Has Mexican wine really existed for 600 years? Well, almost. Spanish missionaries planted the first vineyards in the Americas—in what is now Mexico—around 500 years ago. Since then, wine production has been growing steadily in the last couple decades, led by Mexico’s principle wine producing region, the Valle de Guadalupe, located in Baja California. Chef Jimmy Shaw (Lotería Grill) and Tijuana chef Javier Plascencia (Misión 19) are so excited about the future of Mexican wine, they’ve named their event in anticipation of the next 100 years of Mexican winemaking. How’s that for optimism?
From the use of the hybrid Criolla (later called the Mission grape) for making Brandy in the 1500s to the oldest winery in the Americas—Casa Madero in Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila—to being the source of the original cuttings that initiated Chile and Argentina’s wine industries to the establishment of Baja California’s wine production in the late 1800s, Mexican wine production has long been important in this part of the world.
On June 4-5 at the Loteria Grill in Hollywood and Santa Monica respectively, Shaw and Plascencia will be collaborating on a menu with Baja wine pairings to celebrate the addition of Mexican wine to Loteria Grill’s menus. The first dinner is an 8-Course Fine Dining Tasting Menu ($75) paired with Mexican wines for $75 and a history lesson by Maite Gomez-Rejon from Arbites. Look for dishes like a scallop aguachile tostada and duck breast in mole negro.
The Santa Monica dinner, titled Stand Up Street Food and Wine ($45), will feature multiple stations of Mexico City and Tijuana-style street food served with Baja wines. Expect a surf and turf combo of octopus and tripe by Plascencia, and Shaw’s Tres Cochinitas taco (pork three ways) each chef representing two of Mexico’s top urban gastronomies.
Here’s to another hundred years of great Mexican food and wine—salud!
600 Years of Mexican Wine with Chefs Jimmy Shaw and Javier Plascencia, Loteria Grill Hollywood, June 4th at 7:30p.m., 8-Course Fine Dining Tasting Menu ($75); Loteria Grill Santa Monica, June 5th at 4:30p.m., Stand Up Street Food and Wine ($45)