Everyone knows about Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Lodi wines, but many people do not know about the wines of the Valle de Guadalupe, San Antonio, San Vincente and other regions in the Ensenada area of Baja Norte, Mexico until Laura Palacio opened El Tapeo, a wine and tapas bar. In the past 3 years she has done several wine tastings all pared with small plates to compliment the wines. In this region there are well over 200 wineries and including those south of Ensenada.
The Valle de Guadalupe, San Vicente and others are known for their award winning red wines as well as their Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc blends. On March 16th, Alex Macias of Vinos ATP y Familia introduced over 40 people to the wines of Iker Turcott (Terra Turcott) and Kruger Wines from San Antonio de las Minas. No one was disappointed. Three of the four wines could be put up against California wines any day. Iker did an outstanding job of teaching the guests how to hold the glass, smell the wine and sip the wine. He also did a great job of talking about how the wines were aged and for how long and in what type of barrels. Although many of the guests already knew some of this it was great as refresher.
About 3 years go, El Tapeo put on it’s first wine extravaganza and it was a huge success. Although it was delightful and fun, it is nice to be able to spend quality time with the wine makers and learn of their techniques and how they got started. Sr. Macias has introduced Puerto Peñasco wine drinkers to the wines of Mundano, Luneo, Dubacano, Alximia, Las Nubes, Vinos ATP y Familia and many more. We also learned that unlike California wineries, they are taking what is normally used to blend like Chenin Blanc and Nebbiolo for example, are being used as a stand alone varietal. Vinos ATP y Familia is doing a 2013 Nebbiolo that is without a doubt one of the best we have ever had.
If you go to www.bajamexicowines.com, you will be able to see the map and find pictures of many of the beautiful wineries. There are a couple of the large bulk wineries in that area like L.A. Cetto and Domecq, but these small boutique wines have so much to offer. We learned that in these growing areas there are places for lodging as well as getting a sandwich to take and have a picnic in the vineyards.
Ensenada, Tijuana and Mexicali have also come into their own with micro breweries. Many people from Rocky Point spend time in the region of Ensenada in summer as it is cooler than Rocky Point. It also gives them a chance to tour the wineries frequently. From what I have been told, the wineries of this area do not charge outrageous tasting fees unlike what every area other region in California other than Lodi, CA do.
After the event, several people have talked about chartering a bus to go over and spend a few days tasting the wines and sight seeing. If you choose to drive over, it is only about a 7 hour drive from Rocky Point to Ensenada and it is a beautiful drive. Russ Black from Puerto Peñasco also has guided tours traveling in a van. The one thing beside wineries that is a must see is La Bufadora which is about a 20 minute drive south of Ensenada. The La Bufadora also means “blow hole” which is the sound the water makes as it enters the blow hole and is awesome.
Puerto-Peñasco.com blogs will also keep you updated as to the upcoming wine and beer festivals here at El Tapeo so that you can plan your trip around them.