Our readers are always asking about what there is to do in Rocky Point. From Sandy:
We will be coming mid December and staying for a couple of months. What is there to do and see while we are there? The first week we will have family with little children, so need to entertain them. We are staying in Las Conchas on the beach and wonder how far it is from the town.
Mid December will provide you with nice sunny warm days but the evenings do cool off, so bring light jackets. During the time when you have the little ones here, you can take them to the tide pools when the tide is out and let them explore. They will enjoy getting sea shells as well as maybe finding a baby octopus in those tide pools. You can also take them to the aquarium which is located behind Capone’s on Sinaloa Blvd. They will also have a learning experience if you take them to CEDO which is located in Las Conchas. Here they will be able to see a full size skeleton of a whale. There is also a gift shop with some great books on the area. Another thing you can do with the children as well as adults is go back north of town to visit the Pinacate Volcano Visit Center. Here you can watch a movie about the area and they are interactive things to view inside the center.
Now for the adults. Rocky Point has 3 golf courses for those golfers. One at Las Palomas, one at the Isla Del Mar and one at the Mayan Palace. All of these will provide a challenge. The course at the Mayan has several holes that parallel the Sea of Cortez. If you have people that love to fish, there is no better place than in the Sea of Cortez. There are several fishing charters that will take them out and everything is included in the charge. One of pour favorites is the Pancho Villa,which is a family owned cabin cruiser. This time of year, depending on how far you go out or for how long you want to go, they will catch Grouper, Red Snapper, Trigger fish (which are not huge) but do put up a fight, just to name few. The crew will clean and fillet them for you to have at your beach front home.
For the ladies, there is great shopping on Rodeo Drive. here you will find Fabiloa’s Beach Appareland accessories, Su Casa (gifts for the home) as well as many shops caring items made in Mexico such as Talavera pottery. A must place to shop is Mercedes Rusticos located on the hill as you are coming out of the Malecon and across from the Friendly Dolphin. Here you can purchase complete sets of dishes made in Mexico as well as other glasses and other things for the home. Check out the Blue Marlin for the best coconut shrimp around. They can also hang out at the Boo Bar, which is located above the shrimp market. Sit out under the big palapa and take in the sunsets. You will find plenty to keep you occupied.
Over the years of being in Puerto Peñasco, I have seen so much generosity from the American community that live here. It can be something as simple as adopting a family for the Christmas Season to adopting puppies form Barb’s Dog Rescue and everything in between. The expats living in Mexico are such a generous bunch.
One of the oldest charities is The Santa Claus Club in Cholla Bay and it has been spearheaded since it started in 1983 by John Fowler of JJ’s. The first year they had 40 children and fast forward to 2017 when they served 12,000 children. Throughout the year, John works tirelessly in getting donations of clothes, blankets, etc. and distributing them in the barrio (poor) areas of Rocky Point. He starts every year gathering toys and money to provide a meal and toys and bikes to hundreds of children from the area at Christmas.
The largest one would be the Rocky Point Rally. This year was the 18th anniversary. The bikers make a donation when they register as well as funds from a local Poker Run and other things. In November of 2018, the founder Oscar Palacioalong with myself , Sami Rivera and Linda Plant, presented cash to our 8 local charities along with Mayor Kiko Munro. The total funds raised came to $415,050.00 pesos. This was a banner year for the monies collected. We have 22 volunteers who spend 2 days registering the riders and that group of volunteers has been together for nearly 8 years. They love to help the bikers and also are able to help them navigate the area. The group of local riders and some from the USA also come down on King’s Day in January to pass out toys to the children in the poor areas of town. When the registration notice goes out for the rally, there is also a note about bringing toys. So think about this for next year.
