Going South of the Border for an Elevated Wine Experience

 


The caricatures of Mexico leave one feeling as though the Central American country is still stuck in the Wild West days of the 18th and 19th century: drug wars and kidnappings have ruled the headlines for the past half-decade. 
 
Yet the country’s humble yet thriving wineries have been creeping up the oenophilic ladder of North American wines lately, thanks to some reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune. And I supposed we should be grateful to them, because without publicity, the wines of Baja California could languish unnoticed for years. 
 
This past week, U-T reporter Michele Parente featured a Baja wine in her column this past week, leading her story with this bold pronouncement: “The wines from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe are the most exciting discovery I’ve made in the past few years. They’re also the most frustrating.” 
 
Now that’s a whopping claim, particularly in light of all the indie movements rising up the California ranks, as well as the emergence of a whole host of Eastern European wines. But Parente stuck by her guns with both enthusiasm and honesty, acknowledging the creativity of the wines as well as their shortcomings. 
 
Her column focused on one particular wine: La Lomita’s Pagano 2012 Grenache from the Valle de Guadalupe. The red wine, she said, has a medium to full body and has “lively fruit” along with a “nice balance.” 
Parente said she’s quaffed the stuff at least 10 times in the tasting rooms and “with a full Mexican meal.” 
 
Part of the reasons the Mexican wines aren’t really striking a chord with American drinkers is their price. The Pagano 2012 is, for example, $28 per bottle. Mexican taxes are to blame for the prices: they impose a 42% levy on their wines. This is quite a shame if the wines really are as good as Parente makes them out to be. 
 
Mexican wines, while a bit scarce with local retailers in San Diego, have made appearances at big-box stores like Costco as well as chain supermarkets like Whole Foods thanks to Monte Xanic, another winemaker from Baja. 
 
The good news here is that the ever-evolving world of wine is evolving once more. Valle de Guadalupe is located just 90 minutes south of the border. If wine types don’t want to make the trip into Baja, they can try Mexican wines at Bracero in San Diego’s Little Italy district. 
 
Photo Credit: Pixabay

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