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Apr 19, 2007 06:08 PM

Wine Pairing

Has anyone tried Ceja wines. They'll be pouring at the event at Fort Mason this weekend

Looks like they'll be talking about pairing wines with tamales

what I want to know is what holds up to mole? Any ideas?

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  1. It would depend on what else is in the dish.

    Rieslings might work. This is a wine I had at recently at WD-50.
    -Riesling Kabinett 'Saarburger Rausch' Zilliken

    1. Ceja makes a decent chardonnay and pinot noir. Not astounding, but definitely worth trying.
      The story of their winery, IMO, is one of the most remarkable in wine country: the Cejas (Pedro -manager, Armando -winemaker, and dynamo Amelia -president) are the children of Mexican-immigrant vineyard workers who now own their own winery. They also happen to be unfailingly warm and gracious.

      I don't think tamales are the best pairing with Ceja wines, but I bet the tamales (perhaps made by Amelia) will be good! I'd do an off-dry Riesling also. As I would with mole (one of my favorite dishes).

      4 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        An even more remarkable wine country story is the Robledo winery which was started by a migrant farm worker (rather than the kids)....

        FWIW... I recently served Roasted Nopales with Mole Negro & Hard Boiled Eggs... and the Marques de Caceres rose (Rioja).... made a decent pairing... European roses seem to stand up to spicy very well without having to be cloyingly sweet.

        I am a huge proponent of pairing wine with Mexican cuisine... for one, it has an older history in Mexico than Beer (by about 300 years)... is closer in texture & tartness to Pulque and other pre-hispanic fermented drinks than Beer or Margaritas.... but I think the beauty of Mexican wine pairings is that the complexity is in the food & sauces... so the wines don't have to be astounding just balanced & structured,.... it also allows for greater flexibility in pairing (which also happens to be much closer to the Meditterranean origins of the Mexican wine pairing tradition... where wine is often served in high ball glasses without pretension or fuss).

        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          Nice to hear your thoughts, Eat Nopal, and to read the historical references to Mexican food and beverage pairing.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            I am always happy to share my thoughts. I know its hard to sell Mexican wines to a Wine Country crowd but you might find the Casa Madero at least worthy from a historical perspective. Established in 1597 its the first & oldest winery in the New World.


            It has a very interesting history in that it was first born out of a trip to establish a Mission in Northern Mexico... when the missionaries arrived in 1574 they were shocked to find wild vines in the lush Parras Valley (birds perhaps?). 23 years later the Spanish crown granted permission to establish a Winery... and the wine tradition in Mexico took off.

            At some point the envious mainlanders lobbyied the Crown to outlaw non-relgious grape wine production in the New World... and it became an underground, cottage industry. The vineyards survived by producing cheap, church wines... Maximilian was the first to try to revive it negotiating the sale to a French company.

            In 1893, the father of Francisco I. Madero (the young yuppie who initiated the Mexican Revolution & toppled Porfirio Diaz the francophile dictator)... traveled to Paris to purchase it, he recruited a team of Spaniards, Italians & Frenchmen... bought new top notch varietals & equipment... and returned to establish (what was then) the most modern & cutting edge winery in the world.... and made artisinal wines & brandy under the San Lorenzo name.

            For many decades they produced some of the few products that rivaled European imports in Mexico's top restaurants... and was the official purveyor to Los Pinos (the Mexican presidential residence)... where their wines were paired with some of the finest cuisine in the country.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Awesome! Thanks for the great history lesson!

      2. Ceja makes a crisp and fruity, white vino de casa that might be good with tamales. I haven't tried it for a couple vintages now, liked it better when it was ~ $12 rather than the current $18.

        1. Mole is actually a wide range... this dish on the event website says "Mole Colorado" which appears to be a combo of Chiles, Garlic, and Tomatillos....

          The chicken and shredded pork are combined together and cooked in the mole colorado then stuffed in the tamale wrappers...

          Ceja says ALL these wines are recommended for the dish: Vino de casa Red, Vino de Casa White, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon....

          It's unlikely that all these wines are equally good with that dish.

          My first reaction would be to try a riesling given the high chile content and overall spiciness. I doubt you could go too far wrong with it.

          OItherwise, just in general it looks like this event is going to make a strong effort to DEMONSTRATE various wine combinations with mexican foods and should be quite interesting.