the term “appellation” may be a stretch, as the Mexican government seems even less interested in regulating wine than the Mexicans are in drinking it. Nonetheless, most producers do try to label their wines in accordance with U.S. and European standards to avoid difficulties in the important export market.


Conquistador-turned-governor Hernan Cortez commanded his Spanish colonial subjects to cultivate grapevines as early as 1524, but the name of Mexico has never been associated with memorable vintages. Although winemaking in the former "kingdom of New Spain", now Mexico (or the remains of it, after the American annexation of California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas in 1847), dates from the early 16th century, the altitude and climate in this country, in general, is not well suited to viticulture. Jug wines have been cheap and justifiably maligned. Yearly Mexican wine consumption has been under half a bottle per person, compared to two gallons in the United States and as much as twelve gallons in Argentina. The preferred drinks, of course, are tequila, rum and beer. Still, the country has never had trouble growing grapes to serve fresh, dry into raisins, or distill. The large brandy industry is the most important in Latin America, and Domecq's Presidente brand is one of the world's best-sellers.


The Mexican fine wine industry is still in its infancy, but results so far are promising. For wine lovers right now the challenge is twofold: identifying what these up-and-coming wineries do best, and then locating their wines. Production and export are small, and they are more likely to be found in better urban restaurants than in retail shops. Naturally, Mexican vintners are hoping this will soon change. Mexican labels are simple, giving brand, producer, and vintage. Varietal types are often indicated, but this is optional. The best wines, “reservas” or "reservas privadas" are more likely to be made with modern and traditional winemaking techniques in a dry modern style that emphasizes fruit.


While the region may not be ready to take on the best of Bordeaux, the wines of Mexico’s Baja region are coming into their own. An influx of European vintners looking for affordable vineyard property has sparked the recent growth of an area in which grapes have been cultivated for centuries. Mexican wines are well worth trying, and have begun to lure vacationers to the source.

Source: Baja Wine

Viñedos Malagon: Finding Gold in Francisco Zarco (3/3)


Baja Wine Country News
by Steve Dryden

Nathan and Durant have teamed-up to create some awesome wines. Nathan is so intensely focused on creating high quality wine that he sleeps in the winery during fermentation so he can push down the caps himself and monitor every step of the process! Jose Luis Durant is one of Mexico’s top creative wine artisans. These two young and ambitious “ vino desperadoes” have created three phenomenal wines. Their 2006 Equua is a magical blend of 70% old vine Grenache and 30% Petite Sirah, aged in oak barrels for 12 months, retails for $350 ps. They’ll be releasing the 2007 Equua in about one month with a slightly different blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Petite Sirah, retails for $350 ps. It’s very distinct, rich, full of character, and of excellent quality. The 2007 Reserva is their most elegant wine, an outstanding blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% old vine Grenache, 14% Petite Sirah, and 6% Merlot, aged in new French oak barrels for 12 months, retails for $650 ps.

These remarkable wines can be enjoyed in their charming tasting room, decorated with classic Spanish-style handmade furniture located in a 110 year old reconstructed adobe Russian house. The tasting room consists of a small wine bar and staffed kitchen, two separate rooms with sitting areas, as well as two separate patios where you can enjoy wine and cheese platter service. Tastings are by appointment only and are for a maximum of 8 people per tasting. Van tours are available, guided by either Nathan himself or a local wine writer for the Baja Times.

The bed and breakfast facility is one of the most charming settings in the valley. Centered in a courtyard that features a cantina, private kitchen and dinning area with fireplace is most attractive and addictive. Visitors can cook their own meals in the fully stocked kitchen or have a local chef cater to their gourmet culinary desires. A 36 inch plasma television with Direct TV satellite and original handmade furniture compliment the dinning area. Four deluxe room options are available to meet your specific needs.The suite named the “Grenache Suite” features one queen bed, large private bathroom and spacious living room area with sofa. This room also features a private patio looking out into the beautiful private gardens. 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. Be warned that one visit to this amazing B&B maybe the beginning of a long term relationship with the ranch, the friendly Malagon family and their incredible wines.
Visit their web site for details, directions and reservation information. The Malagon family is generous in sharing their traditional family values along with their love of the valley. Come and explore their award-winning wine and discover the beauty and depth of quality old vine Grenache wine and more! With the future of Mexican wines in the hands of young and ambitious ““vino desperadoes” such as Nathan Malagon and Jose Luis Durant ~ the possibilities are endless....

