In my previous blog, I covered the first two days of wine tasting in the Valle de Guadalupe. Here you will find part 2 of our wine tasting adventure there. This region is only 20 miles northeast of Ensenada Mexico and is nestled in a fertile valley surrounded by high mountains. It receives fog in the morning and nights but warm sunny days. Grapes are grown in this area but also they source grapes from the regions of San Vicente and Oso Negros. Due to the drought the past 7 years, most growers are using irrigation but many are still dry farming. From what we learned, land is very reasonable, but it is all about water rights.
This region also holds many wine tasting events with the biggest one coming up July 26 – August 19. It is called “Fiesta de la Vendimia”. There are wine and food events held at many wineries as well as gourmet wine dinners. You will also find events held in Tijuana as well as Ensenada. It will showcase some 70 wineries from the region.
Day 3 found us starting out at ALEXIMA WINERY. It is not only a winery but a restaurant and the building is very modernistic. I was first introduced to their wines at El Tapeo Wine and Tapas in Puerto Peñasco at a wine dinner. They were featuring 4 of their wines for tasting and they were very nice.
Our next stop through the back roads was LAS NUBES which is nestled into the side of a mountain. This winery is not only built first class, so are their wines. It was a Saturday when we were there and it was packed but the patio is large and people just joined others at the tables. It offers a sweeping view of the Valle de Guadalupe to see while tasting the scrumptious wines. Here we settled on the 2015 Syrah to add to our growing collection. The young man behind the tasting bar asked if we would like the presentation in English or Spanish and we had to say English. Even though it was very busy, he took the time to explain about the wines.
Here you will find whites and roses’, young reds, reserves that are mainly 2011 -2012 and a wonderful blends with names like Cumulus and Nimbes, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Nebbiolo. Any of them will make a great addition to your wine cellar.
About 1 hour later we were back on the dirt road in search of ADOBE GUADALUPE. The tasting room is in an old Mission style building with several tasting areas. Although packed with people, the tasting people did a very nice job of explaining things. As we entered the tasting room there was a Food Truck parked next to it and the food looked so good.. but we were there to taste wine. After sampling 6 wines we decided on the Jardin Secreto and a blend called Uriel Rosado. We could not have been more happy with our purchases.
After making a couple of wrong turns we finally found VINA de FRANNES. I had previously learned that an old co-worker of mine was bringing people from Tucson, Arizona to see the region and so we agreed to meet them at 3. Despite us making a few wrong turns we got there just ahead of them. They did a tasting with one of the marketing people while we did our tasting by a great guy and Catalina Martinez, who is in sales and marketing. All of the wines were excellent, so we decided to have lunch there and enjoy the Chardonnay while over looking the vineyards and learning about the history of the winery. Step into the tasting area where you can choose from 8 wines to purchase such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosato and an array of reds, as well as olives and olive oils.
My husband Bill choose pasta and shrimp and it was delicious. I saw Pizza on the menu and it had my name written all over it. It was done in a wood fired oven, so a nice char on the crust. It was served on a wooden board that had been dressed with Balsamic, so as you picked it up the glaze stayed on the bottom of the crust. I also ordered a small salad and the dressing had Balsamic and coffee in it and I must say it is the first time I ever finished a salad. Lastly, I could not resist the Basil ice crèam and it did not disappoint me.
The day ended with the fog rolling in, so we drove back to Quinta Estrella B & B and opened a bottle of wine before getting ready for our last day of tasting.
On day 4 we started out the day again with a great breakfast of fresh fruit, chiliquiles, pastories and fresh bread. Our first stop was CLOS de TRES CANTOS. It is an eclectic array of buildings and a lot of common areas outside. It was very foggy and quiet cold, but the young lady in the tasting room made us feel right at home. They do the tasting sitting down at long wooden tables. We enjoyed all of the wines but the one that we purchased was called Hoja en Blanco and was a crisp white blend. The vineyard is surrounds also by Olive trees as a great deal of Olive Oil is produced in that region. They also have 2 Casitas for rent and the view is very nice. The winery and casitas sit up on a slight hilltop.
Next we decided to go to L.A.CETTO, even though it is very large just to say we saw it. When we arrived after following a tour bus down a long dirt road and past several vineyards, they had a booth set up to pay for the tastings. I choose the Premium one .. $100 pesos per person so I bought 2, no more sharing. We only get the less expensive L.A. Cetto here at our local Sam’s Club, so you can imagine our surprise when we found they make some really good wine for the price under the Don Luis label. They had a Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot. We purchased the 2 whites and the Merlot. As were walking around we saw a man carrying a case of Chambruele Champagne, which we did not know it was made by them. So that completed our case of wine. Alejandro, our young man pouring the tastes also had been to Puerto Peñasco and loved it. They also have a more expensive tasting that includes more, but we were very pleased with ours. We also found some found some local cheese that had black olives in it and some Olive Oil, all of which are very good. So glad we gave it a shot.
Our next winery of the day was a real sleeper called MAGONI. Beautiful grounds surrounded the tasting room and were greeted promptly as we arrived. We learned a lot from the gentleman in the tasting room including the fact that they are making Balsamic Vinegar that is being aged for 18 years. They have it in a barrel room that smelled so good when we walked in. It is pricey for every day use, however to just have with some crusty bread would be wonderful. We loved their 2017 Cab and Chardonnay so that was our next purchase. This was the only winery we found, that like California, when you pay for the tasting, you keep the glass. Plus for my birthday Bill bought me a shirt that says SAVE WATER .. DRINK WINE! I couldn’t agree more!!!
Next stop was to CAVA MACIEL. We had met the winemaker Jorge Maciel several years ago at a wine dinner and tasting at El Tapeo in Rocky Point. He was surprised that I had kept his card all this time. It was so nice to have the tasting done with him personally as he is an excellent wine maker. If you decide to travel to this wine area, make sure you mark this winery as one to stop at. He does a lot of traveling around Mexico and the United States to promote his wine and the region. We bought a bottle of Vino Luna and can’t wait to have it. Next time we will get more reds than we did this trip. His winery overlooks several vineyards and is very comfortable. The front opens to the mountains and vines and there are tables out in front for larger groups.
By this time the fog was rolling back in so he headed back to La Doble T for our sausage sandwich which was outstanding. Fresh bread and the sausage was better than a Wisconsin brat. Next time we’ll bring some of those back with us.
We can’t wait to go back again to this wonderful region of Mexico and hopefully spend more time and have the chance to go into Ensenada to try out the micro breweries of which there are many. So Monday morning, we got up and had fruit, bread and coffee before packing up the JEEP and saying adios Valle de Guadalupe. See you soon.
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