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Mexican Wines?

A friend/wine lover recently spent a week in Cancun and came back raving about a Mexican wine he drank (at the hotel restaurant where he was staying, the wine came commended by the waiter, maybe not on the regular wine list.) He believes it may have been a pinot noir. He is now trying to find out exactly what it was that so impressed him...but in the meantime I thought I'd help out:
So, are any Mexican wines available for purchase in U.S. and where?
Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I would appreciate any posts on this as well. I have always enjoyed wine from a couple of the old wineries when visiting baja, but last week was blown away with some of the more boutique offerings from the Valle de Guadalupe. Upon returning home I have made a couple of queries locally figuring San Diego is so close to Baja that someone would have a decent selection. The only ones that I could turn up was one Cetto petite syrah and some basics from Santo Thomas, and was told the red tape in getting wine across the border for distribution has made it next to impossible. Any thoughts?

    1. The only wine that I know for sure still exports to California is LA Cetto's Nebbiolo Reserve. I think LA Cetto may also export some of their lower-end wines as well, I've not checked into that. I think Casa de Piedra exports some wine to New York state only.

      Santo Tomas, Chateau Camou/Flor de Guadalupe, and Monte Xanic/Calixa exported some wine in recent years, but as far as I can tell do not anymore. Some of their wines may still be available at certain stores from when they did export, though.

      I heard a rumor that Valmar may be exporting some wine but I haven't followed up yet.

      Other than that, I know of no wine exported to the US. There are lots of great wineries only 90 minutes away from us in San Diego and yet we can't legally buy their wine in town. I know folks on both sides of the border would like to change that but it seems very difficult to solve.

      I'm guessing your friend drank one of the many very good wines from Baja (or elsewhere in Mexico) that are not available in the US.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jayporter

        Thanks Jay. Are you aware if any of them are able to ship direct to non-retail customers? I can't imagine that all those bus loads of people on wine tours during harvest are only able to bring one bottle per person back through the border...then again with currant administration policies I should say that nothing should surprise me. By the way - good luck on the move.

        1. re: foodiechick

          Thanks...we'll take all the luck we can get :-).

          I believe that the Mexican wineries *cannot* ship direct to the US.

          However there is something called the "common carrier" law which allows US citizens to take back multiple cases of wine (I think up to 4 or 5) if they cross the border on a "common carrier" such as a commercial airplane, cruise ship, or passenger bus. I remember when I came back from Australia we could take back lots of wine, for instance.

          However, I'm told this law does not apply to charter buses which are not techincally "common carrier"s.

          So, I believe most of those folks at vendimia are only legally allowed to bring back one bottle per person, though I'm sure some folks skirt the law. And also the people on the cruise ships can legally bring back more, as can people who make a point to take a non-charter bus.

          Disclaimer: I am a fan of Baja wine but not a customs attorney. I may just be making stuff up. Proceed at your own risk. Gracias.

      2. The San Antonio Winery downtown has some L.A. Cetto.A few select Mexican restaurants around town might have a Monte Xanic or a Chateau Camou, like Tlapazola Grill or La Serenata de Garibaldi.

        My favorites like Cavas Valmar, Tres Mujeres, Vinisterra, Casa de Piedra, Vinas Piojan, Tres Valles, Dona Lupe,Mogor Badan, and Californios and their Roganto. I don't know about you, but I am enjoying them in Baja.They will eventually get here but I'm going down as often as possible and slowly compiling an arsenal in my wine refrigerator. I bring 'em to my favorite Mexican restaurants around town

        1. Maybe it was Pedro Domecq's XA cabernet sauvignon. It's inexpensive but generally quite smooth and delicious.

          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: cristina

            Cristina

            You can also go to vinoteca.com and montexanic.com.mx for more information.

          2. To All

            Hi ya, I do not blog here much but I am an American who lives in Cancun, since 1991, and I am the largest wine distributor for fine wine from around the world here. That being said since I do not distribute all of the Mexican brands I will be as unbiased as possible and let you figure out what I do distribute.

            First of all the three biggest wineries........
            Domecq - Baja California - Owned by Pernod - Ricard, - Average quality wines in the 6 to 8 dollar price range in Walmart here. They have a tendency to be acidic and out of balance. Strong rumor has it that a lot of their juice comes from Chile and I believe it probably to be true.

            L.A. Cetto - Baja California - Family Owned - Same comments as Domecq.

            Santo Tomas - Baja California - Better than Domecq or Cetto but at about twice the price so price quality well........not there. Since Hugo Lacosta left there as the winemaker the price has gone up 40% and the quality is down. Their top wine Unico has gone up to $50 wholesale and many hotels and restaurants have eliminated it off of their lists.

