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. ...

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Bibendum’s Winestock

I was invited to Bibendum’s annual trade tasting the other day. They call it, rather playfully, “The Winestock Festival” and brand it like a music festival. It even lasts 2 days. The difference being that the “acts” are the wines in their portfolio. There was a main stage, a green room, VIP Lounge and even a Media “tent”. Very clever, they even handed out backstage “passes” that you wore around your neck to identify you as a guest. On the “main stage” there were over 100 wines to try, and believe me, I sipped, swished and spit my way through them all. By the end, palate fatigue had set in and I was ready to head downstairs for the VIP Lounge and Sweet Sensations – my favourite, dessert wines. But before I tried any of the wines on the main  stage, I hit the Krug Showcase stage. The only negative about drinking vintage champagne is that it  just ruins me for anything else. And Krug just makes you want to slap your mama, it’s soooo darn good. The complexities, flavours and aromas show what great champagne is all about. It was a vertical tasting so I tried the Krug 1998, 1985 and the 1981 (bottled in magnum), as well as the non-vintage Krug and their Krug rosé. For me, the Krug 1981 was by far the best. It was so delicious that I just couldn’t bring myself to spit it out. A golden sparkler with a heavenly nose of hazelnuts, baking bread and toffee. I couldn’t wait to drink it. The flavours were an awesome exposition of hazelnuts, nutty bread and caramel with an amazing length of a finish. The bubbles just served to heighten my drinking pleasure. I almost wasn’t able to tear myself away but tear myself away I did. I did make my way through the wines on the main stage and in the next few days I will be posting my thoughts on some of the standout wines that either...

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