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Valle de Guadalupe Ensenada Questions

Masa Assassin Jan 20, 2009 09:19 PM

I'm looking to continue my adventures in Ensenada. Valle de Guadalupe is one area I have limited knowledge of but would love to learn more. Question for those familiar with the area.

If you only went for a day what are the "Dont Miss"wineries? How would you tour?

Thanks

  1. r
    Ringo Gato Jan 21, 2009 02:54 PM

    I like the wines of Vinisterra, in the town of San Antonio de Minas. The owners are gracious, speak English well and have a beautiful tasting room. It is at the west end of the valley, nearer to the coast. There are a couple of restaurants in nearby, both of which are also plant nurseries.

    A tiny operation, Tres Mujeres, is run, as the name suggests, three women who are artists. Their cave is tiny, they hand label the wine bottles and I think they have some good reds. I like the tempranillo I had last year.

    To the valley’s east and north, I would go to Baron Balché. This is a relatively small winery but I think they make some very nice, soft reds as well as a fairly spicy zinfandel. Their wines are somewhat expensive if I recall.

    If you make it to Baron Balché, you might as well stop at Adobe Guadalupe. It is a B&B, horse stable, vineyard and restaurant (guests only). Their wine tasting room, buildings and grounds are beautiful as is the view. They make some decent wines, all named after angels, and also sell mescal, named after an angel as well, albeit Lucifer.

    Further east, one of the largest wineries is L.A. Cetto. I suggest this because they have what I feel is the best wine value in their Nebbiolo. At about $12-14 per bottle, this is one of the better bargains in the valley.

    For the best meal in the valley (maybe not during summer when Sylvestre is open), go to Laja. I have had several memorable meals there.

    I have not been to the wineries for Roganto, Viñas Pijoan or KJC Bravo but these are some of the best wines I have had in the area. I am going to Valle de Guadalupe this weekend and if I make it to these or other interesting wineries, I will add another post next week.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Ringo Gato
      Masa Assassin Jan 22, 2009 04:16 AM

      Thanks very much! Have a great trip

      1. re: Ringo Gato
        m
        micapu Feb 3, 2009 04:40 PM

        oh, this is awesome! We'll be driving through there next weekend and I was hoping we could plan an overnight stay somewhere in that area and eat some good food, taste some good wine. Can you recommend a good place to eat & sleep in that area? (somewhere along Hwy 3, preferably still in wine country)

        1. re: micapu
          r
          Ringo Gato Feb 3, 2009 10:14 PM

          To eat, I recommend Laja. I ate there two weekends ago. When you park your car, you may be looking at the garden your salad and vegetables were likely grown; the vegetables are seriously fresh. The olive oil on the salad or for dipping freshly baked bread is from a local producer. My lamb was superb, tender, moist and probably from a nearby ranch. We tried some wine I had never heard of, a Nebbiolo by Mobius (maybe it is Mobeus?). It took a few minutes for it to open up and it was quite nice; round, soft a little bit of fruit on the front end, with a mineral, slightly salty finish; tastes like the Guadalupe Valley. It turns out that the Nebbiolo was bottled by the restaurant’s maitre d’, Andres Blanco. He poured us two complimentary glasses of a fantastic, chilled Rosado that he had bottled but not yet labeled; it went well with our salads and was a perfect start to a lunch on a warm January Saturday. The Rosado will be available for purchase in a month or so.

          Call for reservations. Laja Restaurante- http://www.lajamexico.com/

          For more casual meals, two unique restaurants in the town of San Antonio de Minas double as plant nurseries. Look for La Casa de Ladrillo and La Hacienda; try some quail, venison, ostrich or more familar Mexican dishes.

          As for places to stay, two of the B&Bs have onsite restaurants for guests and their food and service are quite good.

          Check out Adobe Guadalupe- http://www.adobeguadalupe.com/

          La Villa del Valle- http://www.lavilladelvalle.com/

          I have never been to Hacienda Guadalupe, a small hotel, but friends have eaten there and found it decent- http://www.haciendaguadalupehotel.com/

          I was wine tasting in the Sierra Nevada foothills a few days ago and the winemaker from Westbrook Wine Farm recommended a Guadalupe Valley establishment, Vindedos Malagon, a large vineyard, winery and B&B. I haven’t stayed there yet but I have been in contact with the proprietor. It looks like a great spot- http://www.vinedosmalagon.com/Vinedos...

          There are a couple of other small hotels including Plaza Fatima (no website) and other places to eat or snack (Mustafa’s, Casa Vieja, Doña Lupe’s) and plenty of wineries to keep you busy for a few days. Once you find a place to stay, you can get more detailed information on nearby places from the hotel. Some of the smaller wineries require reservations and the hotels will schedule visits for you if need be. If your Spanish is good and your cell phone works (mine usually doesn’t work in the Valley), you can make the calls yourself.

          The valley is rustic, there are few services, and the road from Ensenada to Francisco Zarco is being widened so expect some rough patches and construction equipment. Not to be a spoilsport but there may be some military check points along Hwy 3 as well. Don’t be alarmed but do pay attention.

          1. re: Ringo Gato
            m
            micapu Feb 10, 2009 06:20 AM

            Ringo Gato, thank you so much for your feedback, I'll be sure to post back after we return from our trip.

            Spanish is my first language, so that won't be an issue. We'll actually be returning from a wedding in San Quintin when we pass thru the Valle de Guadalupe, so we'll have less than 24 hours in the area, which is why your reccs will be so helpful. I fully intend on making trips to this area on a regular basis, and bringing family & friends along. But first, I have to get my husband as excited about the area as I am ;-)

            1. re: micapu
              Masa Assassin Feb 10, 2009 08:06 AM

              You definitely won’t be disappointed. I just got back from a fabulous weekend in the valley. Steve Dryden from Baja Times showed me around and we hit about 5 places in 1 day and had I had dinner at Laja. I will report on the trip soon. Micapy, Steve Dryden is also available for formal wine tours if you would like a guide http://www.bajawineandtours.com/ the best way to contact him is thru email.

              Ringo great report. You definitely need to check out Vinedos Malagon, that is the first place Steve took us (by appointment). I really enjoyed the wine and ended purchasing a few bottles. Nathan Malagon is a very cool guy.

            2. re: Ringo Gato
              m
              micapu Feb 21, 2009 01:06 PM

              well, I'm sad to report that we only drove through the Valle and didn't actually stop because we decided to come home a day early (I was struggling with a migraine all weekend, so wine was definitely a no-no for me). We did spot almost all of the places mentioned above, and we may head down there again for my birthday next month. Sylvestre's is only open during the Summer?

              We also noticed there's a L.A. Cetto winery & tasting room set up along Hwy 1 south of Ensenada, around Ejido Santo Tomas. Since we are also planning to make the trip back to San Quintin to visit our friends, we were wondering if you guys have any feedback/stopped there and if we should try it, or just stick to the VdG.

              1. re: micapu
                r
                Ringo Gato Feb 22, 2009 06:35 PM

                Sorry to hear that you were not feeling well and missed the valley's attractions.

                Sylvestre is a summer restaurant, and is open a few days a week (Thurs-Sun?) I recall.

                There is an LA Cetto on Hwy 1 north of Ensenada. It is a retail store. You can buy wine and other items but if you have time, go to the winery in valley. I am not familar with the tasting room south of Ensenada but the Santo Tomas area has quite a few vinyards. I beleive only Santo Thomas winery is there.

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