Category Archives: Winery

In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await

 

TRAVEL
In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await
Jan.14.2015

For as long as I can remember, Ensenada has had a whiff of south-of-the-border excess and spring-break stigma. Less than two hours from San Diego, down the Baja California peninsula, it’s one of the easiest and safest places to experience Mexico on a budget — which makes it easy to think of this small coastal city and cruise line layover as a sort of Mexico for Beginners. But dismissing northwest Baja is a mistake. Beyond the souvenir shops selling sombreros, knockoff artesanía (handicrafts) and tacky T-shirts, there’s a college town, a port town and a budding culinary capital that invite exploration. While Ensenada and the surrounding area can require a bit of patience, its pleasures are worth the time it takes to find them — and all the more so because they can be had so affordably.

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A restaurant at La Bufadora, a powerful blowhole where families pose for photos as the Pacific sprays them with sea mist. Credit Freda Moon

 

I’ve had an affection for Ensenada since childhood, when it was a daylong car ride from my Northern California hometown and my introduction to international travel. In those days, I’ll admit, its beaches looked cleaner and the Pacific Ocean felt warmer. My brother and I would sip virgin piña coladas and spend hours scouring the beach for sand dollars. In college, it remained exotic in my mind — a place Tim, my then-boyfriend (now-husband), and I could go on winter break and feel like adventurous runaways. These days, Ensenada is simply the closest we can get to the Mexico we love without a plane ticket.

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Chefs, wine give Baja a new flavor

 

Chefs, wine give Baja a new flavor
Region’s gastro scene is boosting tourism and its image
By Michele Parente6:13 P.M.OCT. 18, 2014Updated12:14 P.M.OCT. 21, 2014

Last Sunday, chef Javier Plascencia was in Buenos Aires promoting Baja cuisine, having just taped an episode of ABC’s “The Taste” in L.A.

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Tijuana‘s new taste: The rustic chic interior of El Taller Baja Med Cocina. — Photo by Michele Parente

On Wednesday, chef Flor Franco was in New York cooking for about 160 editors at Condé Nast, publishers of such titles as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Condé Nast Traveler.

And during the first week in November, chef Miguel Ángel Guerrero will be in Paris, serving up rustic Baja Med cuisine to the French.

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Javier Plascencia’s popular Finca Altozano in the Valle de Guadalupe.— Photo by Michele Parente

The trio, with about 12 restaurants between them in San Diego, Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe, are Baja’s Emissaries of Eating. While out promoting their own businesses and brands, these globe-trotting gastro ambassadors are at the same time shifting the narrative of a region once known more for kidnappings and cartels than quail and kumamotos.

More than just reputation burnishing, Baja’s food and wine are driving new development around the region as well as an influx of first-time visitors from within Mexico, Europe, Asia and Latin America. It’s also reviving tourism from north of the border, which plummeted in 2008 as the global economy sunk and Tijuana’s death rate skyrocketed.

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Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene

 

Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene
The country may be best known for its beer and tequila, but that’s slowly changing

By WILL LYONS
Updated Oct. 23, 2014 7:50 p.m. ET

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Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene

WHAT ARE THE WORLD’S most unlikely wine-producing countries? India, Russia, China? It may surprise you to learn that China has one of the world’s largest wine industries, with more than half a million hectares now planted with vines.

I have touched down in some unusually located vineyards—Brazil springs to mind—so I wasn’t surprised to hear that Mexico has a fast-growing wine industry. What did surprise me, though, was just how old it is. By common consensus, it seems vines were first planted there in the 1530s by Spanish settlers. One estate can trace its lineage back to 1597. Even by European standards, where there are centuries-old châteaux, 450 years is a long time to be in the wine game.

I expect many of you reading this will never have come across Mexican wine. After all, this is a country known more for its gassy lager and tequila than its grapes. But that’s slowly changing, and wines from regions like the Valle de Guadalupe on the Baja California peninsula, a few hours’ drive south of San Diego, have found their way onto various restaurant wine lists and specialist shops. But not many. Few are exported to Europe and tracking those down is no easy task.

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After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

 

After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper
By Rebekah SagerPublished July 18, 2014Fox News Latino

Town Once Known For Spring Breakers Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until 2008 or so, Rosarito Beach, about 10 miles south of the United States-Mexico border in Baja California, was a hot spot for kids on spring break looking to drink tequila, eat cheap lobster dinners and party the days and nights away. Then the economy crashed and crime reached epidemic proportions and suddenly the streets went from 24 hour fiesta to ghost town.

Baja Fresh Produce

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until recently, that is. Today Rosarito is a thriving place for families, foodies and small businesses.

A visit to the only winery in Rosarito, Claudius, provides a glimpse into the innovation and resilience desperate (and resourceful) business owners in the area have gone through.

Julio Benitez, a native of Segovia, Spain, established the business just four years ago, and only this year is the label releasing its first bottles onto the market. The vinyard caters primarily to aficionados who can take classes at a small wine-making school, and a tasting room and restaurant for enthusiasts who would rather savor it.

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Experience the winery, dining and beauty of Baja California, Mexico

 

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.

wine in Baja California

Only 10 percent of the wine in Baja California is exported. Experience wine tasting, dining and travel destinations to its finest in the Mexican city. (Shutterstock)

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.

Signature wines

  • 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)

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10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2014

 

Valle de Guadalupe/Baja California, Mexico
—Michael Shachner

Valle de Guadalupe/Baja California, Mexico

What’s that, they make wine in Mexico? Indeed, they do—have for centuries—and not just sacramental wine and plonk. In the northern reaches of Baja California, along Route 3 in the Guadalupe Valley, the quality of wine has risen over the past two decades. Wineries here have teamed up with chefs and hoteliers to create Baja’s very own Ruta del Vino (wine route). Less than two hours from San Diego, the Valle de Guadalupe, anchored by the city of Ensenada, has moved past its Tequila-and-Tecate roots to ones based on the grape. Head south of the border for a wine-and-travel experience you won’t forget. —Michael Shachner

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An oasis of music and wine in Baja

 

 

An oasis of music and wine in Baja
Steve Lopez
Recent Columns
October 12, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

In the hills high above Ensenada, on the road to Ojos Negros, a dust-covered, mustachioed cowboy named Don Heriberto Aguilar has found the perfect life.

A trip to Aguilar’s rancho was not on my itinerary in Mexico. I was there to research a story, which will be coming soon, on more than three decades of good deeds performed in Baja California by the owners of Benning Violins in Studio City.

But Tito Quiroz, a musician who started Ensenada’s Academia Benning (which he named for his longtime mentors), was determined to give me and Times photographer Michael Robinson Chavez a look at a Mexico few visitors see. If we were interested, he said, he would take us to a party at a winery in the hills.

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