Mexican Wine – Estapor Venir Mezcla Tinto ’07
Yes, that’s right, the heading says Mexican wines and that’s exactly what I had the other day. Now, don’t go pulling funny faces, there is such a thing and it’s not bad. People used to snicker about English wine but whose laughing now that English sparkling wines have shown that they can compete with the best sparkling wines that France or any other country has to offer and have won numerous awards to prove it.
Estapor Venir is a joint venture between Bibendum and Hugo D’Acosta,
a Mexican winemaker who makes wine for Casa de Piedra, a well known and respected Mexican winery where his wines are sold for $70 per bottle en primeur in Mexico and California. The idea behind Estapor Venir is to create sustainable viticulture in the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California.
The valley is situated at altitude and benefits from the cool Pacific breezes that run through it. I love the fact that they use as many natural resources as possible, and both the main winery and the winery they built in the local village are constructed from local wood and adobe. The village winery was built so that the villagers could learn wine making, giving them a means to support themselves independently. Because many of the villagers are illiterate, they leave handprints on each of their barrels as a way of identifying the wine they have made.
All that is great – social responsibility, sustainable viticulture – but what about the wine? I had the chance to try their first offering, the Estapor Venir Mezcla Tinto 2007 at the Bibendum‘s wine show the other day and I have to say I was quite impressed. My first reaction was not to spit it out, although since I was at a tasting, that’s what I did, but only after carefully thinking about what was in my mouth. The Mezcla is, appropriately enough, a blend (since that’s the translation of the word into English) of petit syrah, cabernet sauvignon, barbera and zinfandel. Quite full bodied, a deep, intense purple/black colour. Loads of prunes and blackberry jam assailed my nose. It was soft and jammy, candied black fruits and prunes were most prevalent on the palate. It reminded me of California merlot, a great party wine that would go down well with any crowd. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.
The Mexican wine industry is still in it’s nascent stages but I think that they are definitely an up and coming wine region to watch in the next 5 to 10 years. So let’s give Mexico a chance. I mean, they do make great tequila.
- Estapor Venir is being launched in the UK in November 2008.
photos of Baja and Hugo courtesy of Kirstie Papworth