A new charitable group has been formed and it benefits the woman who have been abused or need a place to stay and get their lives together. This group is called “Women Helping Women”and was formed by Nancy Britos, a resident of Puerto Peñasco for a few years. They had a shelter, that had been falling apart but with the help of the other volunteers and donations, they have been able to fix the roof as well as pay the electric bill ahead for the winter months. On November 27th, the held their first fund raiser breakfast in the Sonoran SKY at Cielito Lindo Restaurant. Here 80 women gathered to support the women who are so less fortunate than they are. The attendees were served a wonderful breakfast while enjoying a classical guitarist. This was followed by the raffle drawing, auction and Silent auction. The sales from tickets was $1600.00 USD, sponsorships raised aprx. $1800.00 USD and Raffle ticket sales raised $2315.00 before some expenses. A wonderful time was had by all and a heartfelt thank you to the volunteer team who made it possible. This won’t be the the last you hear of this group. The committee was headed by Nancy Britos and along with Linda Plant, Sylvia Cox, Susan Sharp, Charlotte Keller and Carole Robertson put in many hours putting this together. They will be making gift bags for Christmas so if you have anything you would like to donate, please let one of these ladies know.
Although not a fund raiser, the Las Conchas homeowners group, provide candy and other goodies for the children of Rocky Point at Halloween. The homeowners dress in costume as do the local children and the look on their faces when they see all the candy is priceless.
People like Linda Plant also do a lot of buying of back to school supplies to make sure the children are off to a great start on the beginning of the school year. Thanks to Linda and all the people who donate and bring the items down from the USA. Another project of Linda Plant and Kris Nichols from the Satisfied Frogis to collect blankets for the needy. This year their goal is 250 new or gently used blankets. Also if you pass by a Dollar Store, it is amazing how much you can buy in toys for the children with very little money. These will be passed out with the help of the Tequila Bar the weekend of Christmas.
Barb’s Dog Rescue, please stop by.The last group I will touch base on is Barb’s Dog Rescue, which has been in operation for 17 years in Rocky Point and was started by Barb Mumaugh. This lady works seems to work 24/7. The rescue is funded by donation and fund raising only. Here again there are many volunteers that go out and help socialize with the puppies and older dogs by holding them and loving them, so that they know the kindness of humans, as they have seen the worst. Every year she adopts out over 1100 dogs of all ages. These dogs have been abused and abandoned not only in Rocky Point but other cities near by. To learn of the horror stories these helpless creatures have gone through makes you cry.
These are just a few of the chartable groups in Rocky Point. We hope you will help one of them.
Now is the time to plan to go to Puerto Peñasco for late fall and the Christmas season. Fall brings Mermaid Markets, Art in the Park in Las Conchas over Thanksgiving, stunning sunset cruises and the traditions of the Christmas season in Mexico.
Stop by Latitude 31 to see the Christmas Village and train and it is free. While you are there have a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Take time to do a Sunset Cruise on the Pancho Villa or the Eco Fun or any of the other boats here that will not disappoint you. Just getting out on the water is such a great way to unwind. You can view the Dolphins that will entertain your boat and you can sit back and have a Margarita or cold beer. There is something about fall and winter sunsets that are so amazing.
If you are lucky enough to be here in December, you can watch all the Posada’s or go over to City Hall and see the decorations that are set up. Plaza de Madre is where you will find the animals from the Nativity setting. Children love to see all the animals.
The Posadas start on December 16 and end on the 24th or as it is called “Noche Buena” Christmas Eve. In many parts of the world they celebrate the 12 days of Christmas but in Mexico it is 9 days. Las Posada translated means in English as “the inn or the lodging”
Neighbors and family meet and go from house to house every night reenacting the travels of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. When they arrive at the last house, they are given passage and it is here where the party starts. Before entering the home they recite something like this. This song is called “Canto Para Pedir Posada” which means to ask for shelter. This is a shortened version.
Pilgrims, outside) “Mi nombre es José,
Mi esposa es María.
y madre va ser,
del Divino Verbo.” “My name is Joseph,
My wife is Mary.
and mother to be
of the Divine Word.” (Inn keepers, inside) “Posada os brindo,
y disculpa os pido,
no os reconocía.” “The inn I give you,
and offer an apology,
for not recognizing you.”
The people arrive carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary and little candles as they walk from place to place. Once admitted, they are treated to food and a drink called Ponche con Piquete, which is made fruits, cinnamon and Brandy or Rum or a beer called Noche Buena. This beer is only found in the Christmas season. After everyone has finished, the Pinata is hung and the children start to break it open. The families spend a lot of time talking and enjoying the sounds of glee of the children. On Christmas Eve, most families go to midnight mass.
