Looking for the world’s best cabernet sauvignon? You’ll find it in Coahuila, Mexico, at Vinos Don Leo in Parras de La Fuente.
This year the winery’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva took first place at France’s International Cabernet Competition, in which French sommeliers blind-tasted wines from 25 countries.
Don Leo’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz also took home the gold this year.
“Quality is the goal and vision of our company, and right now it is being reflected with this distinction,” said Don Leo owner David Mendel.
Tasting notes by Eduardo Dingler of the Napa Valley Register, who visited Don Leo earlier this year, describe the award-winning wine as “generous, wise and intelligent showing its age in the glass but displaying a unique eloquence in the nose with layers of cigar, dried potpourri and leather with a slight touch of aged balsamic.”
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He called the experience the oeneological equivalent of “playing 18 holes of golf with Sean Connery.”
The mid-sized winery was founded 20 years ago by the Mendel family, who named the vineyard after their forefather, a German Jew who together with his wife emigrated to Mexico in 1936 to escape the war.
The winery opened in 2000 with just one hectare, and has grown to 60 hectares of vineyards planted with 12 varieties of grapes, including shiraz, merlot and malbec.
Located at an elevation of 2,100 meters, making it the 11th-highest vineyard in the world, Don Leo enjoys a micro-climate offering hot days and cool nights which is ideal for growing quality grapes.
Coahuila Tourism Minister Azucena Ramos said the award further solidifies the region — where grapes were first planted in the 1500s — as the cradle of wine in Latin America and worldwide.
Currently, sales of the wine are almost entirely limited to Mexico, but that may change in the future as Don Leo continues to garner international accolades. The trophy-winning vintage goes for 983 pesos or around US $45.