$5 Rose from Mexico wins “Best of” at San Diego International

Monte Xanic’s Winery from Baja California, Mexico gained some critical acclaim recently at the San Diego International Wine Competition.  Their “Calixa de Monte Xanic” Grenache Rosado (Rose) won the top prize for Rose’s “Best of Show Rose”.  While winning the top prize may  be considered exciting by itself, the fact that this wine retails for $5 a bottle is sure to create a lot of excitement.

The name Xanic comes from the Cora Indians and means “flower which blooms after the first rain”. Monte Xanic was founded by 5 friends in 1987, just after Mexico opened up its markets to international wine. Even though many local producers were unable to survive the general perception that all imports were better Monte Xanic boldly pushed forward and today is widely considered one of Mexico’s best.

Monte Xanic is located in what is considered Mexico’s Napa Valley – Valle de Guadalupe.  Located near the town of Ensenada on the northern tip of the Baja Peninsula, about 85 miles south of San Diego.  Vineyards and wineries in the area date back to the 17th century and were producing wine of such great quality, that, as the story goes, the Spanish government decided it was a major threat and banned all production.  Luckily renegade monks continued to produce wine and according to historians in the area, much of Napa’s stock originated south of the border.  Valle de Guadalupe boasts no less than 17 boutique wineries nestled in amongst its lush rolling hills

And now the technicals on the award winning Rose!

Monte Xanic “Calixa”  Rosado, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico

Grapes: 100% Grenache

Production: “partial fermentation in stainless steel, with partial maceration”

Alcohol: 13%

Price: $5

I haven’t had an opportunity to taste this wine yet, so I am referring to the winery literature for the tasting notes:

“Nose: delicious red cherry bouquet, wild strawberries and red grape fruit.  Mouth: balanced with slight acidity, and a flavor of sun drenched ripe citric fruits, very fresh and vivacious.”

It’s always interesting to me to balance the locavore philosphy with a quest for new things from less known regions.  I am going to be on a quest to find this wine.  Have you tried any Mexican wines? Have you tried this wine?

Xanic Winery Website

More on Valle de Guadalupe

It’s Okay to Drink Pink!

It’s Okay to Drink Pink

By Sandy Wasserman

As temperatures rise, we all look for ways to cool down. As wine drinkers one option is to drink pink….I mean rose. Often stereotyped as being too sweet like white zinfandel or to feminine for real men to drink, roses have had a rebirth over the last few years and the trend continues to grow. Wine writers often like to give some press to roses in time for summer usually mentioning their favorites. Often the most widely drank wine in France rose’s here in the USA seem to get the biggest push in October as it’s National Breast Cancer awareness month and wine companies donate a portion of rose sale’s to cancer research charities. Definitely a good thing, but by October most people are feeling cooler temps and thinking about bigger reds.

Rose’s are made in the same way as white zin in that various red grapes are used and the skins are only slightly pressed so all the skin color and tannins are aren’t included in the juice. You still get the complexity and character of the grape, but not so heavy a wine. Crisp and dry, with a chill on it they can be quite refreshing on a summer day paired with a salad or lighter fare. They can also be enjoyed by its self as a great sipper. Nowadays rose are coming from all over the world and in most red varietals. How about a rose of Malbec from Argentina or Sangiovese rose from Tuscany. In the Rhone region of France and in regions along the Mediterranean rose usually consist of blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre. Sparkling rose’s also are pleasant if your prefer bubbles. As for prices, I’ve rarely seen arose above $15.

If you’re walking down your store aisle or perusing a restaurant wine list looking for a rose, you may only find the token placement. Although people are getting on the bandwagon most buyers don’t feel there is enough demand to support more than one rose, if that. That is of course unless you frequent an establishment where the buyer is a fan of rose and wants to expose people to the excitement that rose offer, not just in the summer but year round as well. Never be afraid to ask for a rose if you don’t see one as most buyers are looking for the demand to increase their selection. So as your shopping for wines to stock your fridge for the dog days of summer remember to say to yourself, “It’s OK to drink pink”.