Sage advice when traveling to certain parts of Mexico and then there are always the Margaritas. They are smooth and they say that if you drink enough of them you will see diamonds on the rim of the glass. Of course, this is just before you keel face first into your chili verde.
If you find yourself at the mercy of a Mexican wine list, there are two names worth remembering;
Located 45 minutes south of Ensenada, this historic and beautiful like winery like most Mexican wineries has roots back to Franciscans and the late 1700’s. As a frequent traveler to Baja, I have consumed more of this product then I care to admit and have seen it go from barely palatable to very presentable in the past 20 yrs. Not hard to figure when you learn that their winemaker for much of this period was none other than Dimitri Tshelistcheff, son of the famed Napa Valley winemaker of the 60’s and 70’s. Legend has it that the elder Andre Tshelistcheff a Russian émigré to United States first introduced the grape clones that would grow well in the sultry Mexican climate in the 60’s and even helped the Mexicans refine their production of Tequila, a product for which he also had a strong affection.
Pronounced “Monte Zaneesh”, is located in Baja Guadalupe Valley. This is quaint little winery which uses very modern Bordeaux inspired techniques was founded in 1834 by the Dominican fathers at the Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Now it is jointly owned by the Chalone Wine Group of Napa and Baron Erick Rothschild of Bordeaux. What would inspire Rothschild to get involved in a backward little winery in a region where the temperature ranges from hot to hellish? Well, I’m sure it not the money. Making quality wines in the area which many would fine hostile to the wine making effort, poor quality grapes and low yields, is the same as a bicycle racer loading his bike down with bricks. If you can make wine here, you can make wine anywhere and learn a lot while doing it.
You will find these wines very pleasant drinking, well structured, especially the reds and reasonably priced. And, you will be able to get up the next morning.