Do you consider yourself a wine lover? If so, join the club!
After all, enjoying great wine with friends or with your partner is one of the great pleasures of life. No matter where you find yourself in the world, spending an afternoon at a vineyard with the perfect glass of red is a joy that’s simply hard to beat.
This is as true in Mexico as it is for any other part of the world. If you’ve never considered making Mexico a wine destination, you’re in for a treat. This article takes a look at areas such as Valle De Guadalupe, home to some of the best wine on the planet. Keep reading to get the inside scoop into this special place.
Getting to Know Baja
It’s no secret that Baja is one of the most beautiful regions of the world. Baja California is a state in Mexico known for sun, fun, and some of the greatest beaches you’ll ever discover. It also has a growing reputation for producing some of the finest wines anywhere on the planet.
Believe it or not, Baja produces around 75% of all the wine in Mexico. This can be mostly attributed to the fact that this part of the country has a climate that’s very similar to Napa Valley and the Southern Rhône.
The largest area of the wine country in Baja is contained in a region that’s called Valle de Guadalupe. Located about 20 miles northeast of Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe is roughly twice the length of Napa Valley and will remind many visitors of the stretch of the valley from Côte de Nuits to the Mâconnais in Burgundy.
In fact, the majority of wineries in Baja are located in Valle de Guadalupe. Thus it has quickly become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. This has also made the region of Valle de Guadalupe a bit of a catch-all label for any wine produced in Baja. And yet less than ten thousand acres of vineyards exist within Valle de Guadalupe proper.
The major challenge facing the region is not growth, but how to maintain the quality of wine and culture that’s been developed within such a short period of time.
What makes the grapes of Baja so special? That’s an interesting question.
After all, Mexico actually lacks a signature grape. This has become a bit of an asset as well as a challenge for marketing the wines produced in this region of the world.
One of the biggest factors regarding the grapes of Mexico is the fact that there are no labeling laws, thus the terminology can vary wildly. For example, you will notice Grenache and Garnacha, as well as Carignan and Criñena, rosé and rosado. But you will also discover a number of 50-50 blends.
Keep in mind that Cabernet Sauvignon is the most common red wine grape in Mexico, followed closely by Tempranillo, Merlot, and Grenache. In addition to these, Syrah, Sangiovese, and Malbec have begun to emerge in the Valle de Guadalupe region in recent years.
When it comes to white wine grapes, Chenin Blanc tends to be the most widely planted varietal in the region. This is largely due to L.A. Cetto’s extensive holdings in Baja. In fact, L.A. Cetto sells hundreds of thousands of cases of Chenin annually, as well as a number of blends with Colombard.
Other popular white wine grapes in Baja include Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. These are delicious wines that seem to grow in popularity with each passing year.
Understanding the Subregions
The subregions of this wine-growing area are collectively known as the Valleys of Ensenada.
Individually, the subregions include Valle de Guadalupe, Valle de Ojos Negros, Valle de Santo Tomas, Valle de La Grulla, Valle de San Vicente, and Puerta Norte.
Taking a Closer Look at Nebbiolo
What exactly is Nebbiolo?
Well, this is actually a label used to describe much of the wine produced in Baja. These are typically inky wines that feature plenty of black-fruit characteristics. Examples of Nebbiolo include Lambrusca di Alessandria.
One of the things to remember about Nebbiolos wines is the fact that there are both certified and non-certified versions. It’s also difficult to distinguish Mexican Nebbiolos from the Italian versions.
Where to Stay
The Valle de Guadalupe has plenty to offer tourists seeking a lovely adventure in wine country. There plenty of exquisite Valle de Guadalupe restaurants as well as lodging opportunities.
The people of Baja will always welcome you with a big smile and help make your stay as comfortable as possible. The food is amazing, the sun is bright and beautiful, and there is enough wine to keep you happily exploring the region year after year, as you return time and time again.
This resource will help you find a hotel.
Bottles to Explore
Here are a few prime examples of the many wines you should try at home or during a visit to Baja wine country.
Santos Brujos Chardonnay. This is one of the first wineries in the country to be certified in the production of both organic and biodynamic wines. They specialize in Tempranillo and Chardonnay and are located in Valle de Guadalupe.
Another fantastic Valle de Guadalupe grower is Bruma de Noirs. This winery produces both classic and experimental wines, including a white made from 100% Carignan Noir.
Cava Maciel Alba, again located in Valle de Guadalupe, produces a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which boasts a profile that is every bit as magnificent as similar wines from any other region of the world.
Explore and Enjoy
Valle de Guadalupe truly is a special region of the world. This is world-class wine, produced by some of the finest growers on the planet. And as their reputation grows, their popularity among wine lovers will surely continue to expand as well.
A Guide to What Makes Mexico Such a Special Wine Destination
Are you planning your next vacation getaway? If so, make sure to make Baja California your wine destination of choice.
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