I’ve shared before how I’m a sucker for well-branded tourism, so Querétaro’s efforts to promote their wine & cheese “route” certainly did not fall on deaf ears during my time in México. Even before we made our trip to Finca Vai for some cheese tasting, we drove from Mexico City to the same area in Querétaro to check out our nearby winery options. (One has to prioritize, people.) Cavas Freixenet was the first place to catch our eye, as I was quick to recognize the Freixenet brand name. “Aren’t they the people with that jet black bottle & trendy gold writing at a $10 price point?” I asked John.
We headed out near the town of Ezequiel Montes in Querétaro state, just north of Tequisquiapan, to visit the Mexican arm of Freixenet (the mother ship is headquartered in Spain). I kept my expectations low, as I had observed that their website listed a number of special events happening at the winery… If I had learned nothing else from my time living in Virginia & touring its wineries, I had developed a hypothesis that there’s an inverse correlation between the quality of wines produced by a vineyard and the number of special events the vineyard has to host to sucker you into visiting & drinking its wine.
Cavas Freixenet offers free guided tours on the hour between 11AM & 4PM on the weekends, so John & I decided to check out the inner workings.
After trotting around the cellars, then we headed back up to the courtyard for the real action: the tastings. Most of their product line is available by the glass at very reasonable prices from carts in the courtyard, and then you can pop into the shop to buy any bottles you want starting at <$100 pesos. In honor of my former days of drinking pink champagne with my roommates in Boston, I went with one of their rosé options.
So how was the Freixenet wine? Actually not half bad! In another page from my Virginia winery experiences, I realized that enough sugar can hide a world of ills when it comes to wine…. but even their brut options were pretty drinkable. We stocked up on several bottles of either the Petillant Brut or the Sala Vivé (my memory fails me) with an eye towards a mimosa-fueled brunch in our future, plus a few rosé for any upcoming girls’ nights out. Definitely worth a visit if you have any sparkling wine-oriented parties coming up, as I think the bottles we bought were around $80-some pesos each. On the way out, we verified that grapes are indeed grown here:
If you’re interested in a visit to Cavas Freixenet, there’s a good map on their website. But much like my prior cheese tourism post highlighted Finca Vai’s little shop in Tequisquiapan as an alternative to visiting the source, you can also experience the Freixenet wines at their shop in Tequisquiapan! During our next trip through Querétaro up towards Xilitla in February 2010, our schedule didn’t permit a winery visit, so we checked out the wine bar instead.
Now in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I don’t think all Queretaran vineyards are created equal… We didn’t manage to visit La Redonda vineyard, but we were feeling bad about that so instead we ordered a bottle of their red wine at dinner in Tequis. Let’s just say our group was not enthused:
We were unimpressed and feeling like we got a bad deal, until we noticed the back of the bottle:
The upside-down label perhaps should have been our first clue…
In summary, Cavas Freixenet can be an amusing day trip from DF, particularly when combined with cheese eating and photo opportunities with taxidermied birds in the entrance of a random Tequisquiapan hotel:
Enjoy, and if you want to learn more about Mexican wines, check out my friend Lesley’s blog here or ask her about wine tasting tour options in Mexico City. And I would love to know– what other Mexican wine favorites have I been missing out on??
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared in my blog are completely my own.