It is a pleasure to introduce a new blog series "Your Mexican Sommelier" with a special guest, Elsa Fuger. She was born and raised in from Mexico City, but at very young age she decided to move abroad and lived in NY, USA. Afterwards she decided to move to France to practice her french, once there she started to fall in love with wine and the culture around it.
So, she decided to go ahead and start taking wine classes and certificates, until she finally decided to study to be a Sommelier in Switzerland. That is how 15 years ago she moved to Switzerland to obtain one of the highest sommelier certificates. And after being in the industry for a while, 7 years ago she decided it was time to start promoting Mexican wine and bring special selections of wine labels across different regions in Mexico.
So, here are a few questions to get you inspired to open up your next Mexican bottle of wine.
What prompted you to become a sommelier?
I feel motivated to travel and taste different culinary cultures. Wines make me learn about everything around the world between nature and the transformation of it for human satisfaction.
Many of our readers might not be aware that Mexico is such a major producer of wine – can you tell us a little more about Mexican wines and what we are missing out on?
The Mexican vines were the first in America. But the Spanish colonization made us loose a lot of the authentic wine production. They prohibited its commercialization for almost 50 years and all the wine production was only consumed by the royal and high society, leaving a part for religion proposes.
Since then, Mexico was forced to hide their talent on winemaking. No schools of wine or enology, or any type of help or industry for wines, and no help from the government to make wine regions to develop, almost the contrary.
So Mexico focused on developing mainly sales and export of beer with Corona and tequila, the most known Mexican spirit around the world. Nowadays on trend also mezcal... but wine?
Is still almost impossible to export wine from Mexico and to be able to introduce them to the world. It is like fighting against a wall not being able to allow people to have the pleasure to taste those Mexican elixirs.
Where does Mexican wine originate?
In the state of Coahuila are the oldest vineyards. Casa Madero is the first Mexican wine producer. But since 20 years ago, we have seen the new era of Mexican wine coming. They are planting more and production is on demand. Mexicans are also consuming wine and are more interested about it. It was a wake up call to see that Mexicans are also wine consumers and excellent wine creators.
What has been the biggest change in the Mexican wine industry since you started your career?
Probably that nowadays the profession as sommelier is more respected and that women are also able to be wine experts.
Any challenges the Mexican wine industry is facing currently?
We have like 30 to 50 years of delay between all wine regions around the world but it is not because we did not know how to make wine, the delay is because wine was under suppression in Mexico, producers couldn't sell or export wine.
They also faced certain problems between wine laws and labels, which were different as in other wine country producers.
Can you describe the greatest wine and wine experiences that you have ever had in Mexico?
Definitely I am always amazed about how the climate and nature change within very short distances, and also how the earth is so fertile that almost everything can be grown easily, giving excellent results, agriculture is so rich in Mexico.
What is your favorite Mexican wine?
I have a lot of favorite wines but at the moment I am in love with wines from Queretaro, I love sparkling wines from DE COTE winemaker, they have a lot of potential.
Now the hard question, what is your favorite pairing of a Mexican dish and wine?
Not so hard question, one that is so special will be mole rojo and Cascabel wine from Valle de Guadalupe. Something you need to try.
Stay tuned to our next Mexican Sommelier series "Mexican Wine, is it about terroir or grapes?"
Elsa Fuger, Founder of Vino Mexicano