Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Weekend in the wine country - Valle de Guadalupe

We are happy to have friends in both California's Sonoma County and Central Coast wine country.  Both locations are beautiful, with lots of hiking, biking, great food and wine, and nice friends. :) 
It seemed natural to want to explore Mexico's wine country, Valle de Guadalupe, where 90% of Mexican wine is produced. The Valley is just northeast of Ensenada, less than 2 hours south of San Diego. These Baja California wines are just starting to be exported north of the border. Here in Mexico, we've found California wines are difficult, and there is a big import tax on them. Chilean and New Zealand wines are more common as well as some largest production Mexican wines, like L.A. Cetto, that are distributed across the country.

We gladly accepted an invite from friends Robin and Katie on Agave Azul to join their brother and wife on a stop in the Valley before continuing south towards La Paz.

We crossed the border at Tecate which goes directly in the Valley
The obligatory Tecate sign

Adobe Guadalupe was our home for 2 days, a beautiful hacienda style compound w/ just 6 guest rooms 

Guard carefully writes down our license plate before entrance

The grand living room
Nancy gets some piano time

The two days and nights weren't enough.  We've heard there are over 160 wineries in the Valley with numerous fine dining restaurants to match.  We visited small boutique wineries where they produce just one red and one white yearly as well as one of the largest wineries, Monte Xanic, with annual production of 55,000 cases.  There were lots of Cabernets (pronounced with the "T" at the end), good Red blends with Grenache the prominent varietal. Also a surprising number of good Sauvignon Blancs and crisp Roses which are welcome in the hot climate.
Shindig and Agave Azul 

Vineyards at Adobe Guadalupe

Tasting Room at Sunset (Adobe Guadalupe)

More photos of Adobe Guadalupe's 60 acre grounds

The winery hosts were so welcoming, enthusiastic and usually 
bi-lingual. Many times we were the only clients there, which gave us great attention and insight into their winery operations.  After two days of tasting and tours, multi courses dinners with wine pairings, and a few country lane walks, we moved slowly down the pretty highway towards Ensenada.

It was a beautiful visit and even better knowing that we can stop again on our way back north next spring. 

Wine tasting at Vena Cava

Crush of Cabernet Sauvignon 
"CS": labeling system for the Cabernet Sauvignon

Corazon de Tierra - a beautiful night of fine dining

Katie and Nancy at entrance to Vena Cava tasting rooms
An upside down boat 

Tile entrance to  two wineries:
Tres Mujeres and  Solybarro 

2 Km/Hour: Slowing Down in Valle de Guadalupe 

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