Thursday, April 19, 2007

An excelent website in Los Cabos is the website by excellence that exposes the present gastronomic situation in Los Cabos.

The purpose of this project is to expose and diffuse the culinary enrichment that has been given through the years in our destiny, and how has influenced in the social life.Our proposal is based in a website that promotes the gastronomy and the high cuisine that can be found in Baja, all this enclosed in a informative Restaurant Guide; objective critics; articles of general interest and recipes to share with the public; besides an approach with the most noticeable people of the gastronomic and enological scene.

This is a project developed by Ergö Media Los Cabos, and is an effort shared with so many people from the gastronomic world, as by friends, family and direct collaborators.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

History of Mexican wines (part 1/3)

The wine industry got its start in Mexico in 1524, when the governor of New Spain, conquistador Hernando Cortes, ordered every Spaniard with a land grant from the crown to plant 1,000 grape vines for every 100 Indians in his employ, every year for five years.

In the 16th century, Spanish settlers and missionaries took Mexican vines with them to Peru, Chile and Argentina, and in the 17th and 18th centuries, to the Western United States.
Precolumbian and Spanish age
Chapter 1: The beginning and the developpment

The Mexicans are the oldest American wine producers. In the pre-Columbian age (before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors) the Indians used the vine to produce a drink to which they added other fruits and honey.

Nowadays, in some regions the wine of "acachul" is still produced with grapes and wild fruits. The wild vines called "cimarrones" carried heavy loads of grapes, but they were too acid to make wine with it. The first European vineyards in Mexico started with the Spanish conquerors and the beginning of the Missions.

The "conquistadors" found a lot of wild vines but no wine, a beverage which was desperately needed in order to celebrate mass and to wash down their meals. To satisfy these needs, in 1542 Forenoon Karats decreed that all the Spanish to whom native workers had been assigned (in effect as slaves) had to put down one thousand vines per hundred workers. This measure resulted in the planting of around 5,000 grape vines, which formed the basis of South America's first wine production

In the State of Baja California, the growing of vine followed their installation of the missioners. They transformed the local deserts in agricultural zones and vineyards.

The second generation of fathers even went to the US Californian State. Their leader brother Junipero Serra established 21 missions from San Diego to Sonoma, where they grew well known vines. The variety planted by the fathers got even a special name: the mission grapes. Nowadays this variety still exists and is called "criolla" all over South America.

The first places where vineyards were developed, are Puebla (Tehuacan and Huejotzingo) followed by Queretaro, Aguascalientes, Coahuila and later in California and Sonora. Back to 1524, Hernan Cortes imposed by law the plantation of grapes from European origin in combination with local ones. This was the start of a hybrid culture of vines.

In 1593, a spanish captain, Don Francisco de Urdiñola started the first vineyards in the state of Coahuila at El Rosario Hacienda on the estate of Santa Maria de las Parras. On the coat of arms of Queretaro, which dates from 1660, some vineyards can be seen.
The oldest winery in the Americas was founded at Parras, at Mission Santa Maria in the north-central state of Coahuila in 1596.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Visiting the winery Bodegas Santo Tomas:

Open since 1888, this winery has been producing wine longer than any other winery in Mexico. It is best known for having joined California's Wente Vineyard to produce Duetto, a 50-50 Santo Tomas Wente blend. It is also known for its Santo Tomás Reserva Unico.

A tour through Ensenada's Bodegas de Santo Tomas (winery) is certainly recommended. You'll marvel at the history contained in this old building. Eventually you'll wind up in the tasting room. Inexpensive tastings and winery tours are offered six days a week by several of the Guadalupe Valley and Ensenada wineries. Others can be arranged by appointment.

The winery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call
(011-52-646) 178-3333.

Winery tour at Chateau Camou, Baja California

Discover at Chateau Camou, a premium Mexican winery, situated in Baja California winery tours.

A) Claret:
Tour the winery (25-30 min), wine tasting at the end of the tour (3 wines from the "Flor de Guadalupe" label and one of the "Chateau Camou" label). A glass to taste is offered.
USD 5.00 per person.

