Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wine Tasting Tours



"Dick and I were the first of the wine tour guests. We both had a wonderful time. We enjoyed the camaraderie that you and your friend Luke provided, as well as the food, wine and the whole Baja experience. We wish you well and will think of you often."

-Doreen, NY


The Wine and the Valle de GuadalupeThe Guadalupe Valley near Ensenada is the center of wine production in Mexico and has a fascinatiing history, from the first grapes planted by the missionaries in the mid-1800’s, to the Russian immigrant families which arrived in the Valley in the early 1900’s, to the more than a dozen wineries which thrive there today. Explore this beautiful valley crossed with dirt roads and carpeted by grape vines. Taste Mexico’s finest wines at old and new wineries nestled into the foothills surrounding the valley. We stop, tour and taste at 2-3 wineries such as L.A. Cetto, Domeq, Bodegas de Santo Tomas and Monte Xanic.


“…I am happy to state that the Mexican wine industry is alive and growing, and nowhere more evident than in the area around Ensenada. Winemakers trained in more than seven different countries are producing exciting wines using modern viticultural methods, state of the art fermentation equipment and innovative winemaking techniques. Wineries are beginning to enjoy international recognition as their wines receive more gold, silver and bronze medals in respected competitions.”

-Ralph L. Amey, Ph.D., C


Long live Mexican wine!


Tomost Gringos, Cinco de Mayo is a perfectly decent reason to party—enjoy a neonblue margarita at the local Don Pablo’s and whoop it up … and the perfect timeon the calendar nestled between St. Paddy’s day and Memorial Day for a long evening and even longer next morning.


Cinco de Mayo or theFifth of May commemorates the 1862 victory by Mexican forces over French soldiers. The battle known as The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5th. It is a day marked by many Mexicans and those with Mexican ties as an important cultural event.
Margaritas not withstanding, any reason to celebrate is a reason to hoist a glass of vino and wine in Mexico has a long history that is starting to re-emerge.
Or,in the words of the rock band the Fountains of Wayne, I think I’ll have anotherglass of “Mexican Wine.”


I used to fly for United Airlines. Then I got fired for reading High Times. My license expired in almost no time. Now I’m retired and I think that’s fine. Because the sun still shines in the summer time. I’ll be yours if you’ll be mine I tried to change, but I changed my mind. Think I’ll have another glass of Mexican wine.


Mexicanwine, at least as an industry, is enjoying nice growth, despite the fact that native Mexicans are largely categorized as being ambivalent about the drink.


And,also important to note that the majority of Mexican wine is made above the 30th parallel where the growing conditions are more hospitable. This area is in Baja California, and most ofthe wine-growing region is in and around the Ensenada area.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Mexican wine situation




Mexican wine is fast becoming another success in the international drinks market, following the remarkable popularity attained by Mexican beer. A combination of modern technology and wine-making expertise has resulted in the production of high class wines in Mexico that are rapidly breaking into international markets.


- Look here for a recent US study about Mexican wines (See section II) - Source USDA Foreign Agricultural Service


It isn't wine that comes to mind when one thinks of Mexico. There's brandy -- one of the country's most popular liquors --, tequila and beer. But wine? Traditionally, most grapes grown in Mexico have been used to produce brandy and altar wine for the Catholic church.


Mexicans still produce wine and export far more of the ever-popular tequila and beer. But wine consumption is indeed increasing, buoyed by a taste for fine wine among Mexican professionals


They nowadays consume less than half a bottle of wine per person per year, a figure that's a fraction of what consumers drink in countries that have a love affair with the grape. In the United States, for example, the per-capita annual consumption is about 10 bottles, in France and Italy, more than 60 bottles. Argentineans even consume around 67 bottles per person annually.

After years of obscurity and a less-than-excellent reputation, Mexican wines are overcoming history to rise to world-class levels. The question plagued Mexican vintners for years: with some of the oldest vines in the New World and a coastal region with warm days, cool nights and an early-morning blanket of Pacific fog -- just like California's Napa and Sonoma counties in the U.S.-- why were Mexican wines of such poor quality? Today, after centuries of producing insipid wines with poor character, the country is finally winning respect for making wine worthy of the name.

Vineyards throughout Mexico total approximately 111,000 acres and are expanding at a rate of about 6 percent per year, according to the National Association of Grape Growers and Wine Makers. Although that figure includes acreage for table grapes and grapes for jams, juices and raisins, the wine grape sector is the fastest growing.

In addition, more wineries are entering the business, particularly in Baja California, which accounts for 80% to 85% of all Mexican wine production. Most Mexican wineries want to increase their exports as well as carve out a domestic niche with quality wines. Tariffs are low on Mexican wine imports to the United States and if Mexican vintners export their wine, they get a substantial tax break at home.

By racking up medals at major international competitions, Mexican wines are opening up new markets. Coverage in publications such as Wine & Spirits, Wine Spectator, Underground Wine, and major Southern California newspapers also indicates a growing respect for Mexican wines.

Originally, the problem for vineyards in Mexico was that they were underfunded. But they are certainly not pinching any pennies now. They have the finest equipment and barrels, and they have spent a lot of money on trellising and irrigation. With the climate, they have the potential for some really nice wines.

Mexican vintners acknowledged that they have a long way to go, and U.S. winegrowers need not lose sleep over a potential invasion of Mexican "vino". Although reliable statistics are scarce, the Guadalupe Valley has less than a dozen wine companies, producing perhaps 24 million bottles of wine from about 6,000 acres of grapes. That's less than 2 percent of the grape acreage and wine production of California, or roughly the size of the small Carneros wine district in the southern Napa and Sonoma valleys.


Come in April to the Mexican wine festival in Aguascalientes



Dedicated to San Marcos, this fair in the state capital of Aguascalientes features local food and beverages, as well as cockfights, bullfights, and a lavishly decorated plaza. Said to be the largest fair in Mexico, there is a constant schedule of dances, processions, and exhibits.


More about this wine region here: http://mexicanwines.homestead.com/REGIONCenter.html


Flor de Guadalupe wines at Chateau Camou

Cabernet Merlot

This harmonious blend of our cabernet franc & merlot , made according to he bordelaise tradition of “saint emilion” give us as result this magnificent wine. Ruby-red in color, floral and red ripe fruit aromas with touches of cassis, coffee, leather and spices.


Some have tasted these wines, here you'll find it.


Blanc de blancs

Blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The Chenin Blanc is fermented in a stainless steel tank, while the other two wines are fermented in new French Oak Barrels and aged for 7 months. Is a lively young wine, discrete yellow - pale in color, with deep fresh aromas that remind us of tropical fruits such as pineapple, guava and apple, citrus fruits and peach. Good aftertaste and a typical finish of Chenin Blanc.

Some have tasted these wines, here you'll find it.


Zinfandel

Blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Traditional fermentation with a long maceration for the Cabernet and short for the Zinfandel. Natural malolactic fermentation for all wines and barrel fermentation in French barrels for 10 months. A full bodied wine with harmonic, deep red in color purple brightness. Red fruit oak and spice aroma. Good length and a tanning silky finish.

Some have tasted these wines, here you'll find it.



Clarete

It is a wine with young character. 100% Barrel fermented in French oak. Blending of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Its aroma reminds us of red fruits and roses. A lasting but discreet evolution on the palate which leads to a currant finish with really smooth-tasting tannins.

Some have tasted these wines, here you'll find it.