The Christmas season extends until January 6th which is known as “Kings Day”and in traditional fashion, this is when the children receive their Christmas gifts.
If you are in Puerto Peñasco on January 6th, you may want to join in the parade to one of the poorer areas of the city and see the gifts that the American community and motorcycle riders have collected for these children.
This holiday that began in the south of Mexico will begin on October 31, 2018 and end on November 3rd here in Puerto Peñasco. There are events held allover the city. Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico with much tradition. The holiday dates back centuries, but it wasn’t until recent years was not celebrated in the Northern part of Mexico.
During these times, the families go to the cemeteries to clean and paint the grave sites. It is here that the families of the deceased gather to spend the night at the grave decorating and celebrating with the food and drink of their loved one. In the grocery stores you find the cute little sugar skulls and Pan Muerto ( a sweet bread) that is shared with family. You will also find Marigold Flowers and Plants at the local nurseries, that decorate the graves. At the cemetery you also find trucks full of the colorful flowers. This is a joyful way to celebrate the death of a family member.
The celebrations start on October 31st and is known as All Hallows Day, which is a day to celebrate the children who have crossed over. It culminates on November 4th at the Cholla Mall Road with the judging of the altars and the Catrinas. Catrinas are the skelton figurines that are made of paper mache or porcelain and come in all sizes and painted in bright colors. There a couple of places in Rocky Point that carry a nice selection the Catrinas and they are Latitude 31 Gift Shop and Mercedes Rusticos in the Old Port.
Here is partial schedule of the events going on. November 1: All Saints Day November 2 & 3: Set up of the Altars on the Cholla Bay Mall or “Shack’s 5th Avenue) November 3: Festival Dia De Muertos offering at the Sea of Cortez. Here decorated floats will parade in the harbor. November 4: Judging of the Altars and Catrinas
Fall is the time of festivals in Puerto Peñasco. October 18th – 21st, Rocky Point will host the 1st class XLVI Cervantino Festival. The event is held on the Malecon area of the city. Here you can enjoy music, art, food and more while over looking the Sea of Cortez. The festival is family friendly so bring everyone.
This festival features musicians from all over Mexico along with local dancers and musicians. Below is a list of when each group will be performing and the times. Come and enjoy the culture of the music and dance that is so well known all over Mexico and we are so lucky to have them entertain us.
XLVI FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL CERVANTINO EXTENSIÓN PUERTO PEÑASCO 18 AL 21 DE OCTUBRE 2018
Get there early to the Plaza de Governors in the Old Port Thursday, October 18th
7:00 Blessing by Etnia Madre Tohono O’odham
7:10 Áfrika Duste big show
8:00 Inaguration: Entrega de reconocimientos al Escritor Guillermo Munro Palacio, Universidad de Sonora Unidad Regional Norte-Caborca por su 40 Aniversario, Hermanamiento de Ciudad Cultural con Tecuala Nayarit. Palabras de autoridades.
8:30 Presentation by Ballet Folklórico Mextil de Tecuala
9:30 Concert with María Inés Ochoa “La Rumorosa”
Friday October 19
6:00 Danza Alerta Amber by the Academy Causa y Efecto
6:10 Singer song writer Lian Fertin in concert (Argentina)
6:40 Danza de los concheros por el Ballet Folklórico Magisterial-Casa de la Cultura bajo la dirección de Adan Bautista
7:00 Concierto del Tenor Francisco J Rodríguez (Estados Unidos)
8:00 Samandar Khan Manganiar Rajashtani Folk Music & Dance Group (India)
9:15 Danzas Polinesias by Angélica Sotomayor Martínez
9:35 Banda de Marcha Municipal bajo la dirección del Maestro Rubén Barrera
10:05 Flor Amargo in concert
Callejoneadas con la Estudiantina Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado (Álamos)
Saturday October 20
6:00 Orquesta de Cámara & Orfeón in concert “Unidos por la paz” (200 members)
7:00 Concert by the group 34 Puñaladas (Argentina)
8:40 Grupo Danza Folklórica “Sones de mi Tierra de Evangelina Magaña” (San Luis, R.C.)
9:00 Grupo Luceros Danza Toninho Ferragutti (Brasil)
10:00 Grupo Danza Folklórica “Sones de mi Tierra de Evangelina Magaña” (San Luis, R.C.)
10:20 Big Band Jazz de México Callejoneadas with la Estudiantina Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado (Álamos)
Sunday October 21
5:00 Ensamble y Coro Musical bajo la dirección de Germán Esquer Delgado
5:50 Intérprete Rosael Hernández Hernández (Islas Canarias, España)
6:00 Coral Luis María Valencia bajo la dirección de Aracely Lozano Herrera y Martín Ramírez Domínguez
7:00 Make a Wish de Elite Dance bajo la dirección de Pablo Fabián Jáuregui
8:00 María Cristina Plata (Colombia)
9:00 Programa especial de cierre con grupos artísticos de la Universidad de Sonora URN: Grupo Contraste y Búhos Cantores bajo la dirección de Marcela Denogean Torres; Danza bajo la dirección de Marisol Ivette Izaguirre Montaño. Sunday October 21
The summer traffic is finally winding down and the schools are back in session, so that means that fall should be following by shortly. With fall comes a lot of events for everyone.
If you have never been here on September 15th for the call to El Grito or the “Call for Independence” it is quite a production. This tradition dates back to 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave the call in Dolores, Guanajuato to gather all the people to revolt against the Spanish colonizers. It is on this evening that all eyes are on City Hall at the intersection of Benito Juarez and Blvd. Freemont. City Hall and the surrounding streets are all decorated with Mexican Flags and red, white and green streamers. Normally they attach fireworks to the light posts. This is the night where the previous Mayor passes the guard to the new Mayor. In this case Mayor Kiko Munro will be Mayor for a second term. It is here he is surrounded by his family and friends and makes a speech starting at 11:00 p.m. The crowds are huge so if you want to see the festivities, make sure to get there early to find a place to park. Throughout the city there will celebrations in the streets with bands, food vendors and vendors selling Mexican Flags and apparel. At the end of the ceremony, the crowd will sing the Mexican National Anthem and then the party begins.
The long awaited Grand Openingof Garufa is scheduled for September 28. This restaurant chain from Zacatecas has been around for many years, but this is the 1st one opening in a tourist beach city. While you are visiting Rocky Pointmake sure you add this to your place to have a great steak or seafood. It is located next to Chango’s between the Sonoran SPA and the Sonoran SEA.
Planning ahead for a visit to Rocky Point in October mark your calendar for the Dirty Beach Run. The event takes place October 20th and will consist of an obstacle course and a 5K run.
Check out these events for October. On the 6th is the One Club Open, on the 13th you will have the Rocky Point Beach Vollyball Tournament,also on the 13th you can view the Regattafrom Sandy Beach. One of the great cultural events will be held October 18 – 20th in the Old Port and it is the Cervantino Festival . The last event which is held in Cholla Bay is the Cornhole Tournament. This event draws huge crowds so get there early for a good parking spot. We will give you more information on each event later in September.
Welcome to Puerto Peñasco. We know it is hot and muggy but let’s check out a couple of places you must go to when you are here. You need to treat yourself to a Piña Colada or try some of the best Sonoran Hot Dogs anywhere.
Our first stop will be to Chon’s Sonoran Style Hot Dogs on Constitution, across from the ABC Bus Line. He has been serving up these dogs for as long as I can remember. When I arrived today his son was working the stand and I asked if his papa was OK and he said “Day Off”. There were several people eating the dogs there as well as people waiting in line for dogs to go. When I spoke with the papa one day, I asked him how many dogs he sold a day and said it was somewhere between 200 and 300. WOW. He has a simple cart that he tows everyday and this is where he cooks the dogs on a flat top after they have been wrapped in thin bacon. How could this not be good? Bacon on anything is good. Then he grills onions and whole jalapenos for your enjoyment. The cart has a warming bin for the tender buns. Now he prepares your order by putting the crispy dog on the bun and starts to build from there with either the grilled onions or chopped raw ones, pickles, peppers and more. There are several things to add next such as mayo, ketchup, mustard, a thin avocado sauce and you are good to go. If you want , just ask for the Jalapeno on the side. When my husband and I go, we have 2 dogs each and a small Coke Cola. Nothing better than a REAL Mexican Coke Cola to top of your lunch and all of this will not break your wallet.
Next stop is on the corner of Calle 13 and Plutarco Elias Calle. Here you will find Lupe Castro making those yummy Piña Coladas served in a fresh Pineapple, complete with slices of fresh Pineapple on the side, a little umbrella and a cherry. This goes on the top of the fresh mixture of cream of coconut milk and pineapple juice which has been blended. Lupe has been on this corner for over 10 years come spring, summer, winter or fall. He says he sells on average of 25-30 of these delightfully refreshing drinks a day. He blends everything up in front of you and when he made ours he also had enough to gives us 2 10 oz. cups in addition. Lupe has a great smile and every time we pass him he always waves and smiles, so how could we not stop. Two drinks were only 180 pesos and well worth it. This corner is very busy this time of the year, as everyone is wanting to rent those quads and rhinos. Perhaps this would be a great stop after you have been out on the quads and rhinos in the heat to cool off. Lupe is also available for private parties.
I hope you will support these 2 gentleman as they are so hard working and I know they appreciate our business.
Sonora happens to be the 2nd largest states in Mexico. Because of it’s size and terrain it is a very diverse state. It has in some area the feel of the old west whereas in others it is filled with modern development and condos such as PuertoPeñasco. The best description of the region would be to compare it to the bread basket of Central California from Bakersfield to Mendocino and every place in between. With regards to the meats and foul grown it is much like parts of Texas and Arizona. Here, as you drive through Sonora, you will see cowboy’s working the cattle ranches while other workers are picking crops.
Let’s start with the region of Caborca which is located only 90 miles from Puerto Peñasco. It is probably best known for it asparagus and olives which are internationally shipped. Here in Rocky Point in winter and spring we get an abundance of asparagus that is sold on the street corners and in the fish market and it is wonderful. A kilo will cost you about $1.50 USD. This area is known for its grapes, snow peas, oranges, fig, dates, pecans (10% of over 76.000 tons in Mexico) and other nuts as well as hay. If you do a day trip to Caborca in the winter months, you can find the oranges being sold everywhere and that holds true in Puerto Peñasco. You will also find vendors selling pecans and peanuts all over. At Christmas time you will find truck loads of corn which come from the Obregon area and these are used in the making of Tamales. Do not confuse it with sweet corn as it is not.
Years ago as you drove to Caborca and Pitiquito, there were several distilleries on the highway. They are now long gone sadly. The grapes are shipped to the Mexico City for distilling into brandy and the Thompson seedless grapes are either dried for raisins or packaged as grapes for eating. In the Caborca region there are DOLE processing plants for the asparagus and raisins and it that is fun to stop and visit them. If you do go to Pitiquito, please stop in and visit the leather factory to find some stunning hand made leather purses, jackets and vests.
In Puerto Peñasco, we are of course known for our shrimp, manta ray, squid, crab, snapper and other fish. Much of our shrimp and crab are exported as well. Generally speaking Mexico does a huge exportation business with the United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Russia, Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand and China.
In Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora you will find that they are know for the beef, pork and Chicken. Bachoco is the largest grower of chicken in Mexico and it exports a lot of it to Tyson Foods in the United States. Bachoco also grows Turkeys here and in this area is where you will find the egg farms. In Mexico you will find many stores do not refrigerate the eggs and one of the reasons is that they sell them so fast. Remember that once they are refrigerated you can not let them sit out. Sonoran Beef is without a doubt some of the best beef anywhere. It is not injected with a lot of hormones thus you don’t always have a lot of marbling in it. It is however, full of flavor and tender. We have a meat market here in in Rocky Point called JC’s and here you will find briskets, beautiful choice or select steaks, roasts and they will grind your hamburger your way. They will also cut steaks to your size except for the filet (which you need to buy the whole filet) and then if you want they will cut it. One of the largest and most popular beef producers is a company called Rancho El 17. The company started in 1991 and are based out of Hermosillo. In 2004 they started exporting their choice, prime and natural beef to Asian countries. They are known for their well marbled tender steaks and you can actually order online and have them shipped to Rocky Point. They offer everything from New York, Filet, Rib Eye, Prime rib, Hamburger, Carne Asada, Arrachera and even dried Machaca and Carne Asada.
