Eduardo Dingler, Wine to Sake, The Valle de Guadalupe, Part II
Editor’s note: This is part II of Eduardo Dingler’s report on visiting one of Mexico’s premier wine regions, the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California.
With great excitement to explore Valle de Guadalupe, we set out to the first wine stop.
The Valle de Guadalupe region has a long history of producing wine dating back to the 1700s. The rich cultural imprint started with Russian and Italian immigrants and later attracted French and American vintners amongst other influences.
Currently, the valley is home to more than 100 wineries, and imminent growth is palpable.
Our first stop, for instance, was Decantos Vinicola recently founded in 2015.
After a short drive from the Hacienda which uncovered a rural scape, we landed at our first destination. It was one of many suggested by Remo Loaiza, our insider guide to the regions. I have to say it did not disappoint.
The architecture of the winery is both strikingly avant-garde and thoughtful on the winemaking side, with gravity in mind.
They have an extensive line up of wines that includes a number of classic Bordeaux varietals, and Spanish ones such as Tempranillo and Carignan, as well as Syrah and Nebbiolo. The production ranges from crisp whites to fruity carbonic maceration and even big oak-influenced reds.
We had a fantastic time tasting through the lineup and soaking the summer sun in their front lawn overlooking the vineyards while enjoying cured meats and cheese as a constant parade of tourists snapped instagramable pictures.
Moving on with the program, Remo took us on a tour of the valley, pointing out a number of important vineyards, which put in perspective the sizable amount of producers.
We made a stop at the Museo de la Vid y el Vino (Grape and Wine Mu Viñedos de la Reinaseum), which offered an in-depth look at the rich history of wine in the valley and gorgeous views of the vineyards.
Then, with building anticipation, we stopped at, one of Remo’s favorite spots. I am not going to lie — we were amazed at the property as soon as we arrived.
The imposing estate located on a hillside is the brainchild of the late successful businessman Roberto Curiel, who started the project in 2006.
Now run by his son Ruben Curiel, who, along with his wife, greeted us upon arrival. After a tour of the winemaking facility, we sat down on the atrium of their celebrated restaurant Salve Asador Campestre. It was then when we started a five-hour-long experience tasting through their lineup and indulging in the many memorable dishes.
The focus of their wine production lies on their awarded reds, Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet, along with one of my favorite wines from the trip, the Viñedos de la Reina Pinot Noir, which is gifted with great complexity and a savory tone, simply mouthwatering.
Some of the must-haves from the menu included the grilled octopus and the bone marrow, which offered an excellent pairing with their big reds.
Overall, it was one of the best dining and tasting experiences I have enjoyed. After early six hours of incredible dishes, thought-provoking wines and conversations, we truly felt like part of the family.
On what seemed like a joke, we had to say goodbye to the Curiel family to head over to our dinner reservation. But that’s what a vacation is supposed to be, right? It reminded me of visiting Italy where days become long meals enjoyed with friends.
Luckily or perhaps not so lucky, the restaurant where we were heading was across the street. Utilizing years of dining experience, we buckled up and mentally prepared for an epic dinner.
We arrived at the highly celebrated Fauna Restaurante, which opened the doors in 2017 at the Bruma Hotel.
The setting is breathtaking and follows the theme we experienced across the valley’s dining destinations, which evoke a sense of being immersed in nature.
The star-filled night sky was a perfect backdrop to the robust trees and dangling lights. After seating, Remo introduced us to executive chef David Castro Hussong, who made time to walk us through the menu.
The food was aesthetically engaging and full of flavor with plenty of standouts like the aguachile on sliced cucumber and the pork salpicon.
The experience was complemented by the expertise of Bordeaux-trained winemaker Lulu Martinez Ojeda, who suggested some incredible pairings, which included the Bruma Ocho Blanc de Noirs Valle de Guadalupe, a balanced, nutty and orchard-driven sparkling wine.
We were grateful for Roberto, Marcela and Remo for the invitation and guidance. We experienced superb hospitality with the most rigorous health measures, and cannot wait to come back and introduce new friends to this fascinating region.
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