B) Bordeaux:
Tour the winery (25-30 min), wine tasting at the end of the tour (3 wines from the "Flor de Guadalupe" label and 2 of the "Chateau Camou" label an the dessert wine "el gran divinio"). A glass to taste is offered.
USD 10.00 per person.

C) Magnum:
Tour the winemaker and/or owner, tour the vineyards (15-20 min) our the winery with a comprehensive tasting of the wines, including barrel sampling (35-40 min). Lunch at the end of the tour with your choice of paella, quails, ostrich or carne asada (glass of wine included with the lunch).
USD 40.00 per person.

For this tour, please make reservations. Payment in advance and parties of ten as a minimum will be required.
All prices ares subject to exchange rates.

When can one visit Chateau Camou ?
Monday - Saturday : 8. 00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Sunday: 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.
More about this winery here:

Touring the wine region of Baja California

Do you want to visit the Baja California Vintners ?
The "Comite de Turismo y Convenciones de
Ensenada" offers you an opportunity...

The Mexico Tourism Board offers also details on how to visit these interesting region of wineries in the north of Mexico
Look at it here :

Baja California Tours of San Diego provides a variety of guided Baja winery tours that includes transportation to and from San Diego.
More info here:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wine Tours of Baja Vino Tours

Baja Vino Tours began offering wine tours in 2003. Greg Martellotto is a bon vivant who is a wine educator, wine distributor, and winemaker. Join us on a fun, educational, and unforgettable wine experience through one of the most charming, untouched wine regions in the world.

Sample Tour Itinerary

8:45 AM Meeting Point - Old Town Transit Center, 4005 Taylor Street San Diego, California 92110
9:00 AM Bus leaves for Baja California along coastal highway.
11:00 AM Tour and taste at first winery.
1:00 PM Tour, taste and lunch at second winery.
3:00 PM Tour and taste at third winery.
4:30 PM Return north.
6:30 PM Est. return to Old Town

A good experience with Mexican wines

North of the Baja peninsula seems to be the best region for wines. That's why I would recommend a trip, at least a week long, over to the Ensenada area. There are four valleys -- Guadalupe, Calafia, San Vicente and Santo Tomas -- that stand out, producing some 90 percent of the country's grapes. In early August, they hold the Grape HarvestFestival.

Other wine states are Coahuila, Durango (land of Pancho Villa), Sonora, Zacatecas, Queretaro and Aguascalientes. Notice there is no wine in the tequila states of Jalisco, Guanajuato or Tamaulipas. Nor in the southern state of Oaxaca, where mezcal is king.

For a great time, visit Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, in May for the Paella Festival, where you can try some good cheese and better wines from Mexico and abroad. Then, in August, there is the Wine Harvest Festival, when you can stomp on grapes with your bare feet and visit the huge subterranean caves, as well as eat, drink and be merry. Queretaro, by the way, is a fantastic, well-preserved historical colonial city, and the central square and surrounding areas are a marvel.

Having eaten in so many restaurants, it's difficult to pick just one favorite, but I must say that Queso, pan y vino, where they serve fantabulous cheeses and wines, in Mexico City, near the Siqueiros Poliforo on Insurgentes, is a special one, and the servings are to die for.
Some brands that you should be looking for are Calixa, Monte Xanic, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Camou, Pedro Domecq, L.A. Cetto, Santo Tomas and Casa Madero. They include whites and reds, and prices range from as cheap as $5 to more than $30.

There also is a new concept out there called ice wine, made with grapes harvested during the winter months. Yes, the grapes are frozen. This is seen in Canada, Germany and Chile. No, I haven't tried that one yet.

Champagne, or Cavas Freixenet from Catalunya, Spain, has established a branch in Queretaro, in mid-Mexico. This is not a bad bubbly. You can buy the one made in Spain, or the one from Mexico. I have tasted little difference, as they are related. They follow the same techniques and use the grapes brought over from the old country in 1982.

Source: Oakland Tribune