Around 160km west of Saltillo, the Valle de Parras is the oldest wine-growing region in Mexico. Dismissed as poor quality for years, the region’s Cabernet Sauvignons in particular, which account for around seventy percent of production, are finally garnering a following in international markets. The region is anchored by the pleasant oasis town of PARRAS DE LA FUENTE, a good place to base yourself.

The biggest draw in the Valle de Parras is wine – most vineyards offer tours and tastings and can be visited on day trips from Parras de la Fuente. The following are good ones to try.

Antigua Bodega de Perote Ramos Arizpe 131, 2km west of Parras de la Fuente (84 2422 1698). Produces fine wines as well as brandy and sotol, the local spirit. Call ahead for tours and visits.

Las Bodegas de Casa Madero Carretera 102 Paila-Parras km 18.5, Hacienda San Lorenzo, 8km north of Parras de la Fuente (84 2422 0055). This is the largest and oldest Parras wine producer, with roots going back to the Americas’ first winery, established here in 1597 by the Spaniards. You can take free 30min tours of the facilities and museum, buy and taste the wine and admire the colonial Hacienda de San Lorenzo on site.

Las Bodegas El Vesubio Madero 36, at Andrés S Viesca, Parras de la Fuente. Established by Italian Nicolás Nicolielli in 1891 in downtown Parras, this is a smaller operation. The shop is open daily.

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