            Next in line Casa Madero - Parras, Mexico - Family owned - about 1 and a half hours west of Monterrey, Mexico. Now producing very good quality wine. This is the oldest winery in the Americas.....been rolling since 1597. I am impressed by the cleaner more balanced taste than wines coming out of Baja. Baja in the last three years has had problems with drought and it effects the taste of the wine. They get a real mineral taste, salty, because when they do not get enough rain they irrigate more and even the water from the wells has a lot of salt. The salt that is in the soil and irragation water for some strange reason shows up in the grapes hence in the wine. Valley de Guadalupe being very close to the Pacfic has a lot of salt in the soil from millions of years of the winds blowing in from the ocean, Los osos area just over another ridge of hills beyond does not have as big a problem. All in all all of the wine makers are learning more and more about how the soil effects wines during a drought.
            A little off track and now back to Madero
            They have three main labels they sell under.
            Montivina red and white. Good bang for the buck. About 5.50 in Walmart

            Casa Madero - Cab, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Semillion, Riesling, - The 2006 Chardonnay won an honerable mention at Vin Italy last year. Shiraz is good and the Merlot Excellent. About 15.00 dollar cost. 30-45 in Hotels and Restaurants.

            Casa Grande - Cabernet, Chardonnay, Shiraz All three top notch wines. Also last year the 2006 Casa Grande Chardonnay won best of show at Vin Italy for all Chardonnays from around the world. They do not have any left as you can imagine. Cost is about $25 Retail and from 50-70 in Restaurants and hotels.

            Abobe made by Hugo Lacosta. Baja California - If I am not mistaken owned by Americans. Hugo consults and makes thes wines. Very good but a little spendy. Again they have increased their price by about 20-25% in the last year and run abour 32-38 retail and 75-90 in Restaurants. They make several varieties but I am not up to speed on them.

            MariaTinto / Baja California - Four owners the principle being Humberto Falcon the director of Sales for Vinoteca out of Monterrey, a wine importer and distributor the biggest and best in Mexico. Excellent bang for the buck. A blend of Tempranillio, Barbara, Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot. Long finish and well balanced. Retail at about 25-30 and 60-75 in restaurants. Only 1500 to 2000 cases produced annualy.

            If my typing gets a little rough here it is getting late so bare with me.

            Monte Xanic - The premier winery in Valle de Guadalupe, Family owned - This winery statred in 1987 has been the lime light of the Valle for many years however their red wine quality has suffered from the drought. They are now just finishing a new well system over the hill to the North East and will be irrigating with water that will be pumped for five yes five miles away......what a project. They are also build a new state of the art winery on the property and will be building a 40 small luxury hotel on propery as well.
            Their white wines especially the Chenin Colombard and Chardonnay are very good. 10-20 dollars retail. Their reds are around 26 dollars retail. Their top wine Gran Ricardo is exceptional and runs about 55 retail.

            Ok thats enough for tonight........when I blog again which will be soon I will finish up with Chateau Camou, La llave, Cru Garage, Enzio, Casa de Pierdra, Rivero Gonzalez,
            Malagon and Licega wineries. All of which need to be noted about. For those of you who read anything by James Suckling of the Wine Spectator you will be pleased to see that in the last two or three months he has been writting about Mexican wineries, three articles I believe.
            Last but not least it is no harder for importers in the US to import from Mexico than anywhere else but the boutique wineries of Mexico do not have enough for the US or the ones that do are too commercial and would not be excepted by the deserning palates in the US... Casa Madero does export some to the US and I will find out where. Monte Xanic used to and will again in the near future. And for those of you in or going to Las Vegas Areole Restaurant has a short selection of Boutique Mexican wines there. Wineman out..........like a light.

            11 Replies
            1. re: wineman3

              Wineman, I hope you slept well last night after writing such a wonderful post. I'll be checking here in Morelia, Michoacán, for the Madero wines you mentioned. When I find them (and I'm sure I will, based on your excellent information), I'll post back here with the Mexican prices. Sometimes national wines are more expensive IN the country of origin than they are in the USA.

              Thanks again for your highly informative post!

              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

              1. re: cristina

                Cristina,

                The prices I mentioned are in usd in Mexico so as not to confuse the Americans reading at home.........Vinoteca there carries several of the brands I mentioned including Casa Madero.

                1. re: wineman3

                  I found the Casa Madero cabernet at Superama (high-end Wal-Mart) for 196 pesos. I haven't made it to the regular Wal-Mart yet, but I'll report back when I get there.

                  Unfortunately we have no Vinoteca here in Morelia--at least not that I know of. We have La Divina, which has a rotten selection of everything!

                  Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                  1. re: cristina

                    Cristina, FYI, if you're interested check out Las Mirasoles. They have a special wine room towards the back of the house (probably seats 20-25). When I was there with Ricardo in Nov. 2005 they had a fairly extensive selection of Mexican wines including a number of very, very boutique wines out of Baja. We did a quick tasting of some of them before comida.

