I did a count today. There are now eleven wineries within an hour of San Miguel de Allende that welcome visitors. Five more if you add a few more minutes to the journey.
Pick up a copy of the state government’s “Rutas del Vino de Guanajuato” and you might be tempted to check three off the list in a single day. Don’t.
Visiting wineries isn’t even really about drinking wine. Standing in a stinky dark barn listening to someone reciting winespeak and knocking back an ounce or two of seven different wines in the space of 30 minutes isn’t really that much fun. Especially by the time you get to the third winery.
To get me to visit, a winery needs something that we used to call a USP back in my days in the ad biz. USP stood for “unique selling proposition” and the USP that a few of the local wineries are now offering is food. I haven’t been to all of the Guanajuato wineries that have a restaurant (yet) but I already have a favorite.
Don Day’s Wife and I don’t have a car. But we have friends with cars. And because we don’t have a car, friends with cars often volunteer transportation to out-of-town venues. Our friends Mark and Dean have a car. Last week they suggested lunch at Vinedo Tres Raíces.
Tres Raíces is one of our most local of local wineries. Less than half an hour from most San Miguel homes. The nail-biting drive on the three lane road to Dolores takes away most of the country charm but, from the time you’re off the main road and in sight of the sculpted metal entrance, you’ll be treated to some of the finest scenery in this part of the world.
The restaurant is very big but was very empty when we lunched there. Good for covid precautions, of course, but not so good for atmosphere. One advantage of an empty restaurant though is you get the best table in the house and ours had a spectacular view over the vineyards to the southwest.
Tres Raíces calls their restaurant Terruńo and the menu is mostly upscale Mexican with some European influences. I like the menu. A lot. There are at least ten dishes on the list that I would put up near the top of my favorite things to eat.
Tres Raíces currently has eight wines on their list. I wanted to check out the bottles made with only local grapes so we started with a young and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that worked well with one of our first appetizers.
Tuna tostadas seem to be on every Mexican menu these days. If you judge yours by both the quality and quantity of the tuna, you’ll be two thumbs up for Terruño’s.
I find it almost impossible to resist what I used to call marrow bones and now call tuétanos.
Complimentary fresh baked rolls were perfect for soaking up the beef fat and a truffled sauce that comes on the side.
The pork belly tacos were juicy and generous, the melt-in-your-mouth meat working well with the crispy topping.
We stayed at the inexpensive end of the wine list with our second bottle, a Tempranillo rose. Like the white, it had a fresh, clean taste with a hint of green fruit and, again, was made from grapes grown on the property. I especially liked the $299 price.
My choice of main was another of my favorite dishes, short rib. From the marbling, the beef was obviously corn-finished and was no-knife-necessary tender.
Major plaudits too to the sides that were ordered.
Looks fooled us with the fries. There was lots of crisp and crunch despite the potatoes’ pallid complexion. And there was no cost-cutting with the amount and quality of parmesan and truffle oil.
As with every course, presentation of the roasted vegetables was almost frameable.
I stole a tiny taste of Mark’s salmon and burrata fettucine and a not so tiny taste of Dean’s perfectly seasoned ribeye. I had what was left of Don Day’s Wife’s shrimp risotto for breakfast the next morning.
Make their mains three for three.
I didn’t think much more about our lunch at Terruño until a few days later when someone emailed me to say their anniversary was coming up and they wanted somewhere very special to take their wife for dinner. I thought of three or four different upscale restaurants in Centro and then thought again. I thought about a wide expanse of glass windows and, beyond a vineyard, the sun setting over some smokey blue mountains.
“You have a car, don’t you”, I wrote back.
Terruño is located at Vinedo Tres Raíces, Carretera San Miguel de Allende a Dolores Hidalgo km73. The restaurant is open from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, Monday and Wednesday; 1:00 to 7:00 pm, Thursday and Friday; 1:00 to 9:00 pm, Saturday; 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Sunday. For reservations, go to opentable.com.mx.