Are you a wine drinker but not really up to the mark on the variety of Mexican wines offered here?
During the two days of “100 Vinos Mexicanos” held in Queretaro at the beginning of March, I had the chance to taste about 100 wines out of the 500-plus presented at the festival.
The biggest annual wine event in Mexico provides an opportunity to asses the current state of the national wine industry, as three-quarters of the country’s wineriestake part and present most of their products for tasting.
Mexican wineries nowadays work with few grape varieties due to some rigid regulations that make new planting material imports nearly impossible. The varieties are mostly of French origin, the prevailing ones repeat what’s popular in Northern California: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Personally, I liked much more the wines made with French Mediterranean varieties that endure higher temperatures and a drier climate, such as Grenache, Syrah and, especially, Mourvedre, a difficult grape which in Mexico produces some spectacular wines. And of course, some real gems made with the Spanish Tempranillo.
When I first came to Mexico at the end of 2014, I was also surprised by the abundance of Italian varieties in the country – particularly Barbera and Nebbiolo. I used to live in Barolo (Northern Italy), an area considered the birthplace of these two varieties. No one there, however, suspects that Mexico produces Nebbiolo at such a scale and quantity of labels!
Mexican Nebbiolos are quite recognizable in most cases (unlike similar wines produced elsewhere), with some very close stylistically to modern Nebbiolo d’Alba, Valtellina or even old Roero wines.