                    Our table had Ricardo order the wines and he certainly didn't let us down :-). The menu was traditional Purepecha and the Baja white he selected was an outstanding match for the first couple of courses. In fact, I thought it was one of the best whites I'd tasted in years because it was unique and very clean tasting. Very different from the typical California, New Zealand, Australian, etc., whites we get here NOB. I, of course, don't remember exactly what it was, though I now strongly suspect it was probably a Mogor-Badan.

                    We had two bottles of wine with that comida, one white and one red, and our wine bill was about $135 USD for the two (and worth every peso, I might add). Mexican wine in Mexico is expensive by both US and Mexican standards <sigh>. If you need a bottle of Baja wine for a special occasion I wonder if Las Mirasoles wouldn't sell it to you. Or, if you just want to try them, go have comida there. One of the sons is a very well trained and knowledgeable sommlier.

                    I found a good selection of Mexican wines at H*E*B in Monterrey (not that that helps you ;->) and I would also suggest investigating your Costco there in Morelia.

                    1. re: cristina

                      Cristina,
                      Following find the address and phone number for Vinoteca in Morelia................happy tipping and sipping.
                      MORELIA
                      Juan De Silva # 79
                      Col Félix Ireta
                      Morelia, Michoacán CP58070
                      T (443) 313 5305

                2. re: wineman3

                  Great report, wineman3. Your local knowledge of Cancun and your wine industry knowledge are very welcome here - don't be a stranger!
                  P.S. Sorry I could not make it to your wine tasting: I got way over-committed with wedding functions, but gracias otra vez for your kind invitation.
                  Veggo

                  1. re: wineman3

                    Thanks wineman for all the information and perspective. It's good to hear more about the non-Baja California wines, a few of which I've had but haven't heard much details about.

                    To your notes on the Baja California wines, I would add for consideration Acrata, Paralelo, Mogor Badan, Pijoan, Tinto de Valle (if I remember the name right), JC Bravo, and Baron Balche, wines from all of which I have very much enjoyed. There are others, too, whose names escape me right now.

                    1. re: wineman3

                      Great thanks, wineman3.
                      I've always wanted to try more Mexican wines.
                      Thanks again for your wonderful info.

                      1. re: wineman3

                        Great insight and thank you. I enjoy reading about this stuff before I experience it.

                        Jordan

                        1. re: wineman3

                          Wineman 3, you are a total gift!! Could you give me some advice about the wine list at the St Regis in Punta Mita? My daughter is getting married there in Nov 2014, and I would like to use Mexican wines if I can find good quality and price. also, what about Mexican sparkling wines--are there any that are good?

                          1. re: winematters

                            Unfortunately, wineman3 hasn't posted for 3 years.

                        2. There is no pinot noir made in Mexico yet the weather is too hot for pinot although there are a couple of people who have planted some here in Baja so will see in the future ...
                          Unfortunatly very few Mexican wines are available in the U.S. I know that Rick Bayless has some in his restaurants , the Wine Bank in San Diego 5th and J downtown use to have some Valmar ,Monte Xanic and a couple of other ones I haven't been there in some time so I'm not sure if it's still hapening a very interesting thing is that you could get the wines cheaper in S.D. than in the wineries due to an incredible tax that mexican wines pay in Mexico !
                          But the best way to try the Mexican wines is to come directly to the wine country and live the experience.
                          Salud

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: bigotes

                            I think we all agree with you about experiencing it in the area...the problem is that we are so impressed with the quality that we want to bring it home in larger quantities than allowed, or have access to retail in the US. We so appreciate what we have discovered, wish it was easier to enjoy in the states.

                            1. re: foodiechick

                              Write your congressman..........or depending on what state you live in or cross into you can pay duty and taxes at the border if I am not mistaken.....check with US customs and they can tell you. A lot of times if it just a case or so if you tell them that you have and want to declare it they will just tell you to pass because it is a lot of paperwork for small amounts. I did not just say that did I???? Nope.

                            2. re: bigotes

                              "I know that Rick Bayless has some in his restaurants"

                              I think Bayless has given little more than lip service to Mexican wines - as far as offering them to his restaurant customers. He seems to avoid them, from what I observe.

                              1. re: gomexico

                                Could it be because they are not easily importing in to the U.S., and those that are, not widely available?

                                I live less than 70 miles from the Valle de Guadalupe in San Diego and it is almost impossible to find Mexican wines here. I've been told that it's difficult to get the Mexican wines imported.

                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  Yes, U.S. trade and Customs regulations have a bearing on what's available in the USA. That, too, is the situation in Mexico where in many parts of the country residents must think Gallo wines are the best in the USA - because they're about the only USA wines you can finid (ugh!). Protectionism, on both sides of the border - though I suspect California wineries are exerting more blockage attempts than the Mexicans are.

