As a longtime wine lover, and now resident of this amazing town, it was exciting to discover that San Miguel de Allende and the Guanajuato region of Mexico are now not only producing wine but are producing good to great wines.
Although a small but emerging industry in Guanajuato, Mexico, it places one more feather in the hat of San Miguel de Allende’s already well rounded cultural scene, and a perfect addition to the new and growing gastronomy scene.
My first wine tour in San Miguel de Allende took us north from San Miguel to just outside of Dolores de Hidalgo, only 30 minutes from Centro, to the area’s first winery – Cuna de Tierra, which means Cradle of the Earth. Although it has a somewhat understated entrance, upon arrival the rows of grapes along the roadside made it obvious we had arrived at a large vineyard. Once inside the gates, we drove to the winery and bodega through the vast vineyards, noting dark purple clusters hanging on the well manicured vines…harvest season has arrived.
The wine tour began on an old fashioned ‘covered’ wagon drawn behind a tractor. Our tour guide Roberto was welcoming and friendly. Beginning back at the front entrance, we stopped and learned that the winery has 40 hectares in total, 15 of which are being used for other types of crops such as olive trees and ‘table’ grapes. The farm has grown grapes for 20 years though only 5 years ago began producing wines commercially.
Located in the middle of the property is a 2-story tower, with a dry crisp Rose in hand we walked up to the roof top to survey the beautifully green vineyards and the farm as a whole. Here our tour guide explained the history of the winery, the owners and how other crops are grown to help offset costs of the winery itself. Additionally he explained that in 2013, a famous Mexican architect came to the winery and they built a new small but unique winery facility and bodega.
After touring the vineyards our next stop was the wine making facilities where the state of the art stainless steel tanks, the wine press and barrels are found. Around the corner and down in a wine cave of sorts, is the cool, oak barrel cellar, with its distinct and familiar scent. Using only oak from France, the States and Uruguay, we saw where the first 12 months of the wines are stored and matured. Each grape varietal is stored separately in the barrels and then when ready, the winemaker blends them according to the qualities of that vintage. After bottling the wines, they remain in the bottle for 12 months before being released to the public.
Our tour included a wonderful food and wine pairing so we sat down in an attractive and modern tasting area with a bar and a kitchen tucked in behind. Having had the opportunity to attend many upscale wine and food pairings over the past 20 years, what Cuna De Tierra offered was fresh, original and frankly surprisingly fantastic! Not to mention that portions of wine and food were very generous.
The crisp white 100% Semillon was paired with a light goat cheese on a toasted baguette and topped with thinly sliced salmon and dill. Outstanding pairing and recently awarded a silver at the 2015 Bacchus International wine festival.
Next onto the Torre de Tierra, an 80% Tempranillo wine with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon to round out the vintage. It was recently awarded 3 different accolades at the Bacchus wine festival and was worth every bit of the $16. This was paired with a toasted baguette, olive tapenade and topped with a perfectly salty prosciutto.
The Cuna de Tierra signature wine was next on the menu and it consists primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon but blended with Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Merlot (much like a Bordeaux blend.) Fuller bodied with a bigger more tannic finish showed the wine has many good years ahead of it to mature and improve even further.
The fresh mozzarella cheese and farm grown tomatoes and herbs served alongside the wine was a superb pairing.
The last ‘Tinto’ was the 2013 Nebbiolo, a grape which originally came from north-west Italy and now has found ideal growing conditions in Guanajuato. The wine is softened with the addition of Malbec and Tempranillo and won a gold medal at the French Citadelle’s du Vin wine competition in 2015 and a Silver at the 2015 Bacchus event.
With this wine we were served a wine lover’s dream: 4 different types of cheese, with grapes and a freshly baked baguette… These rustic, simple samplings delighted our palates in every way possible, leaving us completely satiated and happy!
For $950, we highly recommend the tour and food pairing as it was worth every peso. We left the winery content, with 6 bottles of wine under our arm and smiles on our faces.