Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 10am

Wines by the glass that won’t cost you an arm & a leg

Many people would like to enjoy a rich, flavorful glass of wine that accompanies food well, but that doesn’t cost the earth.


We set out to find places conveniently located throughout Guadalajara that serve compelling, quality wines, without fuss and by the glass, at prices that are affordable.

Here are some of our favorites:

Liverpool Restaurant  (Galerias Mall)

Both of Liverpool’s signature wines are of Spanish origin and made specifically for the restaurant. The wine pair (one white, one red), named “1605” after the year Spanish author Miguel Cervantes published “Don Quixote,” comprises, first, a beautifully acidic, crisp white 2014 Verdejo from Rueda that garnered a Silver Medal in 2015 at the Concours Mondial Bruxelles Silver. It compliments any lighter dish (sautéed fish with butter and garlic comes immediately to mind).  Liverpool restaurant also offers a 2016 traditional Spanish red made of the Tempranillo grape from “Tierra de Castilla” that pleases immensely given its superb drinkability and well-composed, yet not overbearing, tannic structure (ask for the Tempranillo a tiempo, or at room temperature, to better appreciate the wine’s more subtle, cherry nuances).  Both wines are reasonably priced at 50 and 55 pesos per glass (red and white, respectively), and can be found in the Liverpool restaurant at the Galerias shopping complex in Zapopan. If you haven´t already, you simply must try these wines.

Boca 21

Not to be missed.  Boca 21 is a down-to-earth restaurant with great tapas-style selections (the Spanish Tortilla is one of my favorites) with wine prices that beat all the competition.  For a single-glass price of 49 pesos (truly unbelievable!), you can usually choose between a Spanish white or red, an Argentinian Malbec (the pleasing Finca de las Moras Malbec is typically offered) and often one or two more surprises from other regions.  Featured recently are Spanish wines from the Fuenteviña house that include a rosé Tempranillo exhibiting beautiful color, a Merlot, dry with deep color, fruit-forward with notes of ripe plum, drinks easily and an excellent complement to any of the food selections offered, and a Fuenteviña Chardonnay, soft, silky with citrus blossom bouquet. Oak nuances add complexity to this pleasing white that would go well with Boca 21’s Asian wok selections or even with a fruity dessert.

Here, you can really compliment your food selection (of which there is an ample variety of good choices) with that perfect wine, and all for a song (did we mention the price?). You can also find this restaurant all over town, on Chapultepec, in Plaza del Sol and the Gran Plaza, just to name a few locations.

Il Tavolo

Here, along with hearty Italian food, the by-the-glass choices are many and varied.  A nice glass of Malbec from Argentina´s Finca de las Las Moras awaits you for only 59 pesos. Or, if you prefer domestic, for only a little more, splurge on a single-glass bottle (187mL) of Mexico´s own L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah, truly a rich, pleasing wine made in the Guadalupe Valley of Baja California, demonstrating fruitiness combined with defined tannins making it an ideal wine for most luncheon dishes.  For just a little more, a single-glass bottle of Italian  Lambrusco is available for 90 pesos if your taste goes more to the sweet, or for something more complex and austere, a single-glass bottle of 120 Santa Rita´s Cabernet Sauvignon is yours for only 99 pesos.  Locations of Il Tavolo are found throughout the city including on Avenida Naciones Unidos, at Sania Center and at Punto Sao Paulo.

City Market

Ending on a more upscale note, new and luxurious City Market store offers an ever-changing menu of brilliant and compelling wines where there will always be something to please.  Two bar-style restaurants to choose from depending on your mood, one reminiscent of a Spanish, tapas-style café and the other with the ambiance of a classic seafood restaurant with a gorgeous, in-the-round aquarium centerpiece featuring beautiful, exotic fish for your viewing pleasure.

You might find a special Portuguese Vinho Verde or Spanish Albariño to go with your seafood plate, or a classic red from Rioja or Ribera del Duero (or both) to go with City Market´s excellent paella dish that they make daily (a generous serving for only 75 pesos).  Depending when you visit, you may also find an excellent French Burgundy or unique Côtes du Rhone.   During our recent visit, City Market was serving wines by the glass from two tasting menus with prices ranging from 75 to 129 pesos per glass.  In addition to traditional offerings of Malbec from Argentina, Tempranillo from Rioja, Prosecco from Italy and Chardonnay from France, we tried a 100% Garnacha from Navarra, Spain (Ochoa Roble) that was out of this world.  Austere yet inviting, deep in color reminiscent of brick red, and with a lingering finish that was both subtle and enchanting.  All this, plus the unmistakable enticing terroir of Spain. Simply fantastic. We then sampled Domaine Perrin’s Reserve Côtes du Rhone, an exciting combination of Syrah, Grenache and Monastrel.  Here, subtlety was replaced with opulent, mouth-watering acidity and fanciful fruit and raisin flavors that burst into life upon your palate.  Rounded tannins finish this rich, worthy French selection.

As a final recommendation, don´t miss the coffee service after your meal, especially if a brilliant espresso is to your desire.  Located at Plaza Patria where shopping and movies await you (see the new Cinemex theaters with luxury and regular seating for the price conscious), and perhaps the best part, where parking is always free!

Taken together, Guadalajara offers many places where you can get a great wine at a great price without the fuss or expense of having to order a complete bottle.  Variety is the spice of life, and variety is exactly what Guadalajara offers its visitors when it comes to wines by the glass.  Enjoy!

The author, now living in Guadalajara, was formerly owner and winemaker of Villa Spalla Vineyard & Winery, a boutique winery.

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