                                  But, even in special events organized by Bayless where he could introduce Mexican wines he doesn't - instead he seems to prefer French, Spain, etc. Not to be totally critical, though, Bayless, who is a prolific Twitter participant, visited the wine region of Baja and wrote glowing commentary.

                                  Bayless doesn't really offer much typically (as found/served in Mexico) Mexican food in his restaurants, IMO. Rather, he presents his interpretation and he's been upfront about that, most of the time. It's the inexperienced (in Mexican cuisine) restaurant patrons who flock to his places in Chicago who think they're eating Mexican food. Yes, this can be a "picky, picky" comment, but if you saw, heard and read some of the commentary from Bayless and some of his flock of admirers (and the presentation of some of his dishes) it might make you want to throw-up. There's some goodness amongst all that, though. ;-)

                                  Speaking of food, and Bayless, and of his restaurants - here's a photo I took last evening of a cochinita pibil sandwich I had at his upscale 'fast food' restaurant - Xoco:

                                  http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2763...

                                  1. re: gomexico

                                    I concur with you about Rick Bayless. It’s an interpretation of what you find in Mexico. Also, you will find these types of interpretations with some cooking schools in Mexico taught by NOB people. How sad the Norte Americana’s go back thinking they have had real Mexican food. What I love about Mexico is that you can find the shabbiest, hole in the wall restaurants serving up some of the best Mexican food you will ever taste. And then go to an upscale hot and trendy place that serves up something you would find in the U.S. with the prices to match.

                            3. Oh and by the way.........anyone who speaks Spanish vinoteca.com or montexanic.com.mx have ggod web sites especially vinoteca with a lot of information on wine in general, ratings, a chatroom or a place to ask questions.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: wineman3

                                URGENT...............EVERYONE TRY MONTIFIORI WINES FROM BAJA ....... BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK

                                1. re: wineman3

                                  I came across your blog on Chowhound while doing research on exporting California wines to Mexico and read everything you wrote on wines from Mexico. Your information is so right on about why wines from Mexico are so difficult to find. I have spent time in Valle de Guadalupe and spoke to some winery owners and listened quite intently to their frustration getting wine sold in the U.S.

                                  Here in the U.S. during this recession it's difficult to get distributors to pick up good wines with the right price point (under $20 retail), great reviews, sharp packaging, focused and well thought out sales plans. Building a brand takes a lot of time and unless you have a boat load of money for marketing and the owner/winemaker pounding the pavement 24/7 for the first 5 years, you may meet success. Many new wineries/producers (4-5 years in the making) are struggling to make ends meet and some are closing their doors. I’m thinking there are deals to be made and I would like to turn this subject around and find out what your thoughts are on selling California boutique wines in Mexico. Below is an excerpt from an article from “GAIN Report” that was written 11/09:

                                  “Mexican Consumers are Thirsty for U.S. Wines – Mexico is an emerging market for U .S. –origin wine. Currently Mexican, Chilean and European (Spanish and French) wines dominate the market. However, U.S. wines (and in particular California wines) have great potential to increase market share, especially in the middle income consumer segment, with more market promotion activities. Most Mexican wine consumers are familiar with California wines but these wines rank in the middle of the pack for awareness, trial, purchase interest and imagery compared to other major competitors.”

                                  Do you agree with the above?

                                  Also, what do you think of the wine market in Merida.

                                  Have you heard of or tried Moebius – a wonderful Nebbiolo from the owner/winemaker of Laha.

                                  Sorry for all the questions – but you are a fountain of information and seem to enjoy sharing it.

                                  Gracias!

                                  1. re: winewomen1

                                    I have had the opportunity to spend time with a few of wine makers in Guadalupe Valley and most were not too motivated to sell wine in the US as they see far greater potential for growth in Mexico. I don't doubt that any of them would dislike selling in the US but the path of least resistance and easier profits may be in Mexico. Baja California is, however, somewhat isolated from the rest of the country when it comes to transporting goods in either direction.

                                    One wine maker told me he keeps a small amount for sale locally (in Baja), sells some to several small California wine shops and the rest is sold to buyers in D.F and Monterrey. He said he could sell everything to buyers in D.F. He added that although tourism to the wineries from US visitors has dropped substantially, it has almost been fully compensated for by tourists from the Mexican mainland. I have heard similar stories from three other wine makers.

                                    I spent an evening in D.F. with some people who are well informed in matters of fine food and wine. While we drank European and Argentine wines that evening, the wines of Baja California were well known and they were envious, in a playful way, of my having visited many of the wineries with which they were familiar.

                                    I agree, Andres Blanco, who makes Moebius, has created a wonderful nebbiolo. Last summer Andres offered me a rosé that had yet to be labeled and it was quite good too.