The next largest growing region would be Obregon which is located approximately 3 hours from Hermosillo. This is the heart of the growing region in Sonora. Here you will find Broccoli, Squash, Pumpkin, Scallions, Chilis, Cauliflower, Watermelon, Cucumber, Radish, Cabbage, Tomatoes, Cantaloupe, Honey Dew along with Wheat, Cotton and Corn. As you take some of the back roads you will see the fields growing full of crops.
Now for a lesson on Tequila. The one thing both Bacanora and Tequila have in common is that they are a distilled alcoholic drink. The main difference is that in order for Tequila to be called Tequila is that it must be made from the Blue Agave. Tequila is also a regional drink but is highly promoted world wide. Again the main difference in Bacanora and Tequila is with Tequila you won’t get that smoky taste.
Tequila comes from the city that bears it’s name and it is located in the State of Jalisco which is about an hour drive north of Guadalajara. As you travel along the highway, you will see fields, as far as you can see, of the Blue Agave and they are in all stages of growth. The first Tequila was produced in the 16th century in the town of Tequila. The Cuervo family was the first licensed distillery and the Sauza family was the first to start exporting. Over 300,000 plants are harvested annual. The town of Tequila is a quaint little town with cobblestone streets and not far off the toll road. You can see the larger distilleries as you enter the town. As you drive through the streets you will be greeted on every block by stores selling and tasting Tequila. The joy of doing this is that you will be able to see all the beautifully decorated bottles in all shapes and sizes. Recently we have seen some of these earthen vessels at COSTCO and TOTAL WINE in the Phoenix area. Below are some of the various bottle you can find in the United States as well as some great brand names in pretty bottles here in Puerto Peñasco.
The soil around Tequila is that of red volcanic rock which is great for drainage. There are 2 regions where the plants are grown and are know as the lowlands (which produce smaller plants, 150 lbs that give off an herbaceous taste) and the highlands will grow plants that can reach 240 lbs and they have a sweeter flavor. In the area there are over 100 distilleries that produce over 900 labels. The men that tend these Blue Agave from the planting to the harvesting are called Jimadors and they are the ones to say when a plant is ready to be harvested.
If you go to Guadalajara you can take the Tequila Train to the town of Tequila while sitting back and sipping while taking in the country side. If you have time, spend a few days there relaxing as you tour the various factories. There is lodging, golf and some great food along the way. Transcend yourself into thinking how this all started so many years ago.. Maybe if you are lucky, you can help break open a pina at one of the factories.
The process is very similar to Bacanora. Once harvested and the leaves stripped away, they are put in ovens and baked. From there the are either mashed or shredded. The juice is then put into either stainless steel or wooden tanks where they will ferment for 3 -7 days. Like Bacanora, Tequila is distilled twice and then either bottled or put into wooden barrels for further aging in order to give it that wonderful amber color and lovely flavor. Unlike wine that gets better with aging in the bottles, it does not change in the bottles. They say it is best to drink tequila within the first 2 years after opening it due to oxidation.
There are now 4 categories of tequila. 1) Blanco or Silver ages less than 2 months in stainless, 2) Resposado(rested) means it is aged from 2 months to 1 year in small oak barrels, 3) Anejo must be aged from 1 year to 3 years in small oak barrels and 4) Extra Anejo (this category just started in 2006) and it must rest 3 years in barrels.
By Mexican law, as I said, Tequila can be only produced in Jalisco, however now they have added certain cities with the States of Guanajuato, Michoacán,Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Also by law all Tequila has to be 38% but to ship to the United States it must be 40% or 80 proof.
When shopping for Tequila in Puerto Peñasco, check out The Tequila Factory, which is located on Benito Juarez near the railroad crossing. Here you find Manny’s Beach Club tequila and it is produced only for them in Jalisco. The have all 4 of the categories as well as many delicious flavored ones. Have Fernando tell you the story of how it started before he starts giving you samples. He will make up some great concoctions for you.
Whether you try Bacanora or Tequila, sit back, sip and enjoy them. Watch our blogs and you can plan a trip down during a Bacanora and Tequila Festival.
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 Syrahto 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.