Mexico: Land of Cerveza, Tequila, and… Vino?

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In which I try a red and a white wine from Mexico….

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, and our cherished Mexican restaurants are about to get CA-ROWDED. (A little trick of mine – eat at an Irish pub on Cinco de Mayo and eat at a Mexican restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day). After all, for most Americans, it’s about the spirit of the celebration, not the actual date, right? 😉 Yep, hasn’t failed me yet.

After fantasizing over chips n’ guac for a moment, I stopped to ask myself if I had ever had any MEXICAN WINE before. No, I don’t believe I have, I concluded. So self and I went to and searched for Mexican wine, and then ordered some.

Pack your bags and grab your sunglasses and sandals, we’re heading south of the border for a quick tour! This is for those of us who prefer wine over cocktails, and are curious enough to try a different Mexican beverage. It’s not Cinco de Mayo without Margaritas, claro que sí, but just for fun, since this is a blog dedicated to having fun exploring wine, let’s try some Mexican vino together.

(To whet your appetite, I do have a delectable Margarita recipe coming your way later this week. Watch for it, it’s a beauty!)

Wine #1: L.A. Cetto Chenin Blanc 2021
L.A. Cetto Chenin Blanc

  • $11/bottle at
  • 12% ABV
  • Estate bottled/Valle de Guadalupe/Baja California, México
  • Pale yellow with greenish hues
  • Light body, oily texture
  • Strong, refreshing acidity
  • The nose is lovely and highly aromatic. Aromas and flavors include: honeysuckle, peach, yellow apple, pear, honey, banana, melon

Something I did not know about Chenin Blanc is that it maintains a strong level of acidity, even under warm growing conditions. Normally grapes grown in warm climates develop higher levels of sugars than acids.

This would be stellar with fish tacos or pollo a la crema. I tried it with jalapeño-pickled green beans, brie cheese, and whole grain crackers to cure late-night grumbling stomach woes. Great flavors and pairing!

I was surprised by this little Chenin Blanc – it was very nice!

Wine #2: L.A. Cetto Zinfandel 2020
L.A. Cetto Zinfandel

  • $11/bottle at
  • 13% ABV
  • Estate bottled/Valle de Guadalupe/Baja California, México
  • Medium ruby with magenta tint
  • Light body, medium acidity, dry
  • Tannins are soft, gentle, in the background
  • Moderate finish
  • The nose is really lovely. Initial aromas: peach pie, cinnamon, juicy fresh strawberry, red cherry, watermelon, rhubarb, lemon blossom, pepper, clay. After several days of being open, it showed strong hibiscus, cranberry, and cherry.

My guess before I even tried this was that it would be highly similar to a California red – full body, higher alcohol, lower acid, off dry/residual sugar, and moderate tannins.

Here is what I discovered: this Mexican Zinfandel was absolutely nothing like any other Zinfandel I’ve ever had before. Not even Italian Primitivo, which is genetically similar to Zinfandel.

This was quite different from the dark, inky Zinfandels I’m accustomed to; it lacks the complexity, full body, and moderate tannins. I don’t know if that is an issue with the grapes or the winemaking. Truth be told, even though Zinfandel grapes produce dark, rich wines, their skins are actually rather thin, which should translate to lighter bodied, less tannic wines.

This wine was interesting in that it was so unusual from what I’ve typically experienced in Zinfandel. It does develop more complexity after a few more days of being open, and good on it, it is quite long-lasting without suffering the ill effects of extended bottle opening.

Treat this Zinfandel like a light, juicy, fresh red, and it will make you happy. This Zinfandel could be muy complementario with chile verde. I haven’t tried it, but if you do, let me know if it worked. 🙂

In conclusion, I personally preferred the Chenin Blanc overall, but I would recommend trying both (at only $11/bottle, they are each an easy way to explore Mexican vino). The Zinfandel was fine; it was just unusual for Zinfandel and that was why I had a hard time comparing it. But if you can treat it with an open mind, especially if you’re not a huge California Zinfandel fan, you might actually enjoy this wine. L.A. Cetto also makes a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon. also offers another label from Mexico that is spendier and from a different region, which I have not tried.

Have you ever had Mexican wine? Comment below!

Nat Geo Wines of the World


3 thoughts on “Mexico: Land of Cerveza, Tequila, and… Vino?

  1. Pingback: Prickly Pear Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo (and Beyond) | The Rambling Vine

  2. Pingback: Say “Kia Ora” for International Sauvignon Blanc Day | The Rambling Vine

  3. Pingback: Table for 12: Dishing Up Cooking and Community | The Rambling Vine

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