Experience the winery, dining and beauty of Baja California, Mexico
Jan 12, 2014
By Fernanda Beccaglia
Approximately only 10 percent of Baja California’s wine gets exported, meaning you will need to make a trip to the area, specifically Valley of Guadalupe, to sample it for yourself–personally, I don’t mind.
Some of the popular varieties you will find include Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Malbec and Barbera.
If you are planning a trip any time soon to Mexico’s Baja California, here are my top suggestions.
Editor’s Top Choice
2005 Zinfandel Cru Garage, Torres Alegre y Familia
Graduated in Agricultural Engineering, Víctor Torres Alegre, owner and enologist, is the first enologist in Mexico to have a Ph.D. in the Science of Enology.
He received his doctorate from the University of Bordeaux, France, and has formulated innovative ideas and practices for winemaking that have been accepted throughout.
Its winery blends delicately into the dusty Baja Californian landscape, amid vineyards and olive groves.
His wine reflects his devoted passion and dedication to winemaking for over 30 years.
- Cru Garage: Zinfandel, 75 percent Tempranillo – 25 percent Petit Verdot, Grenache and Nebbiolo
- La Llave Blanca: (50 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 40 percent Chenin Blanc and 10 percent Moscatel)
- La Llave Tinta: (70 percent Cabernet Franc, 20 percent Merlot and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon)
Tru Miller (owner); Daniel Lonneberg (enologist)
Miller’s adobe-style winery and breathtaking Bed & Breakfast has been operating since 1998 on 60 acres of vineyards. Adobe Guadalupe’s varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Shiraz and some Viognier.
It also comes with a spiritual and ethereal side—all their wines are named after archangels.
- Kerubiel (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault y Viognier)
- Miguel (Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache y Tempranillo)
- Gabriel (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec)
Álvaro Álvarez is the owner and winemaker of Alximia. Its signature wine is called Pira, made of 100 percent Barbera.
Phil Gregory is the owner and winemaker, as well as the owner of the adjacent Villa del Valle hotel.
Signature wines are Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon
Hugo D’ Acosta (enologist)
Signature wine is Encuentro de Tintos (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Nebbiolo)
Casa de Piedra
Owned by Mexico’s wine legend, Hugo D’Acosta, Casa de Piedra is uniquely situated near San Antonio de las Minas. This place was built in the late 1990s using rustic metals, reclaimed woods, and of course, plenty of rough stone.
- Vino de Piedra (50 percent Tempranillo and 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon)
- Piedra del Sol (100 percent Chardonnay)
Gustavo Ortega (owner); Jesús Rivera (enologist)
- Perseus (70 percent Nebbiolo – 30 percent Sangiovese)
- Capricornius (100 percent Chardonnay)
- Galileo (100 percent Tempranillo)
Owner and winemaker of La Lechuza is Ray Magnussen. Signature wines in this winery are Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Cava Maciel’s signature wines are Merlot and Vino de Luna (Chardonnay). Jorge Maciel is the owner and winemaker at this winery.
Noel Téllez (owner) and Andrés Blanco (winemaker)
- Ulloa (Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Petit Syrah)
- Nebbiolo Rosado
Where to Eat in Baja California
Without a doubt this is one of my favorite “best bites, must try” top destinations in Baja California. Don’t expect fancy tablecloth or even a chair to sit down.
This is a humble street cart that serves the freshest seafood, tacos and salsas in Ensenada.Skip it all, but don’t miss La Guerrerense.
Not that you won’t fall in love with Guadalupe Valley without anything else in it, but Corazón de Tierra, situated next to La Villa del Valle is a hymn and worship to nature offering modern Baja cuisine that incorporates local and seasonal ingredients.
Its menu is based on the availability of the property’s seasonal garden.
It’s nature that decides,” said chef Diego Hernández. Corazon de Tierra recently earned spot 30 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.
While I was there, I thought I was in heaven made in Italy, hence the name El Cielo. It comes with the exact latitude on how to get there: Latitud 32.
Go ready to touch the sky with every bite, and experience the unique and creative touch of South African chef Ryan Steyn.
El Sarmiento almost has it all — incredible unpretentious food, breathtaking view and superb service.
Chefs Guillermo Barreto and Tania Livier truly understand and humbly elevate the fresh seasonal ingredients that the region has to offer.
Yet El Sarmiento still has lot of work to do when it comes to providing safety measures to its customers. So if you go, be cautious and mindful of your surroundings. Not only El Sarmiento, but Mexico is still miles away from making sure tourists are safe and will be happy to return.
Where to Stay in Guadalupe Valley
As mentioned before, unlike other wine regions, Guadalupe Valley is pretty raw and rustic, which in my opinion makes it even more charming, seductive and appealing. It is perfect to travel and be discovered.
If you want to rest on your way to Guadalupe Valley, look no further. Las Rocas Resort & Spa, in Rosarito Beach, is just the place.
At Las Rocas you will think that Greece and Mexico had met half way to create this spectacular and unostentatious hotel with spacious hacienda-style, ocean-view rooms equipped with simplicity. Prices too will make your experience memorable.
For those bed and breakfast lovers like myself, Adobe Guadalupe is very inviting and delightful. In the hacienda-style mansion vineyard with 60 acres of vines, you can enjoy everything from wine tasting to horseback riding.
Then you have La Villa del Valle. This is Eileen and Phil Gregory’s (Vena Cava) pristine six-room hilltop B&B in the heart of the Guadalupe Valley. It is undeniably breathtaking and beautifully appointed. La Villa del Valle has excellent breakfasts and swashes gorgeous landscapes with a pool. Get ready to feel at home; the Gregorys will make sure of that.
For a more modernist, yet unpolished, with a very unique and ecological twist adventure, visit Encuentro Guadalupe. If aliens existed, I would truly believe they built this place.
To say the least, it is one of a kind.
Its world-class architecture and sophisticated style humbly rises above the hills.
The spirit of the place calls you by your name, hypnotizing you to get explored and experienced.
Encuentro Guadalupe sits over 200 acres of nature mixed between bumpy and austere hills and vineyards boasting majestic full 360º view of the valley.
The accommodations are clean, simple, sleek and minimal. And unlike a regular hotel, Encuentro Guadalupe features 20 rectangular eco-luxury lofts staggered on a hillside between rocks, dirt, vineyards, and desert bushes.
Stargaze at night, watch the sun rise in the morning, adventure the trails, sit next to the fire with a glass of wine, go to the pool or just unplug allowing nature embrace you from its deepest and most peaceful core.
Getting to Guadalupe Valley and around
If planning a trip to Baja’s Guadalupe Valley, remember that the best way to explore the different areas of the region is to take a road trip.
Especially since most of the wineries here are hidden throughout the valley and accessible by dirt roads.
To get there, just drive about 70 miles south from the San Diego/Tijuana border. U.S citizens need a valid U.S passport to re enter the United States. Once in the Baja wine country, let go, explore and enjoy. And don’t miss the opportunity to bring s
ome wine with you. Keep in mind that quantities and restrictions apply depending on where you live.
Read more about the Baja style of living: http://www.bajarealestategroup.net/