Regional Spotlight: Baja Barbera

Staff Writer
Mexican wines with serious chops.
Regional Spotlight: Baja Barbera

It's the time of year when throngs of Americans flow south of the border to spend a week dispensing with everyday responsibilities and normal attire. But if you visit Tijuana for your spring break, you needn't settle for warm beer and tequila. You're about an hour's drive from Mexican wine country, due south.

Napa it's not, but Mexican wines do have some serious chops since foreign investment in developing top-quality vineyards began in the '80's and '90's. The hotspot for Mexican wine is the northern Baja Peninsula, which has a maritime climate perfect for growing red-wine grapes.

Mexico mostly produces big varieties such as Syrah and Cabernet, but you'll also find some Zinfandel, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Tempranillo. The wines pair well with Mexico's big, bold, spicy foods.

If you stay stateside, you can still get a taste of Mexico's wines; some do make their way across the border (though with considerably greater difficulty and expense than illegal products, it would seem). Do a little Googling, and you should be able to find some reds for $20 and under, from wineries such as Monte Xanic, Chateau Camou and L.A. Cetto, to name a few.

Have you tasted Mexican wines? Share your experiences below.