                                    By the way, late last summer or early fall, about 10 Mexican wine makers took off to southern France, having purchased all of the vinyards of a small village. I was told that some of the wines will be produced in France (for export back to Mexico or where ever else there is a market). Some of the grapes were to be shipped back to Guadalupe Valley to be made into wine there. The latter option doesn't sound very economically viable, but what do I know?

                                    1. re: Ringo Gato

                                      Gato,

                                      Did they tell you where they bought these vineyards. If I am not mistaken it was in the south of France, not really known for the high quality that you find in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Champagne or even the Loire. So they will bring the wines back and do what a lot of wineries in Mexico do ......... OVER CHARGE for what you get and then disillusion the new up and coming wine drinkers in Mexico.................saying it is more than worth the price. HUmmmm

                                      1. re: wineman3

                                        What started out as a wine tasting turned into about two hours of wine drinking so, although the wine maker who told me about the Mexican-French project did name the village, I cannot recall its name. Wine does that sometimes.

                                        Clearly, if the vinyards the Mexican wine makers purchased were highly successful, it is likely the whole village's vines wouldn't have been for sale. One of the Mexican wine makers who I understand is involved in the project is Hugo D'Acosta, who I believe learned his wine skills in France and already owns a few vinyards there.

                                        In any case, while Provence isn't known for great wines, Languedoc Roussillon, which is also southern France, has some reasonably good albeit lesser known wine. I will see if I can get an update on their venture when I return to Guadalupe Valley next month.

                                        1. re: Ringo Gato

                                          That's certainly how is goes in Baja!

                                          Hugo does have the vineyard in France, and he's doing great. Not sweatin' a thing during these tough times. Maybe I'll run into you down there someday, if I haven't already.

                                          Have you checked out EMEVE?

                                          1. re: streetgourmetla

                                            You asked, "Have you checked out EMEVE?" I am totally in the dark. Is it a winery? An event?

                                            1. re: Ringo Gato

                                              It's a Winery, great wines and a really nice tasting room. http://www.vinicolaemeve.com/

                                              In the family is a Cordon Bleu trained chef, a mexicana, that cooks at L'Apricot in Tijuana. Great people, get out to see them.

                                    2. re: winewomen1

                                      Winewomen1
                                      All I can say is if you have not been in the wine business before, Mexico is not the place where you want to cut your teeth. I do import a lot of wine from California, USA, as well as just about all of the main wine producing areas from around the world. Merida as a market is about 20 years behind the rest of the world. Most people there will not pay the price for good wine.
                                      I have heard of Moebius but not tried it. The problem with mexican wines are they are just bottled or produced and bottled by the owners. Only about ten to 14 wineries in Mexico really have their own vines.........All the rest work on year to year contracts to buy grapes and do a garage style of production or they just go to larger winerys and buy barrels and blend, then bottle. Again a lot of doctors, lawyers etc., etc., just trying to be a wine operation. Some are doing OK but with the hyper-inflated prices there are a lot of other countries that have much better Values. Last but not least an up and coming grown, produced and bottled winery in Mexico with a price quality that is much better than 95% of other Mexican lables is Montifiori. Outstanding price-value wines. Regarding the article from Gain divide by two and subtract 10% and that is what to take away from this article. I sounds as if they are quoting some Government report, generalizing. There are about five to ten different types of markets within Mexico where as in the states it is even way further diversified................Again be careful if you plan on selling, reping in mexico. Multiply by two and add 40% and that is how hard and costly it will be.
                                      THE WINEMAN

                                2. It's actually getting more and more difficult to find Baja wines in the interior of México! The problem: transportation costs; Mexican wine and liquor distributors not wanting to bother with handling Baja wines (for a variety of reasons); and the ready availability of good value Chilean and Argentinean wines.

                                  In Mazatlán a couple of weeks ago virtually the only Baja wines I could find were some LA Cetto varieties (Cetto's zinfandel is actually pretty good). And I looked in high end wine stores and mega supers. A Maz restauranteur said the problem was mostly with the distributors and the state of the Mexican economy; he owns a very successful and popular wine bar which now features virtually no Mexican wines--it would not be economical for him to do so.

                                  My wife and I have been traveling all over México for over 40 years and this is the first time we've experienced a dearth of Baja wines on the mainland, especially ironic because Baja wines are now collecting rave reviews from wine critics worldwide. It increasingly looks like I'll just have to make more short visits to northern Baja to eat great food--at Bigotes's restaurants ;-)--and drink Valle de Guadalupe wines.

