Those of you who know me well have undoubtedly heard me rave about the red wines I drank in 2002 while visiting Mexico City. Most of the wines produced there are from the Baja region, and resemble the fruit-forward wines from just north in California. I also wax poetic about the many Turkish wines I’ve tried while traveling through various parts of that country. I have been searching for great wines from Mexico and Turkey ever since, and have been completely stymied in my search within Pennsylvania. I did finally come upon a Mexican wine in Belhaven, North Carolina while on a boat trip. Belhaven is a small, harbor town on the Pungo river. We had to pass through one hell of a storm to get there, and I wasn’t sure what kind of eating and drinking would await us in this town of fewer than 2000 people. Despite its small size, Belhaven has a wonderful restaurant: Spoon River. The interior is a mash-up of “industrial” and “shabby chic”, done up in tones of concrete and black, white, and bright pink. It looked great but, more importantly, the food was excellent and the owner very friendly.
Perhaps most important for my purposes is the restaurant’s adjoining wine shop. While customers can certainly purchase wine to take home, the owners also allow for the purchase of a wine to be drunk at the restaurant at no additional mark-up!!! Many of the wines were South American – the owner is a big fan of Torrontes and Malbec – but I saw the lone Mexican wine and knew I had to try it.
L.A. Cetto Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Mexico
We opened the wine for dinner and it did not disappoint. It has black pepper, a bit of juicy, black cherry and plum, a touch of grass and bell pepper, with soft tannins and great acid. This is definitely a food wine. That night we ate it with an antipasto plate of local meats, cheeses, herbs, and vegetables.
We also bought a bottle to take home, and we just opened it last night.
What did we eat it with? Turkish food!
There really isn’t anything “Mexican” about Turkish food. But, we didn’t feel like cooking and there is an excellent Turkish restaurant, Leziz, from which we get deliveries. Grilled kebabs are my favorite, and we always order a mixed-meat version. They have a bit of spice and a lot of flavor, and the L.A. Cetto wine was just right for the occasion.
Now I just need to find some great Mexican wines in Pennsylvania… Anyone?