Wine in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico
My first introduction to Mexican wine was in 1975 in Cozumel. We had gone out to a quaint restaurant for dinner and with our main course a small dish of a lovely fresh looking chopped tomato salad was served. I took a large forkful of this salad and instantly my mouth was on fire. There was not enough bread on the table to put out the fire so I reached for our untouched bottle of Hidalgo white wine and very nearly drained it in one gulp. When I stopped to catch my breath hoping the fire was subsiding I realized that this wine was not quite up to my standards to say the least.
I had two wishes at that point. The first one was that someone had told me the “salsa” was a “poco” picante and, secondly, that I would find a Mexican wine I liked better than Hidalgo.
Being a relatively quick learner I have never sampled any sauce brought to the table without asking about it’s level of heat. I am also happy to report that there are many very good Mexican wines. One of our favorites is L.A. Cetto which has a full range of whites and reds including a very nice reservado.
We now shop at La Paz wine and liquor store beside Superlake on the carretera in San Antonio Tlayacapan. Years ago the store was a lot smaller and the selection a lot more limited. All the Mexican labels were, of course, well represented and there was a full wall of various tequilas.
Now La Paz boasts wine from all over the world including, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia, Chili, the United States, South Africa. We like Puilly Fuisse from France, Rioja from Spain, Pinot Grigio from Italy, the Yellow Tail label from Australia, most of the California wines, and Pinotage from South Africa to name a few.
There are wines in all price ranges and the staff is very helpful and knowledgeable albeit not necessarily fluent in English..
French champagnes are available as well as other sparkling wines.
You can find the finest scotches, ryes, vodkas, rums, gins, bourbons and tequilas. Sadly, I still cannot find Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry (jerez) or Graham’s Vintage Crusted Port (oporto).
Buying by the case can be very cost efficient and they have sales all the time on different wines and spirits.
Naturally, most beers, foreign and domestic, are available as well as all manner of mixers. Snacks and ice are on site and La Paz is truly your one stop party center.
There is also La Playa liquor store in Ajijic, Lake Chapala which is very good but does not have the same selection as their store in Guadalajara. They do, however, offer very nice gourmet foods.