I’ve recently written about the up and coming wine region in Central Mexico. It’s an area loosely defined as in and around Queretaro, San Miguel Allende, Tequisquiapan and Ezekiel Montes.
20 years ago this area wasn’t even on a wine lovers map. But you could’ve said that about the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California too and look how that area has developed.
I visited three local wineries along with Ed Draves of Premier Wines and Spirits in Orchard Park, NY. Ed, with over 20 years experience in the wine industry, has been traveling with me in Mexico for years learning about mezcal and is my go to guy for tastings, both in the mezcal realm and with wine.
I asked Ed to keep detailed tasting notes of his time in Queretaro so we could bring you the same high quality reviews of wine that you’ve come to expect from us with mezcal.
Today, we’re looking at the wines of Freixenet or Finca Sala Vivé. Freixenet markets their wines under a variety of names including Gama Sala Vivé, Gama Viña Doña Dolores, Gama Petillant and Gama Vivante.
Freixinet winery is one of the original two holdovers from the earliest days of wine and spirits in this area. They are backed by an international conglomerate out of Spain, but don’t let that color your opinion of their wines. They are surprisingly good at what they do.
We let them know ahead of time we were coming and wanted a tour and a tasting of some of their wines. Normally a person will get the same tour we got, and a tasting with a “sommelier” showing off three of their wines. In our case, we had a chance to sample 9 different varieties.
Here are Ed’s thoughts on some of the wines available through Freixinet in Queretaro…
Merlot Rosé… A beautiful dry rose made from handpicked grapes, fermented in stainless steel yielding a medium deep pink color with a nose of strawberries and heather – the notes carried onto the palate where they are met with a wonderful mouthwatering acidity and cranberry finish. A wonderful Rosé to serve with a lighter cuisine (perfect for a fresh garden salad) yet flavorful enough to enjoy on its own on a warm summer day.
Cuatro Regiones… An interesting blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah grapes aged for 6 months in French and American Oak barrels. A dark red with very bright fruit in the mouth, showing flavors of oak, raspberry with a prominent blackberry note with mild, silky tannins. Hearty enough to enjoy with red meats and delicious stews.
Merlot Gran Reserva… A delicious 100% Merlot aged 16 months in the barrel coupled with 16 months in the bottle pre-release. A fantastic example of the potential of what can be done in Queretaro. Deep red in color with very well integrated oak notes and an earthy leather and chocolate exclamation. Dry tannins make this wine a perfect accompaniment for a summer barbecue or the weekend steakout!
Sparkling Wines… Made from hand harvested grapes, these Sparkling wines are all done using the Traditional (formerly known as the “Champagne Method”) Method- complete with (mostly automated) Riddling, Disgorging and Dosage. This is a quality “sparkling wine” house, complete with a 25 meter deep cellar to ensure aging and production at the perfect, consistent temperature.
Every Sparkling wine I tried was recommendable and great quality.
Brut Nature Chardonnay… Pretty, straw color with tight bubbles, showing notes of pineapple, pear and vibrant green apples carrying on through the finish. This wine was built to enjoy with food, try it with the salad course of a special meal.
Semiseco… Light in color and very fruity in nature with a good finish. This selection probably has the widest appeal of their sparkling wines. Nice mousse like feel with a long finish. Perfect on its own as a “welcome” to your next party or event and has enough sweetness to pair with a great dessert.
Dulce… A very light color with loads of bubbles. Pretty apricot notes tickle the nose and are met with over ripe, juicy pear flavors. For a wine this sweet it shows remarkable balance with the bubbles and acidity. Enjoy as a “Dessert in a Glass” or with a plate of ripe, fresh fruits.
Pinot/Chard Brut… A nice straw color with medium density, fruity aromas and great acidity that counters the bright fruits in the mouth. A dry offering with a finish of green apples, this is a “Champagne Lovers” sparkling wine that would stand up to high quality wines on the world stage.