Confession: I am a cork dork. I love wine. I love drinking it, I love reading about it and (often to the dismay of my friends) I love talking about it. In a previous life, I had the great pleasure of working for a very discriminating wine importer and distributor in New York. I had the opportunity to visit vineyards, meet with wine makers and taste some of the finest wines in the world. I have been spoiled.

When we moved to Mexico, nearly six years ago, it was a culinary culture shock to my system. No longer could I pop into my favorite wine shop and spend hours selecting just the right bottle for dinner. There were no lovely counters filled with exotic imported cheeses to sample and select. The few wines available to me at Chedraui, at the time our most viable shopping option, were mostly Chilean and Argentinean. None of the wine producers were familiar to me. I was despondent. I learned to love beer and tequila.

Fast forward six years and Playa del Carmen has really come around in the wine world. I can now choose from half a dozen good wine shops and even our major grocery stores are expanding their options. I have attended proper wine tastings hosted by knowledgeable sommeliers and been introduced to some excellent bottles, many of which have come from Mexican winemakers. This is truly something to celebrate!

This series, “Notes on Napkins”, will be published regularly and document my wine finds here in Playa del Carmen. My focus will be on Mexican producers but I will also be tasting and reviewing many of the other wines that are readily available in this area. I will try to hit on all wine styles, varietals and price points. I invite your comments and questions.


Wine: Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc “Vina Kristel”
Producer: Monte Xanic
Vintage: 2008
Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Country: Mexico
Region: Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada

Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Michele’s Notes: This is a Bordeaux styled Sauvignon Blanc with similar attributes to its French cousins. The color is pale yellow, moving to green. Clarity is excellent. The nose is earthy with melon with notes of leather.  Strong on the mid palate, the flavors over apple and melon predominate with a bit of pineapple. Good depth and character are derived from 21 days in French oak. The acidity is moderate making it a nice match for oily fish like salmon but flexible enough for chicken and pork as long as the sauce is not too rich or very spicy. The labeling has been changed from the last vintage I tasted (2006) makes a huge improvement in packaging. The new elegant label is matched well to the wine. This is a crisp, easy to drink wine for every day. Lovers of White Bordeaux will find this a good alternative at a good price. Recommended.

Purchased at Chedraui, Playa del Carmen, Price – 130 pesos.