Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wine Review: L.A. Cetto 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

A few months ago I wrote the lengthy article "Mexico makes wine too, muchacho" on the history of Mexican wine and its current regions and wineries. Since then I've been dead set on getting my hands on some Mexican wine. So one day I scoured the entire Massachusetts Beverage Journal and found only one... L.A. Cetto, the #1 vineyard owner in Mexico. There were several options available from the winery: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Syrah and Nebbiolo. But what I really wanted, at the very least, was the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon loves the sandy soil of Valle de Guadalupe in the Mexican state of Baja California, and the lack of water forces the vines to dig deep for survival. The effects of the ocean make the climate similar to Napa Valley, including foggy mornings, and so Guadalupe Valley is the future of the Mexican wine industry.

The 2011 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon has an ABV of 13.5%. The package is classy. There's an image of a grape cluster as if it were engraved in Aztec or Mayan architecture. The labels are glossy and slightly embossed where appropriate. Just a very sleek, simple, sexy looking bottle that feels good in the hand.

The color of the wine is ruby with low to medium density for a Cabernet.

At first, the immediate thought to pop into my mind after smelling it was "Merlot". It just had that dark fruit flavor profile like blackberry and plum and blueberry that I wasn't expecting. If I were tasting it blind I would have guessed, in complete confidence, that it was mostly Merlot.

But the more I swirled and let it open up the more the Cabernet characteristics started to come out, starting with eucalyptis and beach sand, until the glass was filled with an amazing cherry cola aroma.

The palate is so friggin juicy with blackberry, cassis and red apple. There's a bit of an Italian-like rusticness, as well as a certain twang in the acidity that I've only experienced in sharp cheeses. It's medium bodied with soft tannin and a lush mouthfeel. The finish is silky with red apple, cedar and spice. Everything is in sync here. It's perfectly balanced.

An hour and a half after being opened, both the nose and the palate start showing tomato. I don't think there's anything I love more in a wine than tomato.

Yeah, I'm going to buy this again. It's all about character and character is what I want in my wine. My only complaint is a technicality: I don't believe it's really all that varietally correct. But, in this situation, that can be forgiven. It's Mexican, a cool experience in its own right, extremely delicious and it's only $10. That's it! TEN BUCKS! For that price this wine is a goddamn steal. I'd pay up to $18 for it and not be offended.

I sure as hell will be recommending it to customers. Especially Cabernet drinkers for the experience of having a Mexican Cabernet, Merlot drinkers for the flavor profile, and red drinkers in general because it's pretty damn good for a $10 bottle of wine.

I'm sure Mexican wine is more readily available closer to Mexico, but it's not even a thought up here in the Northeast. So if by some miracle your local wine shop happens to carry this, do not hesitate to buy it!

Price: $10
4/5: Recommended. (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was purchased by myself for the purpose of this review.


  1. Tried the bottle last night. It felt tight to me at first after being open 30 minutes, but I think that my palette was off because I had not eaten enough that day. Paired with grilled barbecue chicken and sautéed onions/bell peppers, the wine showed good complexity and opened up nicely. Showed rich, dark flavors and the profile of a hot climate red. I certainly see the merlot reaction, but the cabernet was definitely there as the wine breathed more. An interesting experience.

    1. Awesome! Glad you liked it and thanks for sharing that! :)



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