Spanish conquistadors planted the first wine grapes in Mexico in 1525, making Mexico the oldest wine producing country in the Americas. Mexico enjoyed a thriving wine economy for 150 years until 1699 when the King of Spain forbid the production of wine in Mexico to continue (it was rumored that Mexican wines were better than the Spanish wines).
Fortunately for the new world, vines were propogated throughout the Americas during the Mexican wine era. We have Mexico to thank for introducing wine to the United States and South America. We also have Mexican labor to thank for helping the United States produce all the wine made today.
With such a long history, it is sad to see that the Mexican wine economy is currently so fragile. In searching for a bottle of wine to try this week, I could not find a readily available bottle of Mexican wine to try in New York City. New Mexico, which was a part of Mexican territory until 1855, happens to be home to a great winery and is our closest link to Mexico's great winemaking history.
Gruet Winery is responsible for putting New Mexico back on the wine map. Since their first release of sparkling wine in 1989, Gruet has seen tremendous success. The Brut NV is a blend of several vintages, made in the traditional methode champenoise style, using the holy trinity of champagne blends: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Dry and Crisp, with a hint of green apple, this is a delicious wine and a great value. It is probably not the best pairing with most Mexican food but it would be a great starter for any meal.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Stores: PJ Wine $11.99 (4898 Broadway between 204th and 205th Street), Union Square Wines and Spirits $12.99 (33 Union Square West), Shawn Wines and Spirits $12.99 (141 7th Ave between Garfield St. and Carroll St.), Acker & Merril (160 W 72nd St. between Amsterdam and Columbus), Appellation Wine & Spirits $13.99 (156 10th Ave between 19th & 20th), Soho Wines & Spirits $13.99 (461 W. Broadway between Prince and Houston). Although I couldn't verify this, I am pretty sure it is also available at Trader Joe's (138 E. 14th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue)