Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mexican wine country south of the border


Touring Mexico's wine country is quite enjoyable and very easy to do. If you find yourself in the San Diego area and have nothing to do for a day or so, consider touring the verdant Guadalupe Valley which lies approximately forty road miles south of the border at Tecate (which is thirty-eight miles east of San Diego). Three major wineries (Pedro Domenq, LA Cetto, and Monte Xanic) are separated by a scant seven miles so touring all three is a simple matter for a day's itinerary.

How to get there

From San Diego, take Interstate 8 (I-8) East to El Cajon. Exit at Second Street, and turn right at the signal at the bottom of the ramp. This is Jamacha Road. Follow Jamacha for about eight miles until you arrive at Rancho San Diego. Turn left onto CA 94 (Highway 94), which will be the second twin left turn lanes that you'll encounter on Jamacha Road. A sign marks the intersection (Tecate, Campo).

Follow highway 94 as it winds it's way up into the hills (Note: This is a very scenic drive especially in deep summer). Twenty two miles up CA 94 turn right at the marked intersection to Tecate. This highway is numbered CA 188. A scant two miles later you will encounter the border. On the left just before the border is a gas station that sells Mexican Automobile Insurance. Your US policy does not cover Public Liability and Property Damage in Mexico. Crossing into Mexico is about as hard as crossing a state line in the USA. For driving tips refer to the mini series "Rv'ing Mexico". After you enter Mexico, you will need to dogleg left at the first traffic light. So make a left and then a right at the next block.

You will be on the main road to the wine country and Ensenada (Hwy 3). Watch for stop lights and stop signs as you progress through the urban sprawl. When you encounter the traffic circle, all oncoming traffic turning in front of you has the right-of-way (important so please don't forget this rule). After you dodge a couple of cars keep going straight. The road will wind up a hill and soon the urban congestion will ease. Soon you will be in the midst of boulder studded grassland and chaparral. Keep your eyes open for slow trucks ahead and fast buses behind. After winding your way up and down a series of grades (about thirty-five miles worth) grape vineyards will appear on both sides of the road.

The LA Cetto winery is on the left about two miles down a well-graded road (there's a highway sign). The Pedro Domenq winery is on the right, near the highway in an imposing concrete structure.

A nearby full hookup RV park

On the way to Pedro Domenq, LA Cetto and Monte Xanic, you passed by a well-run RV park (Rancho Sordo Mudo). Retrace your steps just a little past LA Cetto. There will be a billboard type sign on the right for Rancho Sordo Mudo. Turn right and pick out a spot. The park is verdant and green. The restrooms are clean with hot water and showers. This rural park is administered by the Rancho Sordo Mudo (Deaf Mute Ranch) across the highway. Someone will be around to collect a donation in the morning--this is a charitable organization to assist the disabled, please reach deep into your billfold.


Continue south to Ensenada, or return back to Tecate? The choice is yours. Really smart RVers would have brought steaks to barbecue to go along with that "extra" bottle of Monte Xanic. One liter per person is the allowable limit to bring back into the states. Perhaps a bottle of Merlot to go along with some Chateaubriand grilled over shimmering mesquite coals? This is a fine adventure and fine booty to stock your wine cellar. If you have pretentious friends who claim to be wine snobs, imagine the look on their faces when you announce an occasion special enough to enjoy a bottle of "Mexican Red". I wish I could be there with you to enjoy the spectacle.

Author: David Eidell

Discover the Capricho’s Restaurant & Wine Bar


Capricho’s in Ensenada Mexico is a very unique restaurant. The food is a fusion of French and Mediterranean with original flavors of Mexico. The menu is extensive featuring pastas, fresh local Ensenada fish and meats. The recipes are created to be Mexican wine friendly. Outstanding entrees include filet of sole accented with a Roquefort cheese sauce, the savory chicken breast stuffed with red fruits and blue cheese, and the grilled rib-eye steak.

Their Mexican Wine list is extensive using Riedel crystal glassware and they have many Mexican wines by the glass utilizing WineKeeper’s nitrogen preservation system to retain freshness. The service is outstanding.