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Guadalupe Valley where he guides private and small group wine tours. He can be reached at: sbdryden@hotmail.com

Viñedos Malagon: Finding Gold in Francisco Zarco !2/3)


Baja Wine Country News
by Steve Dryden


Nathan Malagon, ranch manager, dedicated host, and winemaker is the son of Jose Luis Malagon. His enthusiasm and passion for every aspect of the ranch operation is remarkable. He is among a handful of locals who fully understand and promote the old style of traditional California hospitality. Nathan spent much time growing up on the ranch among family, friends and nature, so when the opportunity presented itself, he felt that living on the ranch in a natural setting with unlimited possibilities was exactly what he had envisioned for himself. Today, he has taken his vision to superb levels of fruition by creating premium wine is a bed and breakfast setting with “world class” ambiance. Nathan came to Valle de Guadalupe armed with skills in traditional hospitality, knowledge in nursery and landscape technology, and experience in the food and wine industry gained by working at Wolf Gang Pucks Cafe Express in Orange County. The Austrian-born Puck is famous for restaurants like Spago, the Hollywood restaurant he opened in 1982, and other high-end restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas. The Puck Express concept was originally designed for airports, college campuses and amusement centers. The restaurants were centered around a large, open pizza oven, and also offered catering and takeout. Nathan was exposed to the culinary arts and some of the world’s best wines while working with Puck.

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. Soon, a relationship developed between Durant, the Malagon family and the vineyards that continues to this day. Jose is the current winemaker and consultant for Viñedos Malagon. He came to México in the year 2000 to work at the Casa Pedro Domecq vineyards and now owns his own wine company: Sinergi-VT. His natural talent for creating superb wines from Mexico has made him well known and much respected in the region. In addition to working for Viñedos Malagon, he works for local wineries Agrifolia and Norte 32, and owns a partnership in the winery: Vinos y Terruños, Icaro.

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Viñedos Malagon: Finding Gold in Francisco Zarco


Baja Wine Country News
by Steve Dryden

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. 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. 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 the Malagons have created the perfect Baja California retreat and getaway complete with a hacienda-style compound featuring a family bar, dinning room with fireplace, and a four unit bead and breakfast complex. 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. Thankfully two local “vino desperadoes” Nathan Malagon and Jose Luis Durant came to their rescue with lots of TLC, and the rest is now Baja California history in the making.

Continued soon ...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Export of Mexican wines to Switzerland and Germany


Hello,

We import wine to Switzerland and Germany and we'd like to print a vintage chart of Mexico’s 2007 vintage for:


Mexican White Wine
Mexican Red Wine

Could you please provide us with this information (1 = regular, 5 = excellent).

Thank you and best regards,
Andreas Florin

____________________________________________

SCHULER St. JakobsKellerei
Andreas Florin
Franzosenstrasse 14
CH-6423 Seewen-Schwyz

Telefon +41 (0)41 819 32 19
FAX +41 (0)41 819 34 74
Mobile +41 (0)79 784 97 46
E-Mail: andreas.florin@schuler.ch
Homepage: www.schuler.ch

Mexican wines in Washington DC


“We are delighted to bring A Taste of Mexico to Washington, D.C.
collaborating with fantastic local restaurants and culinary experts
joining us from Mexico. This journey through travel destinations,
culture, gastronomy, music and history will be a benchmark for
Mexico’s presence within the US. We are confident that this experience
will allow Washingtonians to have a better perspective of what the
Mexican culture is comprised of”, said Mexico’s Ambassador to the
United States, Arturo Sarukhan.

