Mexico, more than Tequila

When talking about alcoholic drinks and Mexico, the first thing that pops to mind is probably Tequila. Therefore, imagine my surprise when at ProWein, I come across wine from Mexico! Of course, I get curious and want to know more.

To be honest, my expectations were not exactly sky-high. Rather, my attitude was one of mild tolerance and I prepared myself for barley drinkable liquids.

Prejudice crushed

Dear readers, I hereby officially apologise. Timo and Fernanda, founders of “Uvas de México”, both of them enthusiastic and knowledgeable, opened my eyes to this for me  previously unknown wine country. Their love for the country and its wines shines through in everything they do. Each bottle had its own story, which they generously shared with me.

The oldest vineyards date back to the late 16th century. As so often in this part of the world it started as a way for the church to secure the wine for the mass. Wine production in Mexico has never been very large. But, as so often in the wine world, lack of quantity is compensated by higher quality. The wines presented by Timo and Fernanda are all well-made, flavourful and well-balanced. But above all, surprising.

Golden orange

For example, RGMX – NARANJA 2021, an orange wine made from Palomino and Riesling. The first grape more known for Sherry production. The second a grape I would never thought of to place in the heat of Mexico. Fortunately, others, more wise than me, have done so. The colour is almost golden in this orange wine. The scent is full of flowers. It feels like walking through an exotic garden on a hot summer day. Citrus, orange, lilies, roses. The flavour is also equally rich with layers of both flowers and fruit. But also nuts, a hint of butter and a slight bitterness that only adds structure and strength to this wine.

An reserva with aging potential

Another wine that caught my eye and tastebuds is a Syrah from 2016. Remember how some experts claim that grapes in warm countries produce heavy, jammy wines? Obviously Mexico didn’t read that memo.

This Grand Reserva definitely has fruity notes. But none of the clumsy heaviness that can sometimes be felt in wines where the grapes have been exposed to too much sun. On the contrary, this wine behaves as if it were much younger. The nose is clean and clear. It feels like stepping into a fruit garden. The flavour is coherent and full of black and blue fruits and flowers. This elegant ballerina dances across the tongue and tickles all the senses. There is every potential for this wine to age with both sophistication and dignity.  It is a very good wine already. But for those who have the self-control to buy a case today and put it away for a few years, rewards await in the form of what I believe will be a remarkable wine.

A whole new world

The wine world never ceases to amaze. And I am glad to have had the chance to learn something new, while tasting very good wines, from Mexico. Another wine country to add to the list.

Maria Scharffenberg
Sommelier and Teacher