Friday, November 30, 2007

Wine in the Desert

CUATRO CIENEGAS--It was an unlikely place to find vineyards. But aside from the amazing flora and fauna, people of the Chihuahuan desert also produce a "vino artesanal." That means, like many of the species that are endemic to the area, the wine produced there cannot be found anywhere in the country or abroad. The wines are not mega-produced and they still use old traditions and techniques to make it.

We visited the Vinos Vitali, the smaller and highly recommended winery, for some tasting and a look into how the wine production there works. Because temperatures in that region (about a four-hour drive from Monterrey), reach up to 120 degrees Farenheit, making the wine is tricky. Cooler temperatures during production help give the wine its dry taste. But with blazing heat pretty much year-round, the result is a sweet and fruity wine. YUM!

During the summer, winemakers must hose down the outside of the winery in order to help cool the building. Huge industrial fans are also brought in to production rooms to help circulate cool air. Stepping into the winery is like a step back in time. The barrels they use are still some of the originals from the 1940s.

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