On September 6th, A Taste of Mexico in D.C. kicks off with an Open
House at the Mexican Cultural Institute. This day-long program will
give guests the opportunity to have a better taste of Mexican products
and travel destinations. Visitors will know why corn is so commonly
used in the Mexican cuisine, how Mexican chiles, salsas and guacamole
can be prepared. Also, they will learn about the traditional chocolate
beverage, the wide variety of Mexican wines as well as the origins of
Tequila and Mezcal. Special demonstrations, tasting sessions, lectures
and a temporary exhibition of Mexican artist Ricardo Mazal will be
available too. Admission is free.


* Mexican Chocolate Day at Rosa Mexicano will dedicate a special menu
based on Mexican Chocolate.


http://www.ftnnews.com/content/view/3135/32/lang,english/

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Rise of Mexican Wineries


The Treasure of the Guadalupe

The Mexican wine industry as a full-scale marketing entity is still in its infancy. But the quality of some its wines suggests that it is only a matter of time before it successfully get their act together.

by Alan Goldfarb
September 3, 2008

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It must have been about 20 years ago – when the American Viticultural Area (AVA) system was in its nascent stages – that Cecil DeLoach forcefully parried a wine journalist who suggested, “Your wines will never be accepted in the world market unless they exhibit a sense of place.”

Continues here: http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/616/Mexican-wine.html

Discover the Wine Cellar “Vino de México” in Cancun


The Wine Cellar “Vino de México” was formally opened on June 27 at Xcaret. Representatives from the most prestigious wineries of the country, as well as other celebrities, attended the opening.

The wine cellar “Vino de México” is designed to share the history of Mexican wine with visitors of the park who will also be encouraged to try the wines. It is the only wine cellar in the world that stocks Mexican wines exclusively.

This amazing place was built under the Park’s Main Plaza by Architect Antonio Portillo, and it represents a one million dollar investment. It is split into three sections :

1. The Sommelier’s office: Here is where the most exclusive vintages are kept. For the real wine buff you can reserve a small table for 10, specifically designed for private tastings.

2. The Round Room or Region’s Room: Here you can admire an exhibition of museum pieces of winemaking, along with the history of wine in México and see all the wines, organized according to their history and geographical origin.

3. TheTasting room: it holds up to 25 people, and it is where the Sommelier will explain the criteria for tasting the wine, the glasses, etc. in more detail. Around 5 different labels, with matching Mexican hors d’oeuvres will be offered for tasting.

The wine cellar will be open to the public this Summer with three guided tours a day each lasting 1.5 hours. “Vino de México” is pleased to stock nearly 3500 bottles in more than 160 proudly Mexican labels thanks to the invaluable support of the main Mexican wineries, like Casa Madero; which has the oldest vineyards in the continent, Monte Xanic, L.A Cetto, Santo Tomás and Domecq.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wine Viticulture in Northern Baja


Mexico is a diverse and mostly arid country with several areas appropriate for vineyards. Mexican commercial winemaking dates from the 16th century and now is producing several very good wines at competitive prices. In the past few years, the country's leading wineries have collected an impressive array of accolades, gaining a following among wine lovers excited by the prospect of finding excellent vintages in unexpected places. Visitors to Baja California’s beaches and marinas find its wine country a pleasant side trip while visiting the beautiful seaside town of Ensenada, 90 miles south of San Diego. Ensenada’s Vendimia Wine Festival in August is annually eagerly awaited and better hotels and yacht marinas partner local wines with wine tours year-round.

The vineyards are situated in coastal valleys on the western side of the long narrow Baja peninsula, facing the Pacific Ocean. The main production area is close to the American border south of San Diego. This region has become the leader in reviving the reputation of Mexican wines. 95 percent of Mexican quality wine comes from northern Baja California, centering around Ensenada. The three wine-producing sub regions, all located within 60 miles of Pacific coast, from north to south are the Valleys of Calafia and Guadalupe, San Antonio de las Minas, and the Santo Tomás Valley and San Vincente Valley. For the last thirty years new generations of ambitious vintners have been laboring to finally put Mexico on the winemaking map. Having decided that the time has come to develop a proper wine industry that competes with California and even France, they have begun to produce a number of surprisingly good table wines. These are accumulating good reviews, international awards and serious export interest.

