Monday, July 16, 2007

The evolution of Mexican wine—Wine tasting, hacienda style (2/4)

By David Ramirez, April 5, 2007

Next I came to Baron Balache, a winery that was not yet opened on my last wine excursion to Baja. They had the most expensive wine I saw at US$100 a bottle, which they would not let you taste unless you bought it, which one chap did. They also had the most unique wine I found at the tasting: Doble Blanco (150 pesos). Upon inquiry about this unusual name they told me it was a Blanc de Blanc, which is a name the French invented, probably to make the pseudo-sophisticated think they were buying something special. All it means is white wine made from white wine grapes. This newly named wine was somewhat effervescent and reminded me of what the Spanish call Vino Joven (young wine), often bottled with a champagne cork, and vinho verde, the vin ordinaire of Portugal.

By this time the rather ordinary botanas had begun arriving. The best of them were the mussels, called patas de mula in Baja, where I used to throw them on a charcoal grill until their shells opened so that they could be doused with butter.

I believe that most of us thought there was going to be a sit-down lunch or a buffet, to be prepared by three Ensenada chefs: beef bourguignon, mushroom risotto, pork with apples, etc., as indicated by the poster advertisements.

Fortunately, one curious person found out that the botanas were all there was and the promised delicacies would not be forthcoming. Thus enlightened, we attacked the botanas with more enthusiasm to fortify ourselves for the last half of the wine tasting. I think it was better that we did not have to plough through a sit-down meal, which would have kept us from trying as many of the wines. In any event, to keep going, one had to pour away much of the wine into the artistic vases provided at every wine stop to dispose of excessively generous servings.

To be continued ...

1 comment:

Michael Pollard said...

We visited the Guadalupe Valley yesterday (July 15, 2007). Due to time we were only able to visit two wineries - La Casa de Doña Lupe
and Mogor Badán. The Dona Lupe wines were pleasant but the residual sugar in the Tempranillo/Cabernet blend and the Merlot upset what might otherwise be pleasant wines. Another example, called Honey Wine, was too cloying, but interesting.

The wines of Mogor Badan were another matter enturely. Both the Chasselas and the Red blend were excellent.

If the Mogor Badan wines are examples of the current crop of wines from the valley then there has been a great improvement since we last visited some 4-5 years ago. A visit for the festival in August should enlighten many of those who have not been fans of Mexican wines in the past.