                                  BTW, for finding obscure, hard to find "foreign" wines I highly recommend SNOOTHHOUND.COM, excellent wine website.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: dlglidden

                                    Sorry but when did Mazatlan become the interior of Mexico...........I do believe it is directly on the ocean....................If you are refering to not being the Baja Pen. then you would be half right.
                                    Regarding the availibility to find wines from Baja in the center of the country then you will find all you want in the D.F., Monterrey and Guadalajara. On the Caribe you can find all you want in Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and the Riveria Maya as well. Puerto Vallrta has plenty also.

                                    1. re: wineman3

                                      Since the Sea of Cortés was created millions of years ago. And if Mazatlán is not a part of the interior of México because it's on the ocean, does that mean that neither are Cancún, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, etc?

                                      I merely pointed out that Baja wines are less readily available on the "Mexican mainland" (is that term OK with you) than they were a few years ago. And I am intimately familiar with the availability of Baja wines in DF, Guadalajara, and Puerto Vallarta, among dozens of other cities, and you are simply wrong: the good stuff--and even much of the plonk--is harder to find and shelf space is now more crowded with South American wines, for the reasons I said.

                                      BTW, do you stock or promote Zacatecan wines? If not, why not? There's also a very good vineyard/winery in the Copper Canyon that makes a very good Cabernet/Merlot. See much of it in the Yucatán?

                                      I just don't see why my post pissed you off. Do you really think anything I said was not true? Why are you so defensive? I BEMOAN the fact that it's harder to find Baja wines than it was earlier and THAT pisses me off. And BTW again, Mazatlán is a city of over 400,000 people and is a major México tourist destination. If México wants to promote its wines, they should be readily available in all major tourist areas--and they were, but now that's not true. And "fine dining" restaurants in tourist hotspots aren't helping much: they now seem to highlight European, American, and South American wines on their wine lists.

                                      Lo Siento.

                                      1. re: dlglidden

                                        Most of the smaller wineries produce 300 to 500 cases for 'the world' of each variety and since they go to major consuming places first, hence the lack of availability elsewhere. It is not transport cost. Think about it, how many restaurants could consistantly carry a wine that produced 300 to 500 cases of one variety? If a hot selling restaurant sold one case per month of one cabernet from one winery that would mean that only 50 restaurants in all of Mexico could have that one wine. In the five most important cities that means 10 restaurants in each city. That would be with a 600 case production.
                                        They need to sell out as fast as possible to turn their money over. In this situation you would rarely if ever see this type of wine on the shelf/supermarket anywhere in Mexico. Most of the Supermarkets don't understand, the liquor stores want to sell liquor, and only the Mexican middle-upper class can afford or know wine that costs over 200 pesos a bottle.
                                        Also BTW I have been in the wine biz for over 30 years and in my opinion most of the smaller wineries in Mexico are inconsistant year to year and very over priced even though it is supply and demad situation. As time goes on and production growth becomes more stabilized so will availability and price.
                                        I did not mean to p\\\ you off but there are basic economic reasons why this situation is as it is.
                                        Regarding those wineries from Zacatecas and Copper Canyon. Again would probably not be able to supply with consistant quality and quantity for me to want to distribute their wines. Wine suppliers do the best with what they have sometimes and we also have customers that we have to keep happy and if the quality is not consistant and availibility I would not suggest to the Hotels and Restaurants I sell to to put those wines on their wine list. Sorry but Mazatlan, no matter how beautiful, is way down the food chain. Believe me if anyone wanted to go the extra distance they could contact the smaller wineries and get wine shipped to them..........no problem. They just don't want to be proactive and make their customers happy. My suggestion for the future when you travel in Mexico check with the hotel before you go and have them send their wine list and/or carry the wine you want with you. You could also buy ahead from the winery or vinoteca at vinoteca.com and have the wine shipped to your destination. BTW did you know that the oldest winery in the Americas is about 2 hours west of Monterrey, Mexico, the interior part of Mexio. Casa Madero est. 1597 and makes very good wines. casamadero.com

                                        All for now
                                        The wineman

                                        1. re: wineman3

                                          Wineman, it's been a long time since our conversation about Casa Madero, but I wanted to let you know that since then, I have on several occasions drunk their cabernet sauvignon and you are 100% correct: it is wonderful. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

                                          By the way, the Casa Madero website is http://www.casamadero.com.mx. It's worth the 'click' to see what the winery has available.

                                          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                                          1. re: cristina

                                            Cristina
                                            Another tip Montifiori Valle de Guadalupe great Chard. for the price, syrah, merot great bang for the buck and the Cab Sangiovese as good as a lot of Super Tuscans for half the price.

                                            1. re: cristina

                                              Cristina did you get the note about Montifiori??? He catches rain water in a very very large dam and uses that to irrigate with so that the wines do not pick up the salt from the soil..............cool.

                                              1. re: wineman3

                                                Thanks, wineman, I did get your note. I've been out all day giving a talk and listening to other talks at the Colegio Culinario de Morelia--great day, lots of fun, wonderful food and companionship.