The article continues here: http://baja-wine.blogspot.com/2008/07/gillbilly-chronicals-wine-viticulture.html

Denominations of Origin for Mexican wine


Mexico is now setting up appellation (Denominations of Origin) names to give their wines some distinction from each other. All is not plain sailing. There are a good few wine makers who will find themselves in less fashionable A.O.C’s.

Any one who knows even a tad about wine will know the whole A.O.C./DO regulations are just a load of rubbish. They have no bearing on quality or good practice. They just show a region and the level of wine that can be produced per hectare and the harvesting/ management system. Neither of which are of a high standard.

You only need to look at France and the fact that Vin de Pays/Table wines are often far better then a lot of classic A.O.C. wines. In a modern world the whole idea of this kind of branding is pointless. I say let the market decided

Source: The wine connoisseur

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How to build a wine room ?


Hello,

I am building a house in San Miguel de Allende and want to build a wine room (10 sq. mt), the house will be constructed of cinder block and plaster.

Do you know of or can recommend someone in Mexico that can design the wine room and ensure proper insulation and refridgeration?


Thank you for your assistance.

Regards

Mike Pearce
MPearce@smith.com

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wine tourism in Mexico


Do you want to visit the Baja California Vintners ?

The "Comite de Turismo y Convenciones de Ensenada" offers you this opportunity...

The Mexico Tourism Board offers also details on how to visit these interesting region of wineries in the north of Mexico.

Look at it here

Baja California Tours of San Diego provides a variety of guided Baja winery tours that includes transportation to and from San Diego.

More info here

Touring Mexico's wine country is quite enjoyable and very easy to do. If you find yourself in the San Diego area and have nothing to do for a day or so, consider touring the verdant Guadalupe Valley

Continues here

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wine Tasting Note: L A Cetto Petite Sirah, 2005, Baja California, Mexico



Many moons ago I ran, rather successfully I should add, a little wine merchants for a now defunct chain. One of the first wines I recall that caused a storm - in terms of sales and discussion - was an unknown red from Mexico of all places.
I am sure it won some sort of Best Wine of the Year award at the International Wine Challenge which caused the sudden increase in sales. It was a long time ago, so long in fact I can't remember if the retail price was £3.99 or £4.99 and I fail to remember if it was the Cabernet Sauvignon or Petite Sirah bottle that won.

I mention all this as, in a brief hunt for a bottle of Petite Sirah for this months Wine Blogging Wednesday, I found a bottle of that very same Mexican wine in Waitrose. Not the same vintage, of course, and now sporting a more modern label but great to see the wine still kicking around.

Wine Tasting Note: L A Cetto Petite Sirah, 2004, Baja California, Mexico.
Available from Waitrose for £5.49.
One of the deepest coloured reds I have seen - opaque, but young with a vibrant purple rim. Lovely perfumed edge to the aroma. Palate is big, flavoursome and ripe. An interesting rustic edge leeds the finish with an inky, dry, well rounded. Needs some substantial foods. Alcohol 14.5%.

The evolution of Mexican wine—Wine tasting, hacienda style



By David Ramirez,

When man makes war, he attempts to assassinate the universe; when he makes wine, he steals a kiss from the Earth.

¿Que culpa tengo yo, que me gusta el vino?

Is it my fault that I like wine?–from a Mexican song.

Eleven years ago, when I wrote the first guide to Mexican table wines, Mexican Vinos for Gringos, I could find only eight wineries in Baja on which to report. The current brochure on the subject lists 19, more than existed in the whole country at the time.

Rather than drive our cars to the wine tasting at Hacienda Las Trancas, some 14kms on the other side of Dolores, we were encouraged to take the luxury buses from SMA, a wise suggestion in view of the profusion of wines that were to be offered to us.

A restored antique car of about 1920 vintage greeted us as we stepped off the bus in front of the restored hacienda, a bit more mod in appearance than those we use on the house and garden tour. Our tickets were quickly checked, and we were ushered inside the large square interior plaza.

