While on a short cruise to Catalina and Ensenada last week, we took a tour of the wineries in Guadalupe Valley a short drive from Ensenada. Guadalupe Valley is in a similar weather region as the southern countries of Europe. They can have quite hot days with ocean breezes cooling off the evenings. Therefore, they can grow similar grape varietals as the southern parts of Portugal, Spain, France and Italy.
One of my favorites is L.A. Cetto, started by a Mexican family of Italian descent several decades ago. In the few years we’ve been able to visit them they have expanded and upgraded their facilities many times. Their large covered patio area cut into a nearby hill overlooks miles of vineyards and is surrounded by huge bougainvilleas in purples, oranges, violets, whites and lavenders plus beautifully blooming roses (always seen at traditional wineries to determine the health of grape vines) and groves of olive trees – beautiful!
L.A. Cetto has a large selection of red and white wines they offer, but I much preferred their Cabernet Sauvignon and their Petite Syrah. They offer generous tastings and reasonable prices, so I had to buy a couple of bottles to bring home.
We also visited another smaller winery, an organic winery. I have tasted at another organic winery while in the Guadalupe Valley which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was not that winery. Let’s just say they were very friendly, but my wine tasting did not go too far. But they do have a large inventory of bottled sauces, olive oils, preserves and other unique food items. One item I purchased was an organic chipotle sauce that I think would be perfect spread on some grilling chicken. I also found an organic olive oil with a savory blend of herbs. But what I was really excited about, especially after my last blog comparing finishing salts, was a grinder of Sea of Cortez natural sea salt with chiltepin peppers (they are small, very hot peppers). The Sea of Cortez is on the inside of the Baja Peninsula between Baja and the mainland of Mexico. Each grind releases a salty and spicy burst of goodness. It’s going to make a great finishing salt.
You’ve got to give the wines of Guadalupe Valley a try. Pick them up if you find them at your local wine shop.
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