                                                I will try the Montifiori wines ASAP. Thanks for the recommendation!

                                                Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                                                1. re: cristina

                                                  So Cristina did you get a chance to try Montifiore yet???????

                                                  If so what do you think?????????
                                                  Wineman

                                                  1. re: wineman3

                                                    cristina.........
                                                    Happy New Year
                                                    Did you get a chance to try Montifiori?
                                                    Just curious as to what you think.
                                                    Wineman

                                            2. re: wineman3

                                              Wineman, I appreciate very much your response regarding boutique Mexican wineries and you are obviously correct. But my original post concerned the fact that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find almost any Baja wines on the Mexican mainland, including Cetto and Domecq who produce tens of thousands of cases annually. And I've spoken to enough restaurateurs, speciality wine shop buyers, and megasuper managers to cause me to believe that the reasons for the recent relatively unavailability of Baja wines are for the reasons I suggested. (But is does seem to be true that the effects of the recession have been reflected in the shrinking number of linear feet of shelf space that megasupers [Soriana, Mega, etc.] devote to wine from any country.) I hope your business is doing well and the next time we're in the Yucatán we'll drop by to "stock up" for our vacation.

                                              1. re: dlglidden

                                                If you mean that transportation from Baja to the interior of Mexico is the problem it is not. The two or three largest wineries have warehouses all over Mexico that are theirs and not the distributors. For Example in the D.F., Guadalajara, Monterrey, Cancun, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta their is a Domecq warehouse that feeds the distributors.
                                                Regarding the restaurants and hotels, Domecq and Cetto are pase' and not regarded as wines to be put on restaurant lists as they were in the past they are to be sold off-premise and less now because of the better quality coming out of places like Chile and Argentina at the same price. You know how the people in Mexico are.....if it is imported, the same price and quality all the better. It is kind of like 30% of all wine sold in the US 20 years ago was Gallo and now. When was the last time you saw Lancers Rose on a wine list or Blue Nun, or Bolla Soave which all used to be standards. Times and tastes change. When I first came to Mexico 22 years ago Liebfraumilch was the rage.........how much to you see now.......not much.
                                                Why, because with this wave of mid priced Mexican wine, Montivina, Casa Madero, some wines from Monte Xanic and Montifiori it upgrades restaurant wine lists. Having the same wine on a wine list for 25 years is in my opinion boring unless it sells well.
                                                Another example ......... in 1991 Lorenzillos in the hotel zone in Cancun had 35 wines on their wine list 50 percent Mexican. Now the wine list is 120 wines large and they have maybe 5%. There are more wine brands being imported in to Mexico than ever and so the pieces in the pie get more numerous,
                                                I agree the space and number of SKU'S has stayed the same and /or grown in off premise accounts but people enjoy more of a selection and Mexican Retailers are getting more bold in their selections and worry about turnover rate....velocity of each SKU in addition to providing new products to keep their customers happy. These are my professional opinions and observations which I could go on for hours about but to what end??
                                                Hence,
                                                I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree.

                                      2. After spending the last four days in Baja, I think I'll have to refer to bigotes' point. For us in Cailfornia, Baja is simply too close and it's so easy to cross the border. That is the place to enjoy the Baja wines with the amazing food.

                                        It'd be nice to have the convenience, but everytime I bring a bottle back I usually have a hard time finding a restaurant to bring it to with no access to Baja cuisinehere in LA. That's just my issue, but down there it just flows. From the G Salinas wine shop in Tijuana to the brand new Tanino's wine bar in Zona Rio, which has an outstanding Baja wine list. Their by the glass offerings are the best in town and it's part of a new night life scene there in the Zona Rio.

                                        In Ensenada you have Manzanilla and Muelle Tres which always have great Baja wines by the glass. Restaurant del Parque has a fantasic wine shop and aslo a fine by the glass selection in the restaurant.

                                        And of course, there are more tasting rooms than ever in the Valle de Guadalupe, new restaurants have opened or renovated, and the Cremaria Los Globos has expanded there shop with a room to enjoy Real del Castillo, queso de cabra, among others to pair with wines. Run down to a winery and bring back a bottle to the shop.

                                        It's so beautiful there right now, so maybe it's just time to head down and have the experience.

                                        1. Hi!
                                          I strongly recommend you to look for the Adobe Guadalupe wines. All of them have names based on archangels (Gabriel, Miguel, Kerubiel...),
                                          These wines are extremely good by themselves or with tasty dishes.
                                          Bottom line, these are not boring or expensive wines.
                                          Cheers!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: alexnexus

                                            I disagree.........Adobe wines are not worth what you pay for them. Full Stop.