The presentations of the wineries were arrayed one after the other along the sides of the plaza, ready to dispense liquid poetry from the vine. I decided that my plan would be to try the whites first, then the reds, and go back to those I missed, as my capacity allowed. On this report I will group the wines of each winery together.

The first displayed was that of the largest Mexican winery, L.A. Cetto (LA being for Luis Alberto, the name of the principal owner), whose wines I know quite well. I started with the owner’s reserve, quite a well-balanced Chardonnay for about 250 pesos and much better than their popularly priced Chad at 75 pesos, hardly recognizable as such. Perhaps their best reasonably priced wine is Fumé Blanc at 75 pesos. This name was invented by Robert Mondavi, of Napa Valley fame, to indicate a lightly oaked Sauvignon Blanc, although many wines currently labeled as Fumé Blanc have never seen the inside of an oak barrel. Many wine buffs think that the best value in a Mexican red wine is Cetto’s Nebbiolo at 150 pesos. This is the grape from which Barolo and Barbaresco, the prestigious Italian wines, are made. Their Petite Sirah (73 pesos), which won an important international prize, is also notable.

Continues here: http://www.atencionsanmiguel.org/archives/revi_2007_apr_06_eng.html

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where to buy Mexican wines


Where can you buy Mexican wine in Mexico and in the US ? How to buy these wines on the Internet ? Look hereafter for interesting addresses:

1. Wines from Casa de Piedra

Buy through the Internet here: http://www.vinoscasadepiedra.com/venta-vinos.htm

2. Winery Monte Xanic

Buy through the Internet here: http://www.montexanic.com.mx/catalogo.htm


3.Wines from the winery Chateau Camou

Here you can find them: http://www.chateau-camou.com.mx/ventasMX.htm

What a variety of Mexican wine clubs


Wish to receive monthly suggestions about Mexican and international wines ?
Are you looking for training opportunities about wines and wineries ?
Want to join wine tasting events ?

Discover all the wine clubs in Mexico

Here are the contact addresses,Phone or Fax, E-mail and Website of :

-Academia Mexicana del vino
-Cava Club (La Europea)
-Club del Vino
-Club del Gourmet
-Club Vinaterra
-Enofilia
-Escuela de Gastronomia
-Grupo Enologico Mexicano
-Se de Vino
-Sociedad Mexicana de Vinos y Licores de Guadelajara
-Tierra de vinos
-Vinoteca (Vino Club)
-Vino y Club

The complete list is available on the following pdf file

Feel free to download it here

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nice surprises about Mexican wines



Also, here is a first. Yes, I know about some of the great beer that comes out of Mexico as well as the fabulous food, but wine? I guess just about everybody is growing and stomping grapes these days.

From Fine wine tasting awaits just across the border: Ten years ago, the Valle de Guadalupe began to sprout vines full of grapes, transforming into the wine-producing region it is today. Wine has become the staple of the valley, and because of the expanding viniculture, restaurants and innkeepers have claimed their stakes right alongside the wine producers. With the development, the quality of the Mexican wines has risen.

"The wines are comparable to the Napa Valley or the regions of France," said Jens Nielsen, my foreign guest. "They are very fine wines."

What has drawn steady-but-not-overwhelming crowds to the region for the past few years has been an exquisite mix of fine dining and award-winning wines, without the notoriety of other regions. Even on Sundays, restaurants with gourmet menus accompanied by wines from the Valle sit half full with excellent service standing by. A day trip is easily feasible on any day of the week, with most of the wineries offering tastings from morning until mid-afternoon. Many wineries that front the Ruta del Vino (Route 3) are easily found by markings from Scenic Highway 1 along the coast of Ensenada. This scenic, well-paved, two-lane highway snakes through green hills, which become lively in the spring months after moisture is carried from the Pacific Ocean into the valley.

Well, now that I think about the fact the Mexico is right under California, this all makes a lot of sense.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mexican wine country footage

I had the chance to visit 5 wineries last month in the Valley of Guadalupe, which is in Baja California about 70 miles south of San Diego, Cali. A bunch of the family took a weekend cruise down to Ensenada. From Ensenada we took a taxi (20-25 minute drive) up through the valley for some wine tasting adventures. The vineyards we visited this time around were: L.A. Cetto, La Casa De Dona Lupe, Monte Xanic, Liceaga, and Vinisterra.

