Drink List: Natural Wine in Mexico City : New Worlder

Suddenly, Mexico City is awash in natural wine. While lots of restaurants have been pouring vinos naturales for some time – Mero Toro, Quintonil, Rosetta, Lorea, and Pujol to name a few ­– the recent influx of natural wine bars and cafés has appeared with a fury. The DF now has Latin America’s largest selection of places to drink natural, organic, and biodynamic wine, plus the variety is better. While there are only a few bodegas in Mexico dedicated to the craft, such as Bichi in Tecate, from chef Jair Téllez, and Vena Cava in the Valle de Guadalupe, some of these bars have resorted to becoming importers, bringing in a new wave of indie wines from Chile, France, and Italy. Here are a few of our favorites:

Amaya

Jair Téllez’s Valle de Guadalupe spot, Laja, and perennial DF haunt, Merotoro, are established destinations for the Mexican food set, but with Amaya, in Colonia Juárez, he turns his emphasis toward wine with Mexico’s first all natural wine list, including his own label from Tecate, Bichi. Téllez’ simple dishes and elegant cooking are on display here – grilled seafood, shellfish stews, a lush beef tartare, freshly baked bread – and added to the warmth of the bi-level space that begs patrons to sip some wine and stay a while, he has another winner on his hands. Calle Gral. Prim 95, Colonia Juárez; amayamexico.com.

Le Tachinomi Desu

This 10 to 15-person standing only traditional Japanese-style bar from the Rokai-Kobayashi restaurant group might be Mexico City’s wine bar of the moment. The lengthy menu of natural wines and rare sakes and Japanese whiskeys isn’t cheap by any means, but it’s immaculately chosen and unlike anywhere else in the DF. There’s a small menu of rotating specials like wagyu burgers and duck tostadas. Come here late-night and you’re likely to see a chef or two. Rio Panuco 132, Cuauhtemoc; edokobayashi.com/tachinomi.

Loup Bar

This narrow, subterranean spot in Colonia Roma Norte, not far from La Glorieta de Insurgentes, has one of the DFs best selections of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines. Their wine list, expertly curated by co-owner Gaëtan Rousset, who imports natural wines from the Loire and Rhône, presents of wines from France, Chile, Mexico, and Spain that can be paired with a short menu of eclectic dishes (shakshouka, burrata, boeuf bourguignonne) from Joaquin Cardoso. Tonalá 23, Roma Norte; loupbar.mx.

Cicatriz Café

Owned by American brother sister team of food writer Scarlett Lindeman and her photographer brother Jake, Colonia Juarez’s Cicatriz is an eclectic café with lots of light and an all around great drinking selection that dabbles in natural wines, artisanal Mexican beers, mezcal, and original cocktails. The always changing food menu, which is limited in the evenings as the drinking picks up, ranges from chicken soup with poached egg to a fried chicken sandwich to market driven salads and fresh baked pies. Calle Dinamarca 44, Cuauhtémoc; cicatrizcafe.com.

Alelí

This casual café below ex-Mugaritz vet Oswaldo Oliva’s fine dining restaurant Lorea isn’t a natural wine bar, per se, but it’s a great place for drinking during the daylight hours from their short list of mostly natural, organic, and biodynamic wines expertly chosen by sommelier and food writer Arisbeth Araujo. Linger until it’s wine time after indulging in their creative takes on tamales (fluffy from ricotta cheese) and corundas (filled with huitlacoche and chicharrón) for breakfast, or come for the soulful lunch menus that change frequently, based on whatever is seasonal. There are a couple of shady, sidewalk tables that are the perfect spot for wasting the day away with a bottle. Sinaloa 141, Colonia Roma; Facebook page.

Header image of Jair Téllez’s Amaya in Colonia Juárez.