Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or on a different planet, chances are that you’ve heard you heard of the Valle de Guadalupe. You’ve probably read something about it, one of your friends has been, or you’ve seen some of the wines produced there popping up at restaurants all over San Diego. The Med @ La Valenica, The Patio on Goldfinch, The Blind Burro, and showcased at select local events.
Imagine being teleported in time. Rustic dirt roads, boulder covered mountains, picturesque charm, kilometers 😉 of green valleys and over 90 vineyards. But if you can believe it, the Valle is soooo much more than that… Baja has been undergoing a cultural rebirth, redefining the arts, music, food and wine for several years now.
Early morning roll call at 745 am heralded birthday celebration of great friends – 24 hours of indulging in Baja’s wine & food in store!
Leave without breakfast. That was the plan… to devour the spread at La Cocina de Doña Esthela. After a couple of minutes on the un-paved road, what appears to be a house pops up, almost in the middle of nowhere. Upon entering the place, it has a sense homeyness, and as it turns out IT IS her house.
Homemade queso fresco and chips, and the aroma of fresh-made tortillas… We knew we were in for a treat! The machaca, huevos a la Mexicana and an order of quesadillas jumped out from the menu!
Doña Esthela herself is making sure everything is on point and everyone is taken care of. After polishing off our plates, she suggests we try the Tatemado (shredded wood roasted lamb). At first bite I realize I wasn’t as full as I thought! Haha…
After our goodbyes it’s on to Encuentro Guadalupe!
Built onto the hillside, the place features 20 eco-lofts built on steel stilts to avoid contact with the soil. Inside reigns minimalism with touches of luxury. No t.v.s as you’re surrounded by unparalleled beauty. The idea is to connect with your surroundings. Mission accomplished.
1st