Mexican cuisine is renown throught the world. Tequila and mezcal also claim quite a bit of the spotlight–and for good reason!
But Mexican wine?
Some people scoff at the thought. However, those people have clearly not tried a quality Mexican wine. Fortunately, there are plenty to pick from. With Mexico’s climate being ideal for wine regions, vineyards are popping up all over the country–many producing excellent wines.
Here, we’re off to explore Querétaro, about two hours north of Mexico City.
The wine from Viñedos Azteca is hands-down my favorite from Querétaro. Recently, we opened up a bottle of Pretexto, which is just labeled as a “mixture of red wine”. Normally, I would just pass over that bottle. (Confession: I’m a little snobby and like to see Cabernet Suavignon or Merlot clearly labeled on the bottle. None of this generic “red wine” nonsense. I usually interpret that to mean “substandard”.)
I was so wrong on this one! Thank goodness the Hubs bought it!
That bottle in itself merits another visit to Querétaro.
Beyond this surprisingly good “red wine mix”, they do have straight-up varietals, and a number of specific combinations. In general, the Azteca makes excellent wine. Viñedos Azteca also gives tours on the weekends. They also boast a stable full of horses and host charrerías and other equestrian-related events. (People from Querétaro appear to be a wee bit obsessed with horses!)
If you happen to be visiting during the week, give them at call, arrange a meeting, and they’ll be happy to show you around and sell you some wine!
Freixnet is a Spanish multinational business, with wineries all over the world. Because of so many locations, they specialize in each region. For example, in Querétaro they have decided that central Mexico is ideal for sparkling wine. Therefore, Freixnet’s Queretaro winery’s production is 80% sparkling wine.
Sparkling wine just isn’t my favorite. They do it well, though. If you’re looking for red and white wines, they do grow, make, and sell them at Freixnet Querétaro. But they do excel in the sparkling wine. They play to their strengths, and do it well.
Another area where Freixnet really excels in in Querétaro is wine tourism. They offer a number of different tours, with very professional and knowledgeable tour guides. They offer tastings and wine pairings. They have concerts and five-course dinners. They are a well-oiled machine.
If you haven’t visited many wineries before, this should be your first stop.
But just because Freixnet is crisp, clean, and professional does not mean that the other wineries aren’t worth a visit. On the contrary, the smaller, more laid-back, friendlier style by smaller vineyards is just a typically more Mexican attitude. That’s the point–the wines here are Mexican, bottling up a distinctive bit of Mexican terroir.
All that said, La Redonda is the largest vineyard in Querétaro with more than 100 hectacres. They are able to offer tours every day of the week (check the schedule here). They have an intimate tasting room, but also offer tables outside, overlooking the vineyard. It’s a great place to kick back, grab a hearty snack, and happily contemplate life. (Mercifully, they also have a decent playground for smaller children.)
The Wine and Cheese trail wouldn’t be complete without the cheese. While we love cheese, we haven’t been very adventurous. We just go to the Hostal de los Quesos, and go a little hog wild, buying up fancy-pants cheeses that are normally difficult to find in Mexico. Gouda, guyére, asagio, provolone–they’ve got it. The fact that these cheeses are made in Mexico is a huge bonus.
A few days in Querétaro’s wine country is a marvelous escape from daily life. Combine the vineyard tours with an overnight stay in the town of Bernal, and you’re in for a memorable and relaxing getaway!
Which other vineyards in Querétaro are worth a visit? Let me know in the comments section, and I’ll start planning my next trip!
Grape photo for pinned image by David Köhler on Unsplash.
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