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Valle de Guadalupe's Wine Country, Baja Mexico Part 2

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.

Vendimia Festival
The 28th Festival de la Vendimia

WInes
Ultra modern Alexima winery.

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.

WInery
Located high on the hill is Las Nubes

Adobe Guadalupe
Coming down from Las Nubes through the vineyards on the way to Adobe Guadalupe

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.

Bineyards
High mountains and vineyards

Adobe Guadalupe
Court yard of the Adobe Guadalupe Winery

Adobe Guadaljupe
Just one of many of their fine wines.only

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.

La Frannes
A beautiful setting at Vina de Frannes in the foothills

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.

Clos de Tres Cantos
Lovely glass of Clos de Tres Cantos

Trfes Cantos
Very nice wines here along with a couple of cute casitas

Grape clusters
Within 5 miles the difference in the clusters is noticeable

Olives and Grapes
As seen from Tres de la Cantos

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.

L.A.Cetto
Tasting L.A. CETTO wine under the big trees with Alejandro.

L.A. CETTO
This building houses the wines for sale along with merchandise, cheeses and Olive Oil

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.

Magoni Winery
A pleasant tasting room at Magoni Winery

Olive Oil
This is the Balsamic Vinegar barrel Room for Magoni.

Magoni wines
The Magoni line of wines.

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!!!

Cava Maciel
Wine maker Jorge Maciel

Cava Maciel
Just some of the wines at Cava Maciel

Cava Maciel
The entrance to Cava Maciel and the wine dog.

Cava Maciel
Lovely Barrel Room at Cava Maciel

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.

Come out and join the fun while enjoying the beautiful weather in Puerto Peñasco and the stunning  Sea of Cortez views.  Remember Rocky Point is only a 4 hour drive from Phoenix or Tucson.

Don’t forget to share us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Feel free to contact me via email or phone at 623-298-4284.

If you any questions Contact Us at Blog@Puerto-Penasco.com

Valle de Guadalupe's Wine Country, Baja, Mexico Part 1

Vineyards
Young vineyards in the Valle de Guadalupe.

 I normally don’t do blogs on areas other than Puerto Peñasco, but over several years of doing this, I get asked a lot by tourists who winter here, what can I do to see Mexico.  Many of the Rv’ers love wine and have never heard of the Valle de Guadalupe’s Wine Country. So we decided to take an adventure and headed over to see what it looks like.

On May 17th we left Puerto Peñasco and headed over by ourselves and without a map!  If you don’t get off the toll roads it is anywhere from a 5 1/2 – 6 hour drive.  It is 3 1/2 hours to Mexicali and the rest of the trip takes you over La Rumorosa (which is windy step climb) it resembles Highway 8 between El Centro and the Tecate turn off.  This part of the road is called 2D and it is not for the faint of heart or people that have a fear of heights.  As the driver, you can’t enjoy looking around as the bus lines use it and they do fly. Seeing the vineyards, makes the trip worth it. Once you arrive in Tecate, you take Mexico 3 towards Ensenada which will take you through the Valle de Guadalupe.  It is indeed beautiful to see all the green vineyards and the stunning wineries up on the hillsides.

Kruger Winery
From shipping containers to a winery.