I've been there several times before, but hitting 5 wineries over about 7 hours was pretty intense (I'm not a spitter). On previous visits I wasn't into wine as much as I am now. I stopped filming after the third winery. Check out the beautiful scenery and random factual tidbits.

Here is the video :
http://www.vimeo.com/1144567

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Visit the Mexican Winefestival in Baja California


Program of Saturday August 9th

at 9:00 am will be WINEMAKERS VISITS II. The winemakers host visitors at their wineries to taste and describe their wines. Held at various wineries. COST: $35 Dlls.

at noon is TAUROVINOMAQUIA. An incredible event of Bullfighting fiesta with the star from the Tauromaquia featuring music, food and house wines, and celebrating the 120th anniversary of santo Tomas Winery. don’t miss this event! Held at the Rancho San Gabriel, San Antonio de las Minas Km. 95 Carr. Ensenada - Tecate. COST: $100 Dlls.

at 1:00 p.m will be II WINE EXHIBITION IN TECATE - Regional wines exhibition, cheese hors d'oeuvres,and artisan bread from Tecate. Held at the “stunning and gourmet deluxe Restaurante Asao, Tecate, B. C. COST: $35 Dlls.

at 4:00 p.m is one event you should not miss! RUSSIAN MEMORIES Russian theme with music, food and wines. Held at Rancho Toros Pintos, San Antonio de Las Minas or Vinicloa Bibayoff Winery. (please no Cold War spies!) COST: $55 Dlls.

at 5:00 p.m. is VINALIA RUSTICA - A Rock, Reggae, food and wine event held at Vinícola Tres Valles, San Antonio de Las Minas. COST: $50 Dlls.

at 7:00p.m. is "PARALELO" held at Vinícola Paralelo, Valle de Guadalupe,near Cetto winery. COST: $80 Dlls.

Program of Sunday August 10th

VELADA ITALIANA EN VILLA MONTEFIORI -Opera concert with Italian cuisine. Held at Vinícola Villa Montefiori, Toros Pintos, EJ. El Porvenir. COST: $100 Dlls.

at 1:00 p.m is ENSENADA SE VISTE DE VINO - This event is about bringing together the wineries and the city in a family party with food of the local restaurants, new and small wineries and some of the traditional wineries, live music for everyone, tasting and conference of some wineries. Held at Av. Ruiz - entrance at 1st and 2nd in Zona Centro. FREE.....

Book about Mexican wines


WINES FROM BAJA CALIFORNIA
TOURING AND TASTING MEXICO'S UNDISCOVERED TREASURE

BY RALPH AMEY, PHD, CWE,
Preface by Dimitri Tchelistcheff

The first comprehensive book on Mexican wines published in English. Dimitri Tchelistcheff was technical director at Bodegas Santo Tomas, oldest winery in Baja. A historical Prologue is provided by Dr. Enrique Ferro. Each winery is described in an “Essentials” section listing location, contacts, size, production and winemaker. History, winemaker notes and vineyard and fermentation techniques are included along with tasting notes and suggested food matches. Chapters on Wine Terms, Grapes of Baja, Wine Festivals and Events assist the visitor, as well as sections on where to eat, rest and read more about this exciting region; plus how to get there and what to see in the wine producing valleys. Ideal for any wine enthusiast or armchair traveler.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Rio Secreto and Mexican wines in Cancun


One new opportunity to experience is Río Secreto, which opened to the public in April 2008. It's a unique glimpse at the crystal clear underground rivers and cenotes (water sinkholes) that dot the Yucatan peninsula. Adventurers explore the river’s path walking through caverns and passageways which are a million years in the making. Another opportunity invites you to amaze your senses at the first wine cellar strictly dedicated to Mexican wines. This summer, more than 3500 bottles of 160 distinct labels will be opened in Xcaret. The cellar was designed to showcase Mexico’s wine history where visitors will have the opportunity to learn about and taste local award winning wines from the country’s vineyards.

