Mexico is a great place for growing grapes
Some of the nation’s best wines come from Valle de Guadalupe, situated on the Baja coast. Close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, a climate that’s cooler than most of Mexico and mountains that border the valley all conspire to create good growing conditions there for chardonnay, cabernet and merlot. “The Baja region gets a lot of sun, which is good for full-bodied wines,” says Hugo D’Acosta, lauded as the Robert Mondavi of Mexico and owner of four wineries, including the esteemed Casa de Piedra. “It [feels like] Northern Italy.”
The time is now
Wine has been produced in Mexico since the 1600s, but in recent years, vintners have traveled and educated themselves to create unique wines that hold their own alongside global competitors. “There is a new generation of winemakers who have been traveling the world,” says D’Acosta. “They’ve been exposed to places like France and Italy and Spain and to the wines from there.”
The price is right
Popular varietals in Mexico include chardonnay, grenache, Bordeaux-style cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The characteristics are similar to offerings from places like California, Italy and France, but the prices are gentler and the wines can be more distinctive. Because the wine scene in Mexico is still burgeoning, production of any single wine is usually limited to no more 3,000 cases. This means that basically every winery is boutique.
Winemakers aren’t afraid to get funky
“It’s still early in Mexico’s winemaking process and people are feeling free to experiment with different flavor notes,” says Marie Elena Martinez, founder of Baja Meets New York, an annual event that celebrates Mexican food and drink. “At the same time, though, you have Hugo D’Acosta who is a French trained winemaker. With people like Hugo, Mexican wine is steeped in tradition with a touch of the wild West. That intersection is pretty freaking cool.”