It’s thirsty work ex­plor­ing the re­gion lead­ing Mex­ico’s wine re­vival, says Shan­non Har­ley.

delicious - - INSIDER -

WHEN YOU THINK of Mex­ico’s great­est ex­ports, wine is rarely in the mix with tequila, tacos, mez­cal and mar­gar­i­tas. How­ever, the coun­try’s lesser-cel­e­brated wine-mak­ing cul­ture is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a mod­ern-day re­nais­sance thanks to a new wave of pro­duc­ers and cre­atives.

To­day, winer­ies ex­ist in sev­eral Mex­i­can states, in­clud­ing Sonora, Coahuila and Baja Cal­i­for­nia. The lat­ter is where you’ll find Valle de Guadalupe, ground zero for fine-wine pro­duc­tion and the coun­try’s wine des­ti­na­tion du jour.

To­day’s re­nais­sance can be traced to broth­ers Hugo and Ale­jan­dro D’Acosta, two vi­sion­ar­ies in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing Valle de Guadalupe as a ma­jor wine hub. In 2004, French-trained wine­maker Hugo founded La Es­cuelita (‘the lit­tle school’) where lo­cals could learn the art of enol­ogy, while Ale­jan­dro, an ar­chi­tect with a pen­chant for up­cy­cling, has de­signed many of the val­ley’s iconic cel­lar doors, from Vena Cava, with its up­turned fish­ing boats, to Clos de Tres Can­tos, also made from re­claimed ma­te­ri­als.

In keep­ing with this New World or­der, a dis­tin­guish­ing style is yet to emerge. While a va­ri­ety of grapes are grown in the val­ley, the prin­ci­pal va­ri­etals are caber­net sauvi­gnon, tem­pranillo and chardon­nay. How­ever, in­tense cli­matic con­di­tions re­sult in wines that are far fruitier than their Euro­pean coun­ter­parts, but in no way in­fe­rior. In fact, La Lechuza Vine­yards’ chardon­nay out­weighed many Napa op­tions and is on the menu at Thomas Keller’s heav­ily to­qued Cal­i­for­nia restau­rant, French Laun­dry. This fron­tier men­tal­ity of fear­less ex­per­i­men­ta­tion has cre­ated a unique

ter­roir, where chefs and wine­mak­ers are com­bin­ing lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­gre­di­ents and nouse to cre­ate some­thing truly he­cho en Mex­ico (made in Mex­ico).

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