A record number of winemakers and distillers took part in this year’s edition of the Mexico Selection of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, held this year in Aguascalientes.
A total of 517 wines and spirits from 15 Mexican states were sampled by an international panel of judges invited to the event known colloquially as the United Nations of Fine Wines.
Baja California continued its reign as the nation’s premier wine-producing state, winning three of the six grand gold medals as well as 31 golds and 30 silvers.
The other three grand gold medals, the competition’s top honor, went to wines produced by two different wineries in Coahuila and one in Aguascalientes. Gold medal winners came from Baja California, Coahuila, Aguascalientes, Querétaro, Guanajuato and San Luis Potosí.
Mexican sommelier Laura Santander, part of the jury that included wine experts from Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Spain, the United States, France and the United Kingdom, said that a lot of winemakers have taken note of international trends to make wines that are “less woody and a bit fruitier.”
She added that the varying standard of wines on offer at the competition can be partially attributed to the experience of the winemakers.
“Of course, there are producers who are evolving, which is completely natural when you have a new winery and you start to produce wine,” Santander said.
Natasha Hughes, a wine expert from the United Kingdom, said the best wines she tasted at the event were recent vintages.
“People here appear to think that if a red wine is aged for a long time . . . it’s good. The best wines I tried here weren’t those, they were the young ones. If you’ve put in the effort to produce good fruit to make a balanced and fresh wine, why detract from it through barrel aging?” she said.
Hughes added that Mexican winemakers should look to countries such as Australia and South Africa for inspiration rather than cold European countries and choose grape varieties that are well-suited to Mexico’s climate.
In the spirits category, judges awarded four grand gold medals, including two that went to Guanajuato mezcal maker Penca y Piedra. The other two went to a Oaxaca mezcal and a tequila from Jalisco.
Distilleries from Oaxaca took out six of the 10 gold medals that were awarded, while three Chihuahua makers of sotol, a liquor made from the desert spoon plant, also won gold medals. A tequila was the recipient of the 10th gold medal.
Chihuahua will host next year’s Mexico Selection contest.
The full list of this year’s grand gold medal winners, the states from which they come and the wineries or distilleries that made them appears below. Full results are available on the Mexico Selection website.
- Los Cedros Fusión / 2017 / Coahuila / Productos del Campo Vibe
- Irana Malbec Rosé / 2018 / Aguascalientes / Vinicola Renacimiento
- Capella Merlot / 2015 / Baja California / Hoteles y Viñedos del Valle de Guadalupe
- Don Leo Gran Reserva / 2012 / Coahuila / Viñedos Don Leo
- Don Luis Viognier / 2018 / Baja California / Vinicola L.A. Cetto
- Elite Tannat / 2016 / Baja California / Altotinto
- Salmiana / 2019 / Guanajuato / Penca y Piedra
- Don Questo Añejo / Jalisco / Fabrica de Tequilas Finos
- Espadín / 2019 / Guanajuato / Penca y Piedra
- El Viejo Manuelón Mezcal Papalometl Joven / Oaxaca / Mezcal El Viejo Manuelón