When you think of Baja cuisine your mind probably goes straight to tacos and margaritas, but in reality, it is so much more than that. Baja fare blends elements from traditional Oaxacan and Yucatecan cuisine with a Mediterranean flair that results in a vibrant and unique style all its own. Coastal Mexican restaurant Lola has recently introduced several Baja wines to elevate its Northern Baja cuisine, creating even more of a reason to love this LoHi favorite.
The climate in Northern Baja is very similar to the climate in the Mediterranean. This allows for a long growing season with foods like olives, tomatoes, garlic, dates, citrus and wine grapes. Plus, its location on the coast lends itself to incredibly fresh seafood. You’ll find these ingredients used in Lola’s dishes including the spicy gazpacho, aguachile and grilled oysters.
“When you eat Northern Baja food you feel like it’s more of a fusion cuisine, but that’s actually how it is in Baja,” said Callie Sumlin, PR and marketing manager at Big Red F Restaurant Group. “Baja food has no rules; it’s not an ancient cuisine. There’s a really fresh energy there and people can do whatever they want with the food and wine.”
Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe is making a name for itself among the world’s wine regions, in part by Baja-born and Bordeaux-trained winemaker Lourdes “Lulu” Martinez Ojeda. Ojeda’s expertise growing up with the quirky elements of Baja cuisine combined with her classical training in Bordeaux allow her to create complex wines that highlight the unique terroir of Northern Baja. Her wines tend to be refined and balanced with high acidity — a perfect pairing for the fresh, vibrant dishes at Lola.
Each Baja wine has its place and pairs well with Lola’s menu. The Casa Jipi Sauvignon Blanc — a collaboration between Ojeda and Casa Jipi — is bright and expressive with notes of passionfruit, fresh-cut grass, guava, grapefruit and a bone-dry finish. Bruma Winery’s Plan B Rosé was also launched with Ojeda and is exclusive to Lola. The wine was aged for six months in stainless steel to provide a fun and fruity option with raspberry, apricot, strawberry and peach notes structured along the palate with a long muskmelon and blackberry finish. Bruma’s Plan B Tinto is a red wine that highlights Ojeda’s French winemaking skills. It’s a blend of merlot, malbec, Mourvèdre and grenache aged 10 months in 20% new French oak that creates a silky mouthfeel with explosive notes of red berries, fresh cherry, eucalyptus, licorice, sage, cinnamon and clove. It’s an approachable wine that pairs well with almost anything.
Next time you’re craving an authentic Mexican meal, stop by Lola to experience something unique. Instead of a margarita, enjoy a glass of Baja wine to fully appreciate the region’s cuisine.
Lola is located at 1575 Boulder St, Denver. Open Wednesday – Thursday 4– 9 p.m., Friday 4 – 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Editor’s Note: Lola closed its doors on September 12, 2021.