They’ve been growing vinifera vines in Mexico since the 1500s and at one point, the King of Spain decreed that each settler would have to plant 1000 vines for each 100 natives ‘granted’ to his lands. That’s a lot of vines. Not to mention a lot of ‘natives’.
Fast forward to 1699 when the then Spanish King changed his mind and declared Mexican wines were no longer welcome as imports back to the homeland. This effectively ‘protected’ the Mexican wine industry into oblivion. For a long time between 1699 and the 1980s there was little in the way of quality wine produced there. Today, most of the grapes grown are used for Domecq’s El Presidente brandy or are simply enjoyed as table grapes.
Baja California is located on the western coast, directly south of California. It benefits from the same Mediterranean climate with warm, arid summers and mild winters as well as some of those infamous Pacific mist fogs. Irrigation is a necessity here and sometimes it’s over done.
The Baja focuses on a few varieties, including Colombard and Italian grapes such as Sangiovese and Bonarda, but this example is the most popular Petite Sirah, aka Durif.
The wine is purple with a youthful nose showing aromas of red fruit (raspberries, red currants and pomegranate), some green grass and vanilla.
The palate is dry with medium plus acidity, medium plus ripe and grippy tannins, and alcohol that is a little high. Flavours include more raspberry, green strawberry and pomegranate with clove spice, white pepper and vanilla. The finish is less than expected.
This wine is WSET Acceptable. There is a lot of alcohol on the nose initially and the flavours are very green; perhaps this vintage was a little wet, or it was picked early, or maybe there was a little too much agua used… The tannins are astringent and young as well. The fruit is concentrated, but not balanced with the alcohol or the rest of the components. Meh…
A simple wine that went better with lasagna than it fared on its own.
Drink now if you have to; not suitable for ageing.