Our trip to the wine country of Baja, Mexico included some wine tasting, including this JC Bravo Palomino. We were excited to sample the fruits (pun intended) of the many up and coming “boutique wineries” we’d heard about. The first of which we visited, Monte Xanic opened less than three decades ago and began a Renaissance in Mexican wine.
The valley’s wide variety of wines don’t fit into neat categories. Some of the best are red blends that find a way to take advantage of the somewhat saline water table in the Valle de Guadalupe. Baja wines can be earthy and complex, with a brininess that gives them an interesting umami quality. Unusual whites are also produced. We found a particularly good Palomino to pair with our meal at Laja. It’s crisp and dry with plenty of fruit aroma, produced by JC Bravo.
Palomino is not one of the seven “noble” international varietals (which include Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot). It is, however, key in sherry production (think Jerez, Spain). Palomino doesn’t have a great reputation as a stand-alone dry wine. It can lack acidity. So we were very pleasantly surprised by the way the minerality of the salt added complexity and balance, complementing the tang of the fruit. I’d be interested to talk to the winemakers about how they accomplished this feat!
JC Bravo Palomino
JC (Juan Carlos) Bravo’s story is interesting. His plot of land had very old vines growing on it. This former school teacher supplemented his income by supplying high-quality grapes to local winemakers. However as the fledgling local industry took hold, he got the idea to start his own label. That’s when Hugo D’Acosta– the region’s unofficial wine guru and founder of La Escuelita, the valley’s winemaking school stepped into the picture. He was aware of JC’s grapes and their quality, and he decided to become Juan Carlos’s mentor.
- Category White Wine
- Varietal Palomino
- Region Baja Mexico