The Rompel Report: Mexican Food…and Wine

Many of us think of Mexican food as kind of a fast food. And that is indeed the case when you are in the US of A and you enjoy the occasional Tex/Mex burrito or fajita. Once you visit Mexico, however, you find that the truth is far from it. Nothing you have known about “Mexican fast-food” looks familiar. The only thing that remains is that you roll up your food in a tortilla, which you usually find wrapped up in aluminium foil, a towel or polystyrol devices to keep them warm, and you add some chilies.

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In my Mexican friend’s kitchen sovereignly rules his wife Melissa. Melissa prepares all the different Mexican dishes herself, sourcing the original ingredients in distant Peru, and resulting in fabulous traditional fare. She prepares Guacamole (the green salsa with Avocado), which is to die for when scraped onto a tostada (triangular corn crisps). Several differently coloured chilies went into the mix too, each colour indicating degrees of hotness from mild to volcanic melt-down.

To turn the evening into a truly national Mexican event, my friend Adrian suggested we only have Mexican wine to go with the traditional food. After a few (second) thoughts which came to mind immediately, we finally agreed on Mexican red wine, and hoped for some surprises from the “red-hot-chili-pepper country”.

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The northern Baja California is home to several wine farms mainly located in the Guadalupe Valley (Valle de Guadalupe) not too far from the US American border. One of the top wines from there is the Domecq Reserva Magna 2007, supposedly one of the stars in this northern corner of Latin America, which I sourced in the Mexico City Duty Free. My friend was already in possession of a Monte Xanic Merlot 2011 from Baja California, further a Casa Grande Shiraz 2008, and a Vino de Piedra 2007. Similar to our home-grown Vergenoegd, some of these wines showed a slight saltiness, which was never dominant nor distracting from the fruity flavours.

The Vino de Piedra 2007 (Tempranillo and Cabernet) was the flavour of the night convincing with its power, followed by the Casa Grande 2005 (Shiraz), which is a bit more on the elegant side. None of the wines, however, could compete with the outstanding Cochinita Pibil (shredded pork) which got rolled up in tortillas, which caused many of us to go for seconds and thirds, overindulging!