Saturday, July 20, 2024

9 Mexican wines win Grand Gold Medals at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

Mexican wines sparkled at the 31st Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, one of the world’s most prestigious wine competitions, held in León, Guanajuato, earlier this month.

A special Mexican edition of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles competition called the Mexico Selection has taken place before in various Mexican states, but this was the first time that the main competition was ever held in the Americas.

Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue Rodriguez standing at a podium with the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles logo and the Government of Guanajuato logos on it as he gives a speech to attendees
Guanajuato state Governor Diego Sinhue Rodríguez spoke at the event, a testament to how important the Guanajuato government viewed Concours Mondial de Bruxelles’ decision to bring its competition to their state. (Concours Mondial de Bruxelles)

The León event, which took place June 7–9, was a competition for red and white wines. The 2024 event’s three other competitions — one for rosé, one for sparkling wine and one for sweet and fortified wines — are taking place in European locations.   

Nearly 7,500 red and white wines from 42 countries took part in the blind-tasting contest judged by experts from around the world.

Of the 663 wines presented by Mexican producers, 152 won medals (including nine Grand Gold Medals), a record, according to the newspaper El Economista. 

That outcome allowed Mexico to break into the list of top five countries in terms of numbers of medals won, according to journalist Liz Palmer. Only 30% of all the wines presented in the competition took home medals.

The top-performing Mexican entrant at this year’s event was Zeus Tinto 2020, an oaked red wine from the Valle de Guadalupe wine region of Baja California by the Baja winemaker El Cielo. Made from zinfandel grapes, Zeus Tinto was recognized with the Mexico Revelation distinction and earned a Grand Gold Medal. 

Less than 1% of competing wines at the event earn Grand Gold Medal recognition, the top award at the Concours Mondiale de Bruxelles.

Bottle of El Cielo winery's Zeus Tinto 2020. The bottle is black with gold foil at the top and a stylized blazing sun logo at the center
A Grand Gold Medal winner, Zeus Tinto 2020 is a red from the Valle de Guadalupe region of Baja California. It’s produced by El Cielo winery. (El Cielo)

The Mexican Grand Gold Medal Winners

The other Mexican wines that earned Grand Gold Medals were:

  • a López Rosso Cavas Viognier 2023 from Zacatecas 
  • two winners from Guanajuato wineries: Dos Buhos’ Grenache Gran Reserva 2019 and a 2020 red blend from Pájaro Azul 
  • G&G by Ginasommelier Gran Reserva Malbec 2019, from Baja California
  • Another Gran Reserva Malbec, this one a 2020 from Coahuila’s Casa Madero
  • a Nebbiolo-Merlot-Syrah 2017 from Inspiración winery in Baja California 
  • a Merlot Reserva 2020 from Baja California’s Bajalupano winery
  • A 2022 Syrah from Solar Fortun winery in Baja California.

Sixty-nine Mexican wines won a Gold Medal while 75 won Silver Medals.

Spain was recognized as the top producer in the competition, collecting 31% of the awards, while Uruguay and Romania swept the top two medals. 

Uruguay’s Balasto 2017 (produced by Bodega Garzón) won the International Red Wine Revelation award while Romania’s Issa Chardonnay Barrique 2022 (produced by Crama La Salina) was awarded the International White Wine Revelation.

Last year, Mexico’s Cenzontle Blanco 2019 — produced by Finca El Empecinado in Baja California — won the International White Wine Revelation award.

Guanajuato was selected as host in recognition of its growth as one of the top players in the Mexican wine industry, in part because of the state’s ideal climate for grape cultivation. The state is in fifth place among Mexico’s states in the building of vineyards, with 485 planted hectares and more than 100 planned hectares, representing 4.5% of land in Mexico used for the production of quality wines, according to Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

In 2021, the state’s Tourism Ministry launched Guanajuato, Tierra de Vinos, (Guanajuato, Land of Wines), a new initiative to create tourism opportunities using the state’s vineyards. 

The state is also the fifth-largest grape producer in Mexico and ranks fourth in overall wine production (more than 1,240,000 liters of wine annually).

Guanajuato boasts 46 wine businesses and 25 wine tourism businesses, while the Guanajuato Grape and Wine Association is comprised of 34 wineries. It is also home to one of only two wine museums in Mexico.

With reports from El Economista and El Universal

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