On Wednesday night Bibendum Wines & Wahaca got together a group of wine experts for a food and wine pairing with Thomasina Miers of Wahaca and Hugo D’Acosta – a Mexican wine pioneer.
Mexican wine to most people is a new discovery and for me it was an incredibly enjoyable one. I am not a “wino” at all and whether a bottle is good is measured by me wanting another glass or not but I found it very interesting to match it with food and enjoyed combining the flavours.
I am also very interested in anything mexican (obviously!) and the whole history of wine and the culture around it I found fascinating.
Hugo gave Wahaca a book on The Wine Valleys of Mexico which are based in Baja California – a very beautiful dramatic region of Mexico just near the border to the US. I am actually planning to go there in February so will definitely have a lot more to say and show on it while out there.
This book gives a little history of the origin of Wine in Mexico with it starting back in the 16th Century when the vines were brought over by the Spaniards and renewed themselves – achieving their own personality and essence. But some grapes did actually already exist in Mexico before the Spaniards arrived – a wild or Cimarron grape from which a juice was extracted and which the Aztecs mixed with honey and fruits to make a beverage called acachul which can still be found in Mexico using the traditional recipe. These grapes were not able to be made into wine though so the Spaniards quickly planted the European grapes Vitis vinifera and due to unbeatable conditions the vines were to be found in many different regions.
By 1595, the enormous production of grapes in Mexico became a big problem for the Spanish winemakers and also the owners and managers of the merchant fleets in Cadiz saw their wine producing business diminish so pressure was put on the King to pass a law which forbade more vines to be planted in Mexico. Many vineyards were burnt down as well.
This led later on in 1848 to Baja California being the centre for wine growing in Mexico as it was at this time not part of Mexico due to the war between the USA and Mexico and therefore enabled the missionaries to plant their vines without the threat of the law.
Can’t wait to find out more about this when I meet up with Hugo in Baja in a months time.
The wine experts at Bibendum have written a more detailed tasting blog on the wines which has got a couple of awesome videos in it as well.
It was a really great evening with Tommi creating dishes such as this delicous fresh ceviche and Hugo providing a wonderful selection of interesting and enjoyable wines.
To taste a very good example of Mexican wines come to Wahaca where Estacion Porvenir is served at the moment which is the only one of these wines available in the UK at the moment.
Here is the menu for the evening – we hope to see many of these wines over in the UK soon.
Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
Scallops ceviche with tortilla chips
Piedra de Sol 2008
Steak Taco w. cheese
Estacion Porvenir 2007
Chorizo cheese Quesadilla
Ensamble Arenal 2007
If you want to read more about Mexican wine have a look at these great posts:
Bibendum’s Mexican Wine Night at Wahaca
Mexico’s Valley of Wine
A Toast to Mexico’s Undiscovered Wine Country
Trailblazers named Mexican Wine Persons of the Year
: Friday, 8 January 2010