Until a few years ago, the oenophiles did not have the arid lands of San Luis Potosi on their radar, famous for its waterfalls and its zacahuil, San Luis Potosí started getting medals and recognitions for its wine, and then began to cross the gap between wine lovers.
True, it is not the first time that the vines take root in this region; its wine-making history dates back to colonial times. However, in this and other Mexican territories, the restrictions on this cultivation imposed by the Crown suddenly stopped the oenological development.
To the delight of Mexican wine lovers, during the last decade, two wineries have steadily forged the new wine history of San Luis Potosí.
“This terroir is quite unknown and, after a career in Mexico, I consider it one of the best,” says Matías Utrero, winemaker at Cava Quintanilla, who accumulates experience in Coahuila, Querétaro, Guanajuato and Baja California.
A semi-desert climate with little rainfall, an average altitude of 1700 meters above sea level, and a huge thermal differential (plus 30 degrees of variation between day and night) are factors that favor the vitis vinifera species in this region.
“The lack of rainfall is very good for the vineyard, because we have practically no risk of fungal development in the fruit.”
“Added to this we have a lot of solar radiation, which favors red grapes and their phenolic maturation”, describes Utrero.
In addition to classic strains, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay, in San Luis Potosí terroirs you can find varieties less explored in the rest of Mexico, such as Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and even Nieluccio (sister of Sangiovese, in an experimental project within the Cava Quintanilla vineyard).
By age, extension, and presence in the market, it is one of the most important San Luis Potosi wineries. Located 45 minutes from the state capital, on the way to Matehuala, this winery is a pioneer in these terroirs.
“We currently have 84 productive hectares; We have new plantations, which are going to come into production this year and will bring us to 100 hectares, and we are planting a new sector, to have a total area of 120 hectares, ”describes Matías Utrero, his winemaker.
In its vineyards, with clay loam soil, there are 14 varieties: three white – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer – and 11 red, among which Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Nebbiolo stand out.
In the market, under the Cava Quintanilla label, you can find three lines: Nicole, with a semi-sweet rosé and another sparkling wine; Labyrinth and Reserve.
“In Laberinto we have relatively inexpensive but very well made wines: there are two whites, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a dry and very aromatic Gewürztraminer; a Grenache rosé with Syrah, Provence style, and two reds, a Malbec and a blend of Cabernet, Tempranillo, and Merlot ”, Utrero deepens.
From Reserve, the high-end line, the winemaker especially highlights the monovarietals of Syrah and Nebbiolo.
And for future vintages, Matías sees enormous potential in his Cabernet Franc. “The first results have given some extraordinary wines”, he assures.
Cava Quintanilla today produces 450 thousand bottles a year, but the goal in the medium term is to reach one million and among his plans is also to pamper wine tourism lovers.
“We have an architectural project under development; it will have a restaurant, a more aesthetic façade for the winery, a lake for fishing, and a micro-hotel ”, he anticipates.
Today, prior reservation, the winery offers tours with tasting.
By conditions one could say that it is an ideal terroir for red wines, but curiously, Cava Quintanilla came to light and the doors were opened thanks to the whites ".
Matías Utrero, winemaker at Cava Quintanilla
Contact Cava Quintanilla:
- IG: @cavaquintanilla
POZO DE LUNA
The project for this winery, located a few kilometers from the airport and 15 minutes from downtown San Luis Potosi, began just over a decade ago.
Although they made their first winemaking in 2013, it was until 2016 that the brand was officially presented with three red wine labels.
Today they have 15 productive hectares, distributed in three plots. Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, and even a little Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc make up its range of inks. Sauvignon Blanc and Viogner are the bet on white.
“One of the plots is where the winery and the cellar are. In front of that property, there is a ranch dedicated to the breeding of quarter horses; next to the foaling corral is another part of the vineyard. And the oldest plot is in the Ex Hacienda El Jaralito.
“Pozo de Luna has a boutique winery philosophy: everything comes in small productions,” says Alfredo Oria, the winery’s sommelier.
The doctor in viticulture and enology Joaquín Madero is the winemaker of Pozo de Luna who, despite its short history, has accumulated several awards.
“The Sauvignon Blanc, from its first vinification, won a gold medal and has had magnificent results. We have a production of more or less 150 boxes per year ”, says Oria.
Pozo de Luna Malbec obtained 92 points from the Peñín Guide and a Great Gold Medal at the Brussels World Contest.
Among its next releases, the winery includes a Pinot Noir, a young red and a great reserve, with 30 months in the barrel.
The winery and its vineyards are open to receive visitors. The program, which includes a tasting, has been adapted to health protocols with small groups and outdoor activities.
Depending on time and budget, the tour may include visits to the former Hacienda El Jaralito, the horse farm at the Pozo de Luna ranch, food pairing and even barrel tasting.
People are already beginning to recognize San Luis Potosí as a wine destination, and Pozo de Luna, in particular, as a special bet within Mexican wine. "
Alfredo Oria, sommelier at Pozo de Luna
Contact Pozo de Luna:
- IG: @pozodeluna
A wine just launched on the market, which was born from the happy coincidence of three entrepreneurs who share the same zodiac sign, Piscis.
Karla Correa, Israel Gonzaléz, and Emiliano Pérez-Salas opted for Potosino terroir to elaborate this young and fresh Chardonnay, specifically thinking to pair with the Mexican cuisine of the sea.
“This wine comes from vineyards in San Luis Potosí, more than 12 years old, in a sandy loam soil with some pebbles, which gives good permeability, concentration, and maturation.
“The number of hours of sunshine we have during the day is important to be able to have a strong aroma, a lot of terpene in the nose. This Chardonnay is a fruity wine, with a citrus soul, peach aromas, quite mineral. In the mouth it has good balance and acidity ”, describes the Argentine winemaker Agostina Astegiano, in charge of the vineyard.
San Luis Potosí is an area that surprised me a lot in terms of the white varieties and, particularly, with the Chardonnay the region has very interesting options ".
Emiliano Pérez-Salas, partner of the Piscis project