Our first stop was to meet our friend and winemaker Iker Turcott (KRUGER VINEYARDS) who also has a cute little sandwich shop (La Doble T) next to the winery and he has some great gourmet sandwiches.  He prepared a couple of the sandwiches, while we relaxed with a glass of Chardonnay and checked out the winery.  He is doing an outstanding job with his new Chardonnay and also does some wonderful reds.  We had time for one more winery before checking into Quinta Estrella B & B, so Iker suggested RETORNO  Vinicola.  The young man in the tasting room was very knowledgeable and helpful.  They were in the process of doing some labeling and it was all by hand.  Here we purchased a bottle of red called Palabra.  Nice wines at reasonable prices.  Most of the small wineries that we went to, do under 2,000 cases and we prefer them to the large wineries.  However, we did find a couple of the large ones that were a treat.  We checked into Quinta Estrella  and were greeted by the hostess Patricia (Beba) Sanchez Dias.  After we unpacked we sat outside with our purchase from RETORNO and some cheese and sausage.  The evenings and mornings were cool and foggy but the daytime was beautiful.  Beba’s husband Benito joined us that evening and we learned a lot  about the area.  He is Director General of Abulones Cultivados in Ensenada.  It is there that they farm raise Abalone.  We learned that an Abalone grows at the rate of 1″ per year.  No wonder they are so expensive!  It was at this winery we ran into a couple from Sonoyta which is the crossing most people use to enter Mexico and he is an architect. She invited us to stop by and say hi when we pass through.
Bruno
Bruno the wine dog at Kruger, eyeing up my dinner.

Kruger Wines
Iker Turcott explains the making of his wine at Kruger Wines

Vineyards
The view from Rancho Velasco

Day 2 of our adventure began with a wonderful breakfast with fresh fruit, pastries from Ensenada, eggs any way we liked and coffee.  Our first stop was a small winery close to the B & B called Rancho Velasco.  When we arrived , we learned that Sr. Velasco had been hospitalized but the winemaker Acessio Bellafiore, took us down to the winery.  It is located in what appeared to once be a basement to the very old Misiones de California and was constructed of thick Adobe walls that had been plastered over.  As we sampled the wines we talked about the area and he explained he had come from Italy a few years ago and was also making some of his own wines there. We purchased 3 bottles of  Misiones de California Vino Tinto Blend. He graciously poured one of his wines out of the barrel and even though it had only been in the barrel about 8 months you could tell how good it is going to be.

Rancho Velasco
Rancho Velasco

Rancho Velasco
Winemaker at Rancho Velasco explaining the process.

Valle de Guadalupe Vineyard

These little grape clusters at Vinisterra will become wine come fall.
These little grape clusters at Vinisterra will become wine come fall.

Wine
Baby grape clusters will be wine come fall.

Our next stop was VINISTERRA that started in 2002.  The young man in the tasting room, Omar, was very pleasant and knowledgeable about his product.  Here we ran into a Canadian fella with a small group, who had been to Puerto Peñasco and was telling them how beautiful it was there.  Ironically the Canadian had taken a wine making class with the girl friend of Iker Turcott and they are splitting a barrel … small world.  After doing the tasting, we decided to sit on the patio and enjoy a bottle of Domino Rosado, while taking in the vineyards and winery. We purchased  both Domino Rosado and Domino Blanco as the warm summer will soon be upon us, making us not drink our favorite reds.  Here again the white wines and Rose’s of the Valle De Guadalupe have come along way and although we are red wine drinkers, really enjoyed the weather, wine and cheese and crackers.  Next stop was TRES VALLES, a 1/2 mile down the road (as the crow flies).  Here were met again by a nice young man in the tasting room, who knew his wines and also knew Rocky PointWe tasted all of their wines and purchased 2 bottles of a red blend called Jada Rosada and Jada Blanco.  My husband and I have spent many years wine tasting in Paso Robles and Lodi, California and if there is one thing we finally learned is that you split tasting or by the end of the day they all taste good.  We did the same in the Valle as it is especially important when you are not familiar with an area.

Tres Valles
Very knowledgeable young man in the tasting room at Tres Valles.

Please see Part 2 to learn about the rest of our mini wine vacation.  I hope you enjoy this and the photos.  It was amazing to see at one winery the tiny fruit had just begun and 5 miles down the road they were about the size of peas.

CLICK HERE FOR PART II

Come out and join the fun while enjoying the beautiful weather in Puerto Peñasco and the stunning  Sea of Cortez views.  Remember Rocky Point is only a 4 hour drive from Phoenix or Tucson.

Don’t forget to share us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

If you any questions Contact Us at Blog@Puerto-Penasco.com