The art of winemaking on Mexican land has been traced back to the 1500s during the time of the Spanish conquest. Surprisingly, when looking at winemaking as an industry, however, it’s still very much in its infancy in Mexico. With that being said, the Valle de Guadalupe region is quickly becoming known as a golden parcel of land, capable of producing grapes that can be transformed into rich wines that rival some of the best in the world. Often referred to as the “Napa Valley of Mexico,” the area boasts some of the most stunning flavors and blends to ever grace Mexican wines as we know them.
The past few years have seen an enormous amount of growth in Baja, Mexico in terms of all of the different Valle de Guadalupe wineries that have been emerging - and flourishing. With well over 100 wineries (and counting), it’s no wonder that this region has become a hotbed for wine fanciers of all backgrounds.
You will find when you set out for a Mexico wine tour that roughly 90 miles south of San Diego and just a bit inland from the Pacific Ocean sits Valle de Guadelupe, an area with a surprisingly Mediterranean climate that is a bit more extreme due to its proximity to the coast.
For vintners establishing a presence in a wine region in its earliest stages, it can be challenging to figure out which grapes will grow the best and come together to create award winning blends. For example, most winemakers will tell you that a hillside grape and a valley floor grape of the very same variety have uniquely distinct flavors. When combined, however, you will wind up with a blend that includes sweeter, subtle notes along with a spicy kick.
In Valle de Guadalupe, the grapes that have the greatest potential are Nebbiolo, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Malbec. The blends of some of these grapes highlight some of the best flavors that Baja wine country has to offer.
The Beauty Of The Blend
A wine blend provides much more complexity than a single varietal wine. Looking at some of the best wines that you can procure today, many are actually made from blends of different grapes. When you start to blend varietals, a winemaker has the ability to dramatically change the quality of the wine, with the end goal being to blend different vintages and ultimately arrive at a good balance of the flavor characteristics. In certain instances, whites and reds can be blended together to create an exquisite combination of both flavors and aromas.
Anyone who has been following the growth of Valle de Guadalupe will tell you that the wines coming from this area are certainly unique, filled with a range of flavors including minerality, saltiness and even a bit of spice. These blends have a strong connection between the rich soil of the region and the popular foods that you will find in many of the local Valle de Guadalupe restaurants.
It’s important to note that a fair amount of wines that come from flourishing Baja wineries are actually wine blends. Concentrated and full bodied, yet with a whimsical punch of spice, these wines are seen as a gem to some and a flaw to others.
A Sampling Of Baja Wineries Worth A Visit
Casa de Piedra – A winery that was built in the 1990s, Casa de Piedra boasts some of the most exquisite architecture constructed of rustic metals, stone and reclaimed wood. A location that started as a side project by Hugo D’Acosta, you will find a number of incredible blends and other notable boutique wine options to sample and bring home during a tour of the region.
Vinisterra – A stunning location for viewing and learning about the growing and blending process, Vinesterra is a stop on your winery tour that you do not want to miss. The Pedregal blend by Christoph Gaertner, a winemaker from Switzerland, is one of the stars of the show on the sampling menu.
Monte Xanic – This happens to be one of the most sizeable Baja wineries to come out of the new wave. Founded in 1987 by a group of wine enthusiasts, including Hans Backhoff, the beautiful bodega at Monte Xanic offers a public tasting room where you can check out some of the top blends.
Vinicola Emeve Blends
Vinicola Emeve is a winery in the Valle de Guadalupe region that is quickly becoming one of the trendiest destinations for anyone who wants to sample unique, beautiful wine creations. Noted winemaker Reynaldo Rodriguez produces some of the most stunning blends ever to be sampled in the area. The very first blend to come out of Emeve was a complex Malbec-Cabernet in 2006 that went on to win a number of medals and accolades for its delicious taste and pleasing aroma.
The wines from Emeve, aged in both American and French oak barrels, are described as being elegant and fresh with excellent tannins and acidity. Los Nietos is one of the most popular blends to come out of the winery to date, which is a mixture of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The bouquet of lush, red fruit is aged in a French oak barrel for 14 months. Some of the other memorable blends that you will find at this Baja winery gem include the 2007 Cabernet-Merlot, 2007 Rose and 2007 Harmony Of Reds. Wine enthusiasts can sample these wines by adding this stop to a Baja winery tour or by visiting L’Abricot restaurant in Tijuana.
Many Reasons To Visit
Valle de Guadalupe offers stunning views of some of the most amazing landscapes that Mexico wine country has to offer, which is one of the top reasons why this area has taken off as a major travel destination.
If you really want to take in the beauty of Baja wineries, setting up a Mexico wine tour is a must. Whether you want to book a group tour or a private tour, you will find that there are always plenty of options available to you in Valle de Guadalupe. What’s more, breathtaking architecture, incredible weather and a love of winemaking makes the area a special destination for couples who are looking to take the plunge with a Valle de Guadalupe wedding.
If you’re interested in unique wine blends that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, taking a Mexico wine tour should be on your travel to-do list. Located just a few hours away from San Diego, region that is sure to enliven your senses and deliver a wealth of aromas and flavors like you’ve probably never experienced before. Spend a day, a weekend or a week enjoying all of the best wines that Valle de Guadalupe has to offer by taking a tour – or perhaps even an excursion of a lifetime. Learn about the grapes and how the wines are produced, as well as sample wine blends with delectable food pairings. We can assure you that you won’t leave disappointed.