Mexico Life
Alberto Flores, founder Jalisco winery Bodega Gravitas Alberto Flores, founder of Jalisco winery Bodega Gravitas. Facebook

Alberto Flores built his winery in a surprising place: the land of tequila

Jalisco's Bodega Gravitas entered the market just 5 years ago but is already in some of Mexico's best restaurants

Mexican wine is having its moment in the sun, with more variety, more demand and better-quality wines on the shelves. Every year, new regions across the country and new states join Mexico’s winemaking map.

One of those newcomers is the Bodega Gravitas winery in the state of Jalisco, a pioneer in a region where the main alcoholic beverage has long been tequila. Owner and Jalisco native Alberto Flores worked for more than three years in wineries in Germany before returning to Mexico and creating Bodega Gravitas with a group of friends.

Although a relatively new winemaker, he was clear from the start about the kind of wine he wanted to produce, one that had as little artificial intervention as possible. To produce fruity and expressive wine, he believes in longer fermentation times, avoiding fertilizers and other chemicals as much as possible and eschewing manufactured yeasts and additives like sulfates.

When he first began planning his business, Flores knew it would take several years for his winery to start producing bottles. So he began his enterprise on two fronts.

First, he found an existing vineyard in Sonora with the qualities necessary to produce the wine he wanted: fresh, fruity vintages that wouldn’t require barrel aging. At the same time, he began building his winery in Jalisco and planting his first grapevines there.

Bodegas Gravitas winery, Jalisco, Mexico
Bodega Gravitas’ 2020 Zinfandel.

Bodega Gravitas’ first vintage went on sale in 2017 and the winery made its debut at the Festival of Mexican Wine in Guadalajara in 2018 with a cabernet sauvignon, a zinfandel, a white zinfandel and a pinot noir. The response from judges and attendees was extremely positive, and Bodega Gravitas’ wines have since seen a growing market presence. These vintages — along with a newer pinot noir rosé and a barrel-aged chenin blanc — can these days be found in some of the country’s best restaurants.

Within the next two years, Flores plans to finally harvest their own grapes in Jalisco and expand their line, first with a syrah. They will also continue searching for grapes that adapt well to the local climate, Flores said.

Here are some tasting notes from Bodega Gravitas’ excellent 2020 vintages:

Sauvignon blanc

This is a fresh, citric wine, pale yellow in color with golden lines and with a balanced mouthfeel. It’s ideal for drinking cold on hot days with young cheeses and fresh fruit.

White zinfandel

Despite this wine’s nice level of acidity, it shows no loss of fruitiness, with pleasant strawberry and raspberry notes. It has a very balanced mouthfeel and begs to be paired with grilled and buttered shrimp, paella, cochinita tacos, fish, chicken or pork al pastor. Also, enjoy it with semi-mature cheeses, especially cotija.

Zinfandel

A potent red that’s deep violet in color, this wine leaves notes of plum, figs and fruit compote in the nose. In the mouth, its structure and potency meet expectations. Tannins are present without being aggressive, with a long finish. I recommend decanting it before drinking. This wine pairs well with meat and grilled sausages or with cheese and cured meats accompanied by berries and dried fruit.

Pinot noir

This memorable wine has a soft red hue and an aroma that hints of strawberries, cranberries and currants and a mocha finish. Soft in the mouth, velvety and subtle, this excellent wine is very agreeable without hard edges.

Sommelier Diana Serratos writes from Mexico City.

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