Opinions of these wineries from Baja, Mexico’s Guadalupe, Santo Tomás and San Vincente valleys
- rworange Jan 21, 2008 03:45 PM
There’s a local wine program I’m considering going to this week that will feature the wineries in the first link.
If you have tried any of them, would you let me know what you think and maybe which wine I should look for from that winery?
Some are big enough to have their own web address. For others, at most all I could find was an address or a brief mention.
Aborigen / Arcata
Bodegas San Rafael
Bodegas Santo Tomas
Casa de Piedra
Cava de Don Juan
Vinicola Tres Valles
Discover Baja: Valle de Guadalupe Wine Region
I know that Monte Xanic used to be part of the Chalone Wine Group back when it was around. As a share holder, I recall that we took a flier on the Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon blend. Got a case for really cheap and was tired of it before we finished the case. But that was at least 8 or 10 years ago. It might be much improved. I always thought that if Chalone was involved in any way it must have been a promising operation.
We visit a number of wineries in the Valley last year. We stayed at Adobe Guadalupe
and enjoyed their wines, the Monte Xanic had some very top quality wines.
We found the Valley web site to be helpful.
I believe you may be referring to Copia's Wines of Mexico tasting this weekend. I attended last year. There were no standouts, and it was difficult to find a wine that was as well-made as a $10 Rhone wine, for example. So, IMO, the region's wines are not worth an in-depth survey, like the wines of Oregon might be, or Paso or Napa or Anderson Valley or the Southern Rhone or Margaret River. Of course, if you're really interested in going, do. But I'd suggest your money might best be spent at a Copia or other Bay Area program that features one of the above areas.
I've tasted LA Cetto wines and didn't like them. The most interesting thing I've read about Baja wine is this.
"Turley Wine Cellars, which makes burly, voluptuous zinfandels from old vineyards all over California, now, trys Mexico, too. Rancho Escondido, or hidden ranch.
The story of Rancho Escondido - a farmer named Leonardo Reynoso first planted what would eventually become the 200-acre Rancho Escondido vineyard.
Why there? "Who knows," said Camillo P. Magoni, the chief enologist of L.A. Cetto, a big Mexican winery that purchased the vineyard in 1968. "Because it was cheap? Because he found a remote area for quiet living? Or he had the perception that this hidden valley had special conditions for zinfandel grapes?"
Whatever the reason, the old farmer made a fine choice. "The fact is, Escondido Ranch has a particular soil that I haven't found elsewhere in my 40-plus years in Baja," Magoni said. "I classified it as eolic, moved by winds through the millenniums, because of its fine texture. Of course, the base is mostly decomposed granite from the surrounding hills, but it is so deep that we found roots at 30 feet. That is the secret."
I have never found a wine from Mexico that I considered worth purchasing in the U.S., and though I often taste Mexican wines while in Mexico, I generally find better wines at better prices from Chile and Argentina than what I find from their own domestic (Mexican) wineries.
Having said that, there are clearly a number of wines -- from a number of wineries -- from Mexico I have never tried. If there were a convenient tasting of various Mexican wines held in my area , I would probably attend. But were I thinking of signing up for a trip and tour of Mexican wineries, I'd opt for the tequila tour instead.
Just my 2¢, and worth far less, I'm sure.
The Mexican vineyards need to figure out their play. Given Mexico's access to imported World Class wines (a lot of them from Chile at astonishing value to price ratios)... the main thing Mexico can offer the world is wines that pair well with spicy Mexican cuisine. I know that is some of the thought behind Cetto's Nebbiolo & Petite Syrah's... but I also think the resurgence of Baja-Meditteranean cuisine has taken the wine makers off this path quite a bit.
With that said I liken Mexican wines to California's "Artisinal" cheeses... there is a lot of overpriced, mediocre stuff out there... and there are willing consumers (read suckers) who have the dough & the drive to support local products. OTOH... I've had excellent wines in Mexico's top restaurants (at the high end you start seeing a positive Cost/Quality ration of some Mexican wines over Napa wines)... and usually they are from small reserve batches that you aren't going to find in Costco or at the Wineries themselves... it seems there is a very tight relationship between the restaurateurs back in Mexico City and the Baja vintners.
Last week I had the Bodegas de Santo Tomas, Unico, 2003.
It was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to describing what a wine tastes like.... but I did enjoy it, it wasn't too tannic and I could taste cherry and black berry.
If I could find it here, I'd buy it.