Mexico Archives - Please The Palate
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A few weeks ago, on a warm Los Angeles day, I opened up the Monte Xanic 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, and was immediately was taken back to the first time I visited the region. I recalled standing on the deck of Monte Xanic on a hot summer day, looking out at the spectacular view of the Valle de Guadalupe. It was my first trip to Valle de Guadalupe and I was in awe of the modern winery that sat in the middle of the rustic valley. The Monte Xanic 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is a straw gold color with a green tinge. Tiny little bubbles show the youthfulness of the wine which looks like it is jumping within the glass. Putting my nose to the glass, fruit aromas rush to the front. We are not talking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with strong aromas of gooseberry and green grass. Rather, citrus notes such as lemon and passion fruit and tropical notes such as pineapple are all in the glass, as well as a sour-patch character. On the palate, the wine is subtler. It fills the palate and coats the tongue with notes of sour lemon. There is medium acidity and a medium finish. But just when you think you have finished tasting the wine, your mouth will water, and you will want another sip.
There is a must go-to place in San Jose del Cabo. It is not a particular hotel; it is not the beach; it is not a tequila bar; it is not a taco stand. It is an organic farm and restaurant called Flora Farms. I was in Cabo, staying on the beach on the tip of the Pacific Ocean side. My friends had heard about this place from a chef friend and asked me to join them. We ordered a taxi and took a one hour drive back towards the airport to San Jose del Cabo. After passing large hotel after large hotel, we turned down a dirt road and drove another 10 minutes and arrived at Flora Farms. Flora Farms in an organic compound owned by Gloria and Patrick Greene. As the car parked, we came across a few shops, including one where over-priced locally-made soaps were for sale as well as a James Perse clothing store. There was also a wine and coffee bar. We followed the path to the left and at the end is Flora’s Field Kitchen and Flora’s Farm Bar. An open-air restaurant, Flora’s Field Kitchen has an rustically modern and natural feel to it. We took a seat at our table as the water misters cooled us down.
This story originally appeared in California Winery Advisor. After having explored the wine regions of “alta” California, including NapaSonomaMontereyPaso RoblesSanta Barbara, Malibu and Temecula, it is time to find the best Baja California wineries for wine tasting! Located across the U.S./Mexico border, approximately one hour south of Tijuana, the Valle de Guadalupe is the wine capital of Mexico. While 90 percent of the wine in Mexico is produced here, there are only 6,000 acres of vines and a total of 1.5 million cases of wine produced per year. Vines were first planted by monks in 1579 but by 1699, the king of Spain prohibited making wine except for the church. Winemaking started growing again in 1821 after Mexico gained its independence from Spain. Bodegas de Santo Tomás, the first of the Baja California wineries, was established in 1888 and in 1906 the Valle de Guadalupe was established by Russian immigrants who had fled the Russian Revolution. L.A. Cetto, the largest of the Baja California  wineries in the valle, was founded in 1928. But social, economic and cultural problems hindered the development of the wine culture until approximately 30 years ago. Today there are estimated 120 wineries in Baja. Valle de Guadalupe is 12 miles north of the beach town of Ensenada. The climate is similar to that of the Central Coast. Days are warm with summer temperatures reaching 100 degrees and nights are cool. Valle de Guadalupe is influenced by the ocean and is protected by two mountain ranges, one to the north and one to the south.
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