On a recent trek to Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe with foodie group Wine Pairs Events of San Diego, it was soon evident that Baja itself had not changed much in the past 30 years. Sure, seeing the 1920’s Hollywood resort aka, the classic Rosarita Beach Motel, now towering umpteen stories high with over 500 rooms, was a little bit of a shock, but the charm of the La Fonda Motel and little mercado storefronts along the way looked pretty much the same. An hour later, we arrived at our destination.
Our group of 26 eager wine tasters were warmly welcomed at Vinedos Malagon, gently nestled in the crux of the valley floor. Winemaker Alberto Rubio holds a degree in Enology and has been at the helm since 2011 turning out small lots of handcrafted wines. Rubio is ultra-passionate about winemaking and also produces organic, dry-farmed wine from old vines for his private label, Fluxes.
Vinedos Malagon‘s field blend, 2014 Tinta Mexicana, beautifully marries Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Grenache and Petit Sirah together for an aromatic immersion of dark berry fruit laced with black peppercorn. Aged in 10% new French oak, this blend is one of the most popular value-driven wines in the lineup.
For purists, the 100% 2015 Grenache plays on the senses with the intoxicating aromas of raspberry, tart cherry and sun-kissed strawberry, touched with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Very feminine and delicate, this wine is aged in 20% new French oak and will age well due to the higher acidity.
Another Grenache crowd-pleaser was the 2015 Grenache Rosé, a delicate salmon-colored dry rosé produced using the saignee method. www.vinedosmalagon.com
Onward to Lechuza Vineyard to taste the unoaked 2016 Chardonnay, sourced from San Vincente, a short two hours south of the valley. Clean tropical aromas of pineapple, guava and ripe stone fruit met the nose in this delightful Chardonnay.
Co-owned by ex-pats Patty Magnussen, Kristin and Adam Shute, Lechuza Vineyard has been producing outstanding small lot wines since 2007. Since the recent passing of Ray Magnussen, Kristin has stepped in as Winemaker Extraordinaire with the help from husband Adam.
Estate varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Merlot, Tempranillo, Grenache and Petit Sirah. www.vinoslechuza.com
Kudos to Erin Sealy, Wine Pairs Events Chef and Tour Guide, for arranging an eventful day of wine tasting and gastronomy south of the border! www.winepairsevents.com