Home ZINE Issue no 2 aka The Baja Volume - Fall/Winter 2019 Tecate: The unknown child of Baja

Tecate: The unknown child of Baja

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Tecate: The unknown child of Baja

By now, you may be familiar with Mexico´s wine and food culture and that Baja California is like the Napa Valley south of the border, with amazing new restaurants and wineries. What you may not know is that Mexico´s “La Ruta del Vino” started in Tecate, a small town that is creating the most authentic and grooviest wines the region has to offer paired with amazing food from local restaurants.

Located between a desert and the pacific, it thrives with a climate that allows local grape varieties to flourish in sandy-granite soils into amazing bottles of wine. In 2012, this small town received the designation of “Pueblo Mágico,” meaning magical town, making it the only one in Baja. 

In the world of wine, Mexico is the toddler eager to learn and have fun; just like their parties and life, the wine is no different. Mexico has no rules when it comes to its wine. With no AVA´s or signature blend, they’re free to explore all kinds of techniques. So, without further ado, here are two wineries that best display the unique flavors and spirit of the Tecate wine region.

TANAMA 

The history of this winery goes back to 1945 when Jose Gonzales, the original owner, purchased this plot of land south of Tecate. He began to produce grapes that he later sold to producers like L.A. Cetto and Domecq. Today the winery is owned by his son Ricardo; he started making their own label in 2000, and right now is the OG winery that started reviving this long-forgotten region with vines dating to a hundred years old. 

CASA VERAMENDI

With an incredible passion for wine, Lucy Veramendi and daughter Isabel slowly started to transform their 30-year-old vineyard for making table wine into a legitimately exciting winery, who released their first vintage in 2013, yielding only 150 cases. Veramendi winery greatly enriches the wine culture in Tecate, taking advantage of the really good climate and irrigation the land has to offer. Veramendi´s wines are truly a reflection of the love these two women have for wine and also their love and understanding of the land.

BICHI WINES

Now, let’s get into the “natty” stuff! 

Led by two very talented brothers, Noel and Jair Tellez, Bichi entered the scene in 2014, releasing its debut vintage of fun and funky wine. Jair is one of Mexico´s most influential chefs. He pioneered the farm-to-table experience in Baja when he opened “Laja” in Valle de Guadalupe. He now owns two other family-run restaurants, MeroToro and Amaya, the first restaurant in Mexico offering an all-natural wine list. 

With Valle de Guadalupe getting more industrialized production to meet the rising demand for wine from this region that is growing daily in Mexico, Bichi wines adopted a more traditional method of winemaking that allows for underrated grapes, like Mision and Rosa del Peru, to be the stars of the Valle of Tecate.

One of the few organic/biodynamic wineries not only in Tecate but all of Mexico, Bichi is definitely a must-try for all of you who enjoy fun–in wine and life.