Guadalupe Valley, Mexico Wine Trip
Over the weekend on the suggestion of u/NOLAWinosaur and a few others my Fiancé and myself took a day trip to Valle de Guadalupe in Baja to visit some wineries and to have what would turn out to be one of the best meals of our lives, no hyperbole here.
The drive to Guadalupe Valley is gorgeous. A veritable cultural and topographical survey of Baja California. You trace the coast down towards Ensenada before a quick and dramatic change in elevation takes you into and above the valley. Soft blue, almost albino white succulents grow wild on the 90 degree cliff faces. The land is so lush and open it makes one wonder if California would look like this were it not so developed. After a couple bends the road comes to a "T" and then you're on the main drag. A quick U-Turn and a couple kilometers up the road and we're at Clos des Tres Cantos. The winery feels very intentional in its design using a mix of eco-resort simplicity and recycled materials. The tasting was of three wines. A Rosé, a Tempranillo Blend "Nada" and a Carignan blend. The Rosé, like all the pink wine we tasted on this trip, was very fruity and punch-like, not mineral driven, not my cup of tea but not bad either. The Carignan blend had 4 other varietals listed including Petite Sirah and Cabernet but the proportions are not listed, this tasted predominantly of Carignan. It was very fruit forward, blackberry, with assertive tannin and medium-minus acidity. The "Nada" was 70% Tempranillo and 30% Petite Sirah. It was at this point it was safe to assume that Mexico does not have issues with their grapes coming to ripeness. This was a fruit forward and very much reminded me of California Merlot from the early-2000's. Medium-plus acidity with round, slightly chalky tannin from the petite Sirah. A little black peppercorn. We picked up a bottle. I think 2 tastings and a bottle of wine ran us $38.
We went to Le Chuza next arriving a little early for our appointment and were seated and poured our first glass of wine, a Chardonnay, by a 14 year old boy who told us it was "aged on stainless steel and…uh…" flushing red in his cheeks as he searched for something else to say, "…good with fish". As he ran off we both agreed that he wasn't wrong. It was fantastic. Very mineral with fantastic acidity and balance. Incredibly refreshing. We then met the Wife and Husband team, Kristin and Adam Shute, that ran the winery who proceeded to pour us the rest of our flight and tell us their story. The wines, with the exception of the Chardonnay and I believe the Rosé… we're all aged on oak and exhibited moderate to heavy oak influence. To their credit, the Wedding Cuvee, very much reminded me of classic California Cabernet, and their single-varietal Cabernet was a big, juicy oak bomb. Their Nebbiolo which we drank in the cellar prompted a question which I never got to ask about what they thought of the potential misclassification of Nebbiolo in Mexico. It was very un-Nebbiolo like, none of the tar and rose quality one associates, if anything it tasted like Syrah but we had to drink it quickly as it was immediately followed up by some of Adam's mexcal-like grappa which was pretty fucking good. After snagging a bottle of the Chard, Cab and Nebbiolo we took off.
We were early for our lunch reservations at Deckman's en El Mogor so we went to taste the wines of Mogor Badan. After hearing the story of Mogor Badan and the property itself I was still rather confused but nevertheless we tasted their White which it sounded like they owned property in Southern France and shipped the grapes or must to Mexico to process. Couldn't tell you the grape but it tasted very much of Gewurztraminer. Was actually pretty delightful. We then tasted the Rosé which I didn't entirely understand the story behind either and it was pretty close to a provencal Rose albeit more on the ripe side. Then we got to the 2012 Mogor Badan Bordeaux Blend. The 2014 had sold out already so they were dipping into their reserves. I think time slowed down at this point because after I took the first whiff I knew I had something special in my hand. Cassis, green pepper, a whiff of alder smoke, prune. Then a sip. Blackberry, blackcurrant, pyrazines, smoked orange peel, medium+ acidity. Perfect balance. It had this concentration I had only had once before in a 1996 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou we drank last year. But the weight on the palate was unlike anything I'd ever had before. To me this was the greatest Bordeaux wine I had ever drunk. We bought 4 bottles.
Our lunch was across the parking lot at Deckman's. This glorious ode to outdoor dining felt like the Mexican equivalent to Asador Extebarri. We were sat at our table for two overlooking the vineyard and ordered the 8 course tasting menu along with wine and beer pairings. We had beautiful oysters individually prepared with a perfect mignonette, grilled quail, pork cheek, octopus, ceviche, bone marrow served with little pickled radishes that was the most perfect bite of food I think I'd ever had it nearly made me cry, and a smoky orange desert that actually did make me cry as it evoked a very strong and lovely childhood memory. I'm serious I cried at this meal, tears… maybe it was the beer, wine, the view, the food, the childhood memory, my Fiancé or feeling relaxed for the first time in months, mostly it was little bit of all of them… It was a perfect meal.
After that fantastic experience we hopped into the car and I backed into a sign. The sign was fine, the bumper needs repairs…
Here's our haul minus the "Nada" which had a little seepage so we drank it with Paella the next day.
Submitted July 05, 2017 at 11:32PM by rawdealbuffy
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