Rio Secreto is situated at Playa del Carmen (Cancun)

Mexican wine in San Diego



Have you tried Romesco yet? If you’re a foodie, you owe it to yourself to experience its inventive food, which combines California ingredients with Mediterranean flavors and Baja-style cuisine. A recent special dinner featured a sea-urchin-foam-topped seafood bouillabaisse with a sea-bean and sea-salt biscotti and seared scallops on a fava-bean epazote tamal.

The restaurant is also one of the only places in San Diego to try wines from Mexico’s Guadalupe Valley, the best local wine area that you’re not visiting. 4346 Bonita Road, 619-475-8627. www.romescobajamed.com.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

From Mexico to India, the Wine Way



By ROBERT SIMONSON

Leo Barrera, the wine director at Tabla, Danny Meyer's temple to Indian cuisine, was born into the hospitality business. His family owned hotels first in Acapulco, Mexico, where he was born, and then in Cancun. Growing up, he was a south-of-the-border version of Eloise. "Until my teenage years, I resided in hotels," he said.

He was not, however, born into a world where wine held great sway. "We don't really drink wines," he said of his native Mexico. "We have a small wine industry in Baja. But for the most part, we drink beer, tequila, and brandy. The big Spanish brandy outfits have branches in Mexico. I've looked at the figures. We drink a lot of brandy."

His Mexican heritage, however, came in handy when he was put in charge of the wine program at Tabla, after stints at Gramercy Tavern and Craftsteak. Confronted with chef Floyd Cardoz's inventive Indian cuisine, he realized he was not entirely in alien territory.

"My first introduction to Indian culture was 'In Light of India' by Octavio Paz," Mr. Barrera said, referring to the book-length rumination about India by the Mexican writer and poet, who was his country's ambassador to India between 1962 and 1968. "He deduced that moles" — the traditional Mexican sauces that date back centuries — "are actually derived from curries in India. At the time, India and Mexico had a lot of exchange, cultural and commercial. The basic mole, it's ground spices mixed into a sauce. If you look at it in a very simple way, that's what a curry is."

Thus feeling a natural affinity for Tabla's cuisine, Mr. Barrera, 30, knew where he stood, wine-wise. He also know he had his work cut out for him, because another commonality between Indian and Mexican cuisines is that, in the popular imagination, they both match up best not with wine, but with beer. "People don't see this as a wine destination because of the perception of beer going with the food," Mr. Barrera said. The restaurant's ardent regulars, however, know better. When Mr. Barrera began work last October, he was surprised at how many of his patrons realized a German Riesling was just the thing to go with rice-flaked halibut served with watermelon curry, or a Shiraz was perfect to wash down a pulled-lamb sandwich served on nan bread.

He went about trimming the list from more than 300 selections to a comparatively compact 250, retaining its accents on German and Austrian Rieslings (a full page) and Rhone varietals drawn from France, California, and Australia. At the same time, he added 20 wines from Spain and Portugal, a region he's passionate about. And he brought in some smaller producers, working with twice as many wine distributors as his predecessor did, in order to lend greater variety to the cellar.

Mr. Barrera also wanted to change a few minds on the matter of demi-sec wines — a big bogeyman in the collective consumer mind-set, which equates sweet with insipid. "I feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with residual sugar in the wine," he said. "As a child, I drank aqua fresca. Whatever fruit was in season was made into a drink." During a recent trip to Mexico, he accompanied a lunch with a tall glass of watermelon water. "That's what they have in the middle of a hot day. There's a sweetness behind those drinks, and sweetness works well with spices."

Mr. Barrera's mind rarely rests in its pursuit of beverages that marry well with Tabla's spicy menu. Also in charge of the cocktail program, he is not neglecting that area. At the back of his cellar, on a wire rack, sits a collection of boutique gins. These constitute his new "project," due to be unveiled in the near future. "I find that gin, at least in theory, should work really well with the food because of the botanicals," he reasoned. He thinks a gin cocktail and appetizer pairing might make for a good match. "Cardamom, ginger — a lot of those spices are in the cooking."