Contact Information
Contact: Carlos Garcia Travesi
Phone: 011 52 646 178 3433

Other informations:
Tues -Sat 1:00pm to 12:00am
Sun 1:00pm to 8:00pm

Credit Cards: Visa MC Amex
Corkage: $10.00

Source: BajaFoodandWines

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wines to drink with Mexican Food

Chef and Mexican food authority Rick Bayless, owner of Chicago's award-winning Frontera Grill and Topolobampo recommends some wines to pair with Mexican dishes.

• With dishes having spicy red chile sauces pour a Merlot or a fruity red like a Sangiovese.

• With dishes having tomatillo-based sauces go for a Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot.

Rick also likes La Cetto Petit Syrah and Nebiolo.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

LaFarga Wines, Wine Editors Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes

2004 Equinoccio Nebbiolo
Aromas of plum black fruit, with a hint of spice. This wine is very dark in color and Full-bodied. Coats your palette with cherry, black currants and a hint of cedar. Chewy tannins and a long finish. Hard not to drink now, but better after 2008.

2003 Equinoccio Syrah
Offers blackberry, smoke tar and a hint of cedar – Followed by vibrant mineral, coffee and spices. Very long finish with silky tannins. Fleshes out in the glass. Super effort and excellent syrah. Sold Out

2004 DQ
Cabernet – Syrah blend with aroma of cherry, plum and a hint of cedar. The sweet fruit is soft, but vibrant with a nice finish. Nice color easy drink red. Drink now


Testimonial about Wine Country Tour in Ensenada

One of the best excursions on our cruise was the Wine Country Tour. They took us by bus about 45 minutes outside the city of Ensenada, Mexico, to two different vineyards. The first was Cetto, started by an Italian man who moved to Mexico and started making wine in the 1800s. It is the largest vineyard in Mexico and makes 60% of the country's wine. We took a tour of how they make the wine and then tried several of their varieties and also some brandy and tequila. Luckily, they gave us bread, cheese, and olives to soak up all the alcohol!

Then we went to the Santo Thomas vineyard, which was much older and had a somewhat different process for making their wines. They use some French techniques, like using only naturally split oak pieces for the oak barrel aging process. We tried some of their wines as well and enjoyed the beautiful countryside.

Then they dropped us off in the downtown area so we could do some shopping. I really didn't see much I wanted to buy since it was so touristy and expensive. I had been to Mexico several years ago to the less touristy areas and had bought many, many beautiful arts and crafts then.

The tour guide on our bus was also great and very funny. He kept us entertained the whole time with jokes and trivia about Mexico (like why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. when they hardly care about it in Mexico; it isn't even their Independence Day after all!) and other fun stuff.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone on this cruise.


Looking for wine in Mexico


Does someone know what is the cost to ship wine to local places in Mexico?
And how long does it take to ship the wine once it’s purchased?
If you have some information please contact Lillian Szutoo

Address: AirG Suite 706, 1155 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 1B5
P: +1.604.408.2228 x222
F: +1.866.874.8136

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tasting of Macouzet Tempranillo 2002

Grapes: Tempranillo 100%
Regions: San Vicente

Tasting notes:
Red fruit, spices and tobacco.It is full bodied and balanced, with a good structure and with a long finish.

Maridate with:
Red or dark meat, seasoned fish or shell.

Source: Vinisterra

Tasting of Macouzet Cabernet/Merlot 2001

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon (60 %), Merlot (40%)
Regions: Valle de Guadalupe and San Vicente

Tasting notes:
Dark ruby color, aromas of cherry, redf fruit, coffee and tobacco. Elegant and structured to the palate, ripe fruit with a back of coffee and cocoa.Reminiscence of aging in French oak barrels, balanced in acidity, tannins and alcohol, with long finish

Maridate with:
Red meat, seasoned or broiled fish or shell, light cheeses.
Source: Vinisterra

Tasting of Viña Domino Tinto 2003

Grapes: Tempranillo, Grenache and Mision
Regions: Valle de Guadalupe and San Vicente

Tasting notes:

Ruby red with aromas of red fruit, plum and spices. Confirms it's fruitiness in pouth with vanilla notes, soft tannins, medium body and good lenght at it's finish

Maridate with:

Drink alone to socialize, or during cocktails, fish and seasoned shell fish. Aso with pasta and red meat.

Source: Vinisterra