2016 Bichi Pet-Mex
Region: Tecate < Baja California < Mexico
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: organic farming, dry-farmed, 69 year old vines, sandy, granitic soil, 1100 foot elevation, just a few hours skin contact before pressing, made in the méthode ancestrale; undisgorged, no added so2; 332 cases; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Jair Téllez and Luis-Antoine Luyt
Jair Téllez, chef of the progressive Laja Restaurant in Ensenada, Mexico, is the guy behind Tecate-based Bichi, the only known natural winery in Mexico. A few years ago, he left his post as chef at a Top 50 San Pellegrino Restaurant to resurrect old vines in Baja and make delicious, authentically made wine from grapes suited to the climate, with awesome label art (bonus!). In the meantime he’s also opened a casual dining spot in Mexico City with an entirely natural wine list – one of the few in the entire country. Jair’s winemaking partner in crime is Luis-Antoine Luyt, pioneer of natural winemaking in Chile, so of course they’re working naturally: organic farming, native yeasts, and as of the last vintage, no so2 whatsoever. These are Mexican wines of the future! And in our opinion, some of the best wines made in Central America today. The Pet-Mex pétillant-naturel is new to the States, and we’ve been dying to get our hands on this sparkly Pixie juice since we first tasted it with Jair himself. It was love at first sip! Vibrant, alive and healthy tasting, like you juiced watermelon, rind included, with strawberry and cucumber, then mixed in some kombucha for a touch of funk and fizz. Note: this bad boy wants to get out of the bottle, real fast like – so beware when opening, make sure you’re over a sink or bath tub, because the pink fizz and foam will come at you like a raging volcano. I’ve found that if you freeze the bottle for 20-30 minutes before opening, it helps.