                                            1. re: alexnexus

                                              Completely agree with Wineman – mediocre wines at high prices. But then everyone has their own taste. I spoke to someone selling wine in SMA and he just raves about Adobe. What I have found when consumers visit wineries and meet the owners, charmed by the overall experience, the wines taste delicious. I see this happening over and over again.

                                            2. Thanks for the clever topic. I would even of thought about it until I got there. Wine is the last thing on my mind.

                                              1. wineman3 or others:
                                                I will be in Cancun for 7 nights in early June, 2 on my own & 5 at an All-Inclusive resort both of which are in the main Hotel Zone.
                                                Are there any good wine shops near the Hyatt or the Moon Palace?
                                                Which of the wines you recommended would be available at either hotel?
                                                Thanks,
                                                Luigi

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Uncle Luigi

                                                  Well the Hyatt lists sucks to be honest. And Moon Palace does not have a pay list in addition to the all inclusive wines. They may have a little store that sells wine, which you could take into the restaurant, but I do not know for sure. In Cancun if anyone suggests La Europea for buying by the bottle you will be shocked to find out that their warehouses are not climate controled and do not even have air cond. so pay your money and take your chances with them. You can e-mail me and I can make some other suggestions. wineman1455@yahoo.com

                                                  1. re: wineman3

                                                    Anybody can help me. Our company, locate in canada is looking to find good wines distributors in mexico. We have 2 wines producers from europe that gave us exclusives right to sell their wine their.

                                                    thanks

                                                    1. re: danlauz

                                                      Anybody can help me. Our company, locate in canada is looking to find good wines distributors in mexico. We have 2 wines producers from europe that gave us exclusives right to sell their wine their.

                                                      thanks

                                                      1. re: danlauz

                                                        I have no connection to Mexican wine distributors. I just drink Mexican wine when I am in Mexico (and occasionally in Alta California when I find some).

                                                        Most Mexican wine producers are quite small and distribute their products personally. There are a few larger, older wine makers that might be able to help you. I suggest you try contacting L.A. Cetto, Santo Tomas and Domecq. I am not sure they or any others will want to distribute wines that compete with what they produce but it is a good place to start. Domecq is part of an international company and has distribution of many different products in Mexico and elsewhere.

                                                        http://www.lacetto.com/
                                                        http://www.santo-tomas.com/
                                                        http://www.domecq.com.mx/

                                                2. Here's a recent note for a Mexican wine with some cellar time.

                                                  2000 Vina de Liceaga Gran Reserva (Mexico, Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe) 2/6/2011

                                                  Bought this on a trip to the Valle de Guadalupe in 2002. It was tight and unforgiving at the time, but I wanted to buy something and due to its classically structured profile, this seemed to show the most promise. Popped it today with cheese and pate for the Super Bowl. Two hours open, no decant. Sight was cherry red and clear. Lots of sediment, but more red wine solids than dirt. Surprisingly complex, with plum and red fruit flavors, hints of pine resin and a bit of pencil lead. Still well structured, but time has revealed a nice core of sweet fruit and a grippy dry extract. Showed no signs of fading while drunk over a 4-hour period. This was a world class wine that would have gotten lost in a blind BDX tasting. In fact, I liked it a lot more than a 2004 Gravette de Certan that we drank alongside it. Who'd a thunk it?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: JamesSanders

                                                    I enjoy your colorful descriptors -I would like to see your review of Padre Kino...:)

                                                  2. Hola, now you can get Wines from Mexico in the USA, visit this webpage: http://www.winesfrombaja.com/ Saludos Amigos!!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: PeterSierra

                                                      Peter, thanks for the link. But for me, the problem is not so much buying Baja wines in the US (I live in CA and can easily drive to Baja and buy/drink them there) as it is buying Baja wines IN MEXICO. I travel to the Mexican mainland regularly and, over the years, have found it increasingly difficult to find Baja wines in Mexico! To me, this is outrageous. But apparently cheap Chilean and Argentinean wines are flooding the market and, with the cost of transporting Baja wines to the rest of Mexico, Baja just can't compete. Que lastima!

                                                      1. re: dlglidden

                                                        Does the ferry from Pichilingue to Mazatlan carry any cargo?

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          It carries cars but nothing I know of in the way of cargo. And, of course, getting wine from the Valle de Guadalupe to La Paz is problematic because it needs to be refrigerated while in transit. That's why Baja wine costs 2-3 times as much in retail shops in Los Cabos as it does in, say, Ensenada. (And the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan is EXPENSIVE.)

                                                    2. Since this thread has been resurrected, I will mention that the Whole Foods in Hillcrest, San Diego has a large display of Mexican wines at prices that are about the same as the wineries in Baja, including Phil and Eileen Gregory's Vena Cava wines.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                        Costco off Imperial (of all stores in SD) also has a pretty good selection of Baja wines.