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  • Writer's pictureJacopo Mazzeo

My favourite wines from Guanajuato, Mexico

Last month, I travelled to León, the capital of Guanajuato, Mexico, to judge the Red & White Wine session of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB). The CMB is renowned as one of the world's premier wine competitions and it's also rather unique given its nomadic nature. Indeed, unlike most competitions, which are held consistently in one location, the multiple sessions of the CMB (they have a rosé wine one, for instance, and even one specifically dedicated to Sauvignon Blanc) change their host country every year. 

This format benefits the competition itself by motivating producers from the host region – who are generally keen to maximise the promotional opportunities of the event – to enter their wines. For judges like myself, it offers the chance to explore a new, often lesser-known wine region every year. Last year, for instance, I had the pleasure to learn more about the wines of Croatia, and this time, I've had the opportunity to familiarise with the wines of Mexico.

Learning about these new regions happens through conventional winery visits and masterclasses, but also during the judging itself (provided that I happen to be given a flight of wines from the host region, of course).

It's not revealed whether this has been the case until after the judging is complete, when the organisers provide me with a list of samples I've tasted, along with my scores and tasting notes. This anonymity is hugely beneficial to my understanding of the region, because it means that the impressions I form about it, and my judgement of its wines remain unbiased by preconceived ideas and expectations.

This year, I and my fellow judges (pictured below) were tasked with assessing 132 wines from regions all over the world, from Ningxia in China to Serbia. Among these were, luckily, several wines from Guanajuato itself.

My judging team this year. Left to right: Miguel Pedroza (USA/Mexico), Irem Eren (Catalunya/Turkey), Giambattista Marchetto (Italy), Vicente Mendoza (Mexico), Jacopo Mazzeo (UK)

As expected from a young winemaking region, some of these wines lacked refinement or were perhaps overly oak-driven, but I was delighted to discover that a good number of them were in fact surprisingly delicious.

Below are the wines that – according to my scores and tasting notes – I have particularly enjoyed and that went on to win a medal. 

For reference, the CMB awards three medals, in descending order of prestige: Grand Gold, Gold, and Silver.

Grand Gold Medals

Dos Buhos Grenache Gran Reserva 2019

Grenache 100%

Spicy and quite estery, with a marked savoury character and some meaty aromas. On the palate, it boasts excellent acidity and firm tannins. Jammy red and dark fruit flavours are beautifully complemented by elegant notes of dried flowers and dried red berries, adding layers of complexity and depth. Overall, a balanced and intriguing wine that captures both robustness and elegance.

Malbec 40%, Tempranillo 25%, Cabernet Sauvignon 18%, Syrah 17%

This wine has an intense and charming bouquet, featuring both dried and fresh fruit, red citrus fruit, and sweet spice, with delightful notes of candied orange zest and candied lime. The palate is juicy and fragrant, showing a judicious use of oak. It is harmonious and balanced, with a deliciously savory finish highlighted by hints of mushrooms and leather.

Silver Medals

Casa-Anza Gran Reserva 2019

Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Tempranillo 18%, Malbec 12%

The nose is intense and clean, presenting a beautiful bouquet of dried flowers, curry powder, orange zest, strawberries, and crunchy red plum. The palate is full, with a mix of fresh and more developed red fruit. The oak is well-integrated, and the tannins are very firm, providing excellent structure.

Satisfyingly rich finish.

Cuna de Tierra Gran Nebbiolo 2020

Nebbiolo 100%

Rich dark ruby colour with garnet hues. The nose is woody and spicy, with intriguing aromas of curry leaves and nutmeg, red plums, prunes, and blackberry jam. On the palate, it is full and velvety, with prominent oak influence, and flavours of dark fruits, toast, licorice, and cured meat. The mid-palate has a subtle sweetness, balanced by firm tannins. Lingering finish.


You can check out all the medals of this year’s CMB here.

If you like to know more of what it’s like to judge wine, beer, and spirits competitions, keep an eye on the upcoming issue of Glug magazine.



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