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


Happy 11th Birthday to The Rambling Vine!

Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

The Rambling Vine turns 11 today! I published my very first post here on 4/20/12 (purely coincidental date), lamenting the imagery of the word “blog.” Now, likewise, I can’t bring myself to use the word “blogaversary” – such a tangled, ugly word, am I right? We’ll stick with birthday, or anniversary. 🙂
I began this website as a place to record memorable wines and as a creative playground for my writing alter ego. I am having so much fun getting back into blog life; crafting posts and sharing about the special and interesting wines I have come across. Those of you reading along, THANK YOU, especially those of you who have been patiently waiting while I raised babies and was kinda busy. Sticking to a schedule has definitely helped keep me consistent.

In honor of hitting blog adolescence (I’m sure this will be much easier than human adolescence), I am sharing with you a red wine that I’ve not simply loved and been impressed with, but a wine that is in a whole other category unto itself. Everything I desire in a great wine is here in spades. I can’t recommend this enough.

Like adolescence, this wine is powerful with a lot going on, but unlike adolescence, it is balanced and knows who it is.

Here you go:
Ancient Peaks Zinfandel Paso Robles Santa Margarita Ranch

Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel Santa Margarita Ranch

The zin that stole my heart! Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel Santa Margarita Ranch.

$18/bottle on
Full body, 15% ABV
This was a wine that originally came home with us from La Conner Sips, a wine shop in one of our favorite small towns to get away. My initial thoughts were that this was as close to red wine perfection as you can get! Everything is in perfect balance and harmony – good fruit, good strength, sweetness/dryness, etc. Stunning how excellent this wine is.

Here are the winemaker notes:
“The 2017 Zinfandel presents bright boysenberry aromas with hints of sandalwood and vanilla. A juicy, jammy texture is loaded with generous flavors of wild raspberry, black cherry, plum, mocha and cedar. Spicy black pepper notes join mouthwatering acidity on a beautifully balanced finish. The juicy, spicy character of the 2017 Zinfandel is a perfect match for fine comfort foods, including grilled chicken flatbread, Italian sausages, Santa Maria-style tri-tip and Pepper Jack cheeseburgers.”

Wilfred Wong of described the 2017 vintage as “an explosion on the palate” and that this wine is “not for the faint of heart.”

Don’t let that description of a wild pre-teen freak you out. It still boasts exceptionally balanced richness and depth.

While I originally tried the 2017 vintage and that is out of stock on, the 2020 vintage is available on through my affiliate link here.

Here are the tasting notes for the 2020 vintage. It’s still Zinfandel from the same vineyard and winery, so very similar:

“The 2020 Zinfandel makes an immediate statement with bright, jammy aromas of raspberry, cinnamon spice and vanilla cream. Luscious, rounded flavors of red cherry, raspberry and blackberry unfold across a beautifully weighted mouthfeel, all under- pinned by deeper hints of roast coffee and black pepper. Smooth, juicy acidity brings impressive balance to a uniquely elegant finish.”

Words fail me. I don’t know how to stress how exceptional this wine is, other than the fact that I chose it as my blog anniversary celebration wine.

Grab a bottle, it’s only $18! And raise a glass to your favorite wine blog. 😉

Happy 11th birthday, Rambling Vine! You’re turning into an incredible young blog and I can’t wait to see what your adolescence holds in store for you. ❤

(And by the way, it’s time we had some “talks.”)

Strange But True: Bacon Wine

Wine can be made from so many things. While grapes are the number one choice, and for good reason, that hasn’t stopped adventuresome spirits from using wild ingredients or attempting creative and strange flavor combinations over the centuries. But until now, no one has dared try what could be the next big thing, based on two current popular foodie faves… bacon and red wine. But someone has. And all I have to say is… wow.

I was lucky to meet the owners of Swine Cellars this past weekend, Wilbur and Petunia, whose production facility is located out in Woodinville Farm Country, which is right next to Woodinville Wine Country. They are so cheerful and rosy cheeked, squealing all the time, you know they are having a good time and enjoying their fair share of the product (although they do snort constantly when they laugh… which gets old). Anyway….

I got to sip on the unctuous concoction while interviewing them this past weekend. “So, how were you inspired to make bacon wine? And how exactly is it made?”

“Well, we thought one day, how can we offer a totally unique product in the world of wine?” said Wilbur. “Something revolutionary, daring, that no one else has done before? And then, it hit us… bacon wine! Bacon has skyrocketed to ultimate food status in the gastronomic universe, and we all know that this is the day and age of great wine, craft beer, and small batch spirits. We know bacon vodka has already been done, and to great acclaim, but we though, why not try bacon wine?”

“And so we did!” chimed in Petunia. “We found an exceptional Zinfandel grape that is grown by a small lot producer out in eastern Washington. We were looking for a dark rich smoky red wine with berry notes. It pairs perfectly with bacon flavors.”

“Which brings us to how we incorporate the bacon flavor into the wine,” said Wilbur. “The secret’s out… we add bacon grease (and no, we won’t tell you the percentage) to the wine. It brings out the flavors of the wine unlike anything else on earth. Plus, the acidity of the wine naturally helps break down the fat of the bacon.”

“Where do you source your bacon grease?” I ask, eating some complimentary oyster crackers, as I’m starting to feel the effects of the wine on an empty stomach.

They both blush. “Well, guess we can’t keep it a secret for very long,” said Petunia. “We actually get it from ourselves. We’ve shed a ton of weight during this project… even our kids have been willing to help out. We’ve never been this in shape our whole lives!”

“Wow, how resourceful and sustainable are you guys!” I exclaimed. “This could be the wave of the future, using what you have on hand to enhance already great wine!

“Exactly!” squealed Wilbur and Petunia. “Thank you so much for helping spread the word about our bacon wine. The marketing has been a challenge, so we need all the help and exposure we can get.”

“My pleasure,” I said, wiping my mouth with a napkin. “I’m always looking for innovative new wines to feature on my blog, and this is perfect.”

So, dear readers, if you’re looking for a unique flavor adventure, go visit Swine Cellars out in Woodinville. Make sure you tell them the Rambling Vine sent you.