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Mexico International Wine Competition's Reawakening

by David Furer
July 29, 2021

It’s been a busy month for Mexico’s Baja California. On the heels of announcement it hosting the International Organization of Vine and Wine’s (OIV) 43rd Congress in 2022, Ensenada’s Mexican International Wine Competition (Concurso Internacional de Vino en México) confirms that the wine judging it’s administered since 1999 has begun adhering to the OIV’s guidelines allowing it to be listed amongst its internationally accredited wine competitions.

Alejandro Jiménez Hernández, director of the competition on behalf of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, said that beginning in 2018 OIV observers have evaluated its process and that since the Mexican Wine Council (CMV), the private concern charged with marketing Baja California wines (Provino), the State Council of Vine Producers of Baja California and the Association of Winemakers from Baja California have shared in their support of this. Hans Backhoff Guerrero, president of the CMV and proprietor of the country’s third largest winery Monte Xanic, said “the contest has been transformed in an exemplary way to be viewed as world-class.”

While medal winners have for years hailed from several countries the top-scoring ‘double golds’ were all awarded to Baja California purveyors: Camou for its Chardonnay, Roganto for its Vuelo del Águila Meu Capricho Petit verdot, and Malagón for its Reserva de la Familia Cabernet Sauvignon leading vintner Rachel Malagón to pridefully assert that “our estate vineyards and handcrafted wines are very special to the Guadalupe Valley’s Francisco Zarco district.”

And while non-Mexican judges from Argentina, Chile, and Spain were included dating to 2001, this month’s edition included a US Master of Wine and Master Sommelier, and U.S. wine writer David Furer. "Mexico is proving to be a consistent source for quality red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and regional specialties like their very own version of ‘Nebbiolo’,” shared Jesse Becker MS of Tendril Wine. “Baja's Valle de Guadalupe is a region to watch as wineries continue to refine their style and discover the unique expression of Mexico's terroir." First time MIWC judge and California-based importer/distributor/winemaker Martin Reyes MW of Reyes Wine Group has judged TexSom and the Oregon Wine Competition along with the Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge, and Singapore Pinnacle. "With the Chihuahua state coming up along the still-dominant Baja California, Mexico is the new wine frontier,” he said. With outside eyes also viewing the likes of upstart micro-operations like La Lomita / La Carrodilla, Mexico overall and the MIWC in particular show promise and will grow."

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