Discover more from Mexico Listo
Fermented Grape Juice In The News
Move over, France
Today's article is about wine. I know nothing about wine. Well, not literally nothing. I know that there are a few colors, like white and red and various shades in between. And I'm familiar with words like Cabernet, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Beyond that, my "expertise" grinds to a halt. But one of the purposes of Mexico Listo is to celebrate various aspects of Mexico's culture, geography, and cuisine. And some recent news from the wine world (which I know nothing about) is worth celebrating.
So apparently, there are people out there in the world who take wine very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they occasionally like to hold competitions wherein expert drinkers of wine are called upon to do things like smell corks, bottles, and glasses partially filled with wine. They also drink this wine, or at least slosh it around in their mouths a bit. All this to determine which wines are subjectively better than other wines.
Thanks for reading Mexico Listo! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
One such competition is the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which is a French way of saying "Brussels World Competition". 2023 was the 30th year of this international wine competition. It was held in Poreč, Croatia, because this competition moves to a different local every year (so I'm not sure why it has Brussels in its name, but it does so let's just accept it and move on).
So why am I talking about a Belgian competition with a French name that was held in Croatia? Because this past May, a Mexican wine won first place. Cenzontle Blanco, a white wine (seriously, the word "blanco" should have tipped you off) from the Valle de Guadalupe region of Mexico, claimed the highest score of all the other white wines from other places in the world that grow grapes and turn them into wine.
Time for a little background
Valle de Guadalupe is a region in Baja California Norte, about 90 miles south of the international border with San Diego. While there are several wine producing regions in Mexico, Valle de Guadalupe is (again, subjectively - everything in the wine world is subjective) the most famous and acclaimed. Mexican wine makers have been commercially producing wine in Valle de Guadalupe since the 1980s1, and the area is popular with wine enthusiasts who like to visit the many vineyards in the area. Of course, wine is usually served alongside food, and many of these vineyards have fine restaurants as well. Even though I know nothing about wine (have I mentioned that?), visiting the Valle de Guadalupe is high on my list of "things I want to do that I haven't done yet", and even higher on my list of "things I want to do on a bicycle that I haven't done yet on a bicycle". Because wine aside, I do like food. And bicycles. And riding bicycles through fields of grapes.
Back to our regularly scheduled program
The Cenzontle Blanco (Cenzontle Blanco, by the way, is Spanish for White Mockingbird, hence the mockingbird on the wine's label) that won the "Grand Gold Medal" is a 2019 vintage. It is composed of 20% Chardonnay, 70% Sauvignon blanc, and 10% Palomino (I hope that doesn't refer to the horse). The vineyard that produces this wine is Finca El Empecinado, and according to their website you can get a bottle of their award-winning wine for MX 600, or about 34 USD at today's exchange rate of 17.5 to 1.
Finca El Empecinado's entry was one of 7,504 competitors from 50 countries in its category. This is not the first time that a Finca El Empecinado wine has one first place in the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles: they have won twice before: once with a red wine, and once with a white. The fact that they have won for both a red and a white makes them the only competitor ever to have won this prestigious award for both a red and a white wine.
Mexican wines in general made a very good showing at this year's competition: in total, 85 Mexican wines were awarded medals. Nice to see Mexico's wine producers taking the stage at international competitions. It will make next year's event - which will be held in early June in Guanajuato, Mexico - all the more exciting.
Wine has been produced in this area since the early 1800s, but it was produced at small scales by Dominican priests, and not intended for commercial distribution.