I’ve been rumbling around this region of Mexico since the early 1990’s. For awhile, I think I knew every pothole on both routes to get to Ensenada from Tijuana. While I get there less frequently these days, my love affair with Mexico started in this region and the cities of La Misión and Ensenada.
Back in those days there was wine, but it was nothing like it is today. I still kick myself for passing up a few pieces of property I was offered back then. Who knows, maybe someone would be reviewing my wines.
In any event, saying wine is big in Baja is an understatement. If you cross the border in Tecate, after about an hour, you’ll soon be on the eastern edge of a wine lovers heaven. It’s called the Ruta del Vino and it is a great day trip if you are on one of the Carnival Cruises to Ensenada.
Ed Draves, who does all of our “official” mezcal tastings has been a wine guy for years, has tasted more wine than I’ll ever drink, and has traveled extensively in Europe checking out the wine scene.
That made him the perfect guy for us to turn to when we decided to start taking a look at some of the wines of Baja California. Out first look in is L.A. Cetto Wines, the largest producer in Baja California. They have a great piece of property and, in the words of Scott Koenig, are important in helping you understand the smaller scope of some of the other vineyards.
Here are Ed’s thoughts…
LA Cetto Winery, a pioneer in the Valle de Guadalupe, the premier wine region of Northern Baja California, makes a wide variety of wines for every purpose and taste. I had the opportunity to sample the entry level, everyday line of wines and was very impressed.
Blanc de Zinfandel (White Zin) – Very pretty nose of fresh strawberry, very light in the mouth with notes of berries and banana finishing clean and fresh with a fair amount of mouthwatering acidity making it a perfect complement for fruit salads and lighter, summer fare. 3.5 stars. [Out of 5 stars]
Petite Sirah 2013 – Pretty violet color in the glass with a welcoming nose of dark chocolate and black berries light yet pleasant in the mouth with subtle fruit and berry notes and very mild tannins on the finish. A nice easy drinking wine for every day, perfect for social events. 4 stars.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – Ruby red color; full nose of graphite, with berry notes; in mouth shows intense fruit flavors of cassis balanced with oak (aged 18 months) , and well integrated tannis on the finish. A tremendous choice for casual dining and red meat dishes. 4 stars.
In conclusion, these wines are a great introduction to the L.A. Cetto portfolio and have gotten me excited to seek out and try their higher end and reserve wines. They are certainly worth seeking out for my wine cellar.