Monday, October 08, 2007

Setting standards of excellence in Mexican wines

The "Big Three" wineries may provide good, affordable wine for the mass market, but the small wineries are providing the enthusiasm in sophisticated wine circles. These elite vintners are
elevating the quality and the reputation of Mexican wine, As the excitement grows, several wineries and winemakers are well on their way to achieving cult status.

Hugo D'Acosta at Casa de Piedra, whose first vintage was in 1997, is the standard-bearer for the small boutique wineries in the valley. The unique winery is new, but looks old and was
designed to look like a stone house as the winery name implies. "We wanted to keep it
simple," says Hugo, "like our wine." While the winery makes a subdued architectural statement, the "simple" wines, as it turns out, are elegant and concentrated.

Casa de Piedra produces only two wines: a white, Piedra de Sol, made from Chardonnay grapes grown in high-density vineyards, and a red, ViƱo de Piedra, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Production currently sits at 1,250 cases, which D'Acosta hopes will soon double, as he is optimistic about the future of Mexican vines, especially the old vines
he's bringing back to productive life. "Old vines planted many years ago by the Russian emigrants may take on a new life.... The roots go very deep on these head-pruned plants and they are better adapted to the arid conditions. They could make beautiful wine," smiles D'Acosta.

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