And then there are those bottles of Mexican wine in the cellar that he hasn't sampled yet. Might India's and Mexico's cuisines meet yet again, this time in the wine pages of Tabla? Mr. Berrera is not committing himself. "I'm very proud of my Mexican heritage, but I'm an equal-opportunity wine guy," he said. "If the wine is tasty, I don't care where it's from. But if the wine is not up to standards, I'm not going to put it on the list, no matter where it's from."

Source: New York The Sun

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fine wine tasting awaits just across the border

By Beau Russell, Staff Writer

My girlfriend's parents were visiting from Denmark, and I offered to entertain them for a Sunday. After thinking about potential places to take them that would be both culturally educational and entertaining, I couldn't come up with anything. So I asked my brother, an insider when it comes to travel tips, where I could take them.

"Do they like wine?" he asked.

"Of course. They're European," I answered.

"Well, take them to Mexico," he said.

You're probably as bewildered as I was when he uttered "Mexico" and "wine country" in the same sentence. However, a little known but highly revered wine country has finally begun to gain the recognition of Mexican and American winos alike.

Ten years ago, the Valle de Guadalupe began to sprout vines full of grapes, transforming into the wine-producing region it is today. Wine has become the staple of the valley, and because of the expanding viniculture, restaurants and innkeepers have claimed their stakes right alongside the wine producers. With the development, the quality of the Mexican wines has risen.

"The wines are comparable to the Napa Valley or the regions of France," said Jens Nielsen, my foreign guest. "They are very fine wines."

What has drawn steady-but-not-overwhelming crowds to the region for the past few years has been an exquisite mix of fine dining and award-winning wines, without the notoriety of other regions. Even on Sundays, restaurants with gourmet menus accompanied by wines from the Valle sit half full with excellent service standing by. A day trip is easily feasible on any day of the week, with most of the wineries offering tastings from morning until mid-afternoon. Many wineries that front the Ruta del Vino (Route 3) are easily found by markings from Scenic Highway 1 along the coast of Ensenada. This scenic, well-paved, two-lane highway snakes through green hills, which become lively in the spring months after moisture is carried from the Pacific Ocean into the valley.

Our first stop of the day was the expansive L.A. Cetto winery. Around 80 percent of the valley belongs to L.A. Cetto, and it shows in the full-service wine shop. Because of the sheer size of the winery, including a large shopping boutique and friendly English-speaking employees, it is an easy introduction to the Valle de Guadalupe. Not only do they allow you to sample all of their many products, from merlot to chardonnay to their own tequila, they do it at the most reasonable of prices: free. The employees are equally knowledgeable about the other locations throughout the valley for more tasting and even tips on where to dine.

Other wineries, such as Chateau Camou, a short drive east, are more informal and a great way to explore a less commercialized side of the valley. With hallways filled with oak barrels that raise the wine to specific tastes and textures, the small Chateau sits atop a hill overlooking the valley. The tasting room is nothing more than an informal oak table set in a small room filled with the cool dry air that is essential in the wine-making process. Upon arriving, we shared the hallway with a Mexican family on vacation. Without a care, we all drank our wine and discussed the fruit and bouquets while our friends belted out Banda songs.

And this is what the Valle de Guadalupe has become: a little-known wine region that has incorporated Mexican hospitality and culture into a European tradition. Because of its relatively undiscovered status among even the most well-versed Mexican travelers, a free weekend definitely deserves consideration for an exciting mix of Mexican wine culture.



-Beau Russell is a sociology junior.

Source: The Daily Aztec

Friday, July 18, 2008

Discover a nice Mexican wine region : the Laguna


1. Situation and climate

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.

2. Vine

The typical varieties of vine grown in these wine regions are :

Wine region of Coahuila

White
Chardonnay - Chenin blanc - Semillon - Colombard

Red
Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot - Syrah - Tempranillo - Uva Lenoir y Rosa del Peru


Use
In this area 75 % of the grape production is used for distilling and 25% is used for wine production and eating.

More about other wine regions in Mexico: http://mexicanwines.homestead.com/REGIONS.html