Our latest travel tour feature is on an area of Mexico that you would think would be ripe for a flood of foreign visitors: the Mexican wine region around Ensenada.
Mexican wine has never really caught on in a big way north of the border, however, despite ever-greater quality. A lack of promotion and worries about border violence have kept a lot of tourists from crossing by land from San Diego and heading south a bit. So while Napa, Sonoma, and even Oregon get a steady stream of wine enthusiasts coming through every day, Mexico’s wine region on the same coast is still kind of sleepy.
Some would see that as a positive, however, since the wineries are seldom crowded and you can often chat with the owners or winemakers. Hotel rates are reasonable and you don’t have to call two weeks ahead to get a reservation at a top restaurant. The quality of what you get, however, is quite high. Our correspondent found lesser-known Lechuza to be a highlight:
Lechuza wines are elegant and complex, most aged 24 months in barrel, giving them a depth and flavor that none of the other wines we tried could compete with. Everything we sampled, from their creamy Oak Chardonnay to their earthy, dark fruit Nebbiolo, blew us away. Each wine had a personality all its own, just like the wine makers that sat in front of us. Kristen and Ray are the dreamers, planning experiments and thinking big, Patricia is their grounding force, keeping them level-headed and realistic. Adam is the energy power house, working their ideas to fruition. Their wines reflect the spiciness of the pirul trees that grow on their land, the minerality of the thousand-year-old sediment in their soils, and the warmth and softness of their hospitality. It was tough to tear ourselves away.
This was one of the first areas of the new world to see grape vines planted, earlier than the more famous spots to the north. So there are Spanish mission buildings still standing. If you get tired of just eating and drinking wine, you can turn the car west and soon be at the ocean, enjoying a mostly deserted beach.
Take a ride with us, touring the top wineries, hotels, and places to eat in the wine country region of Mexico. And be assured this partial obscurity won’t last forever. With this much sun, good food, and good wine, it’s only a matter of time…
Click here: Eating and Drinking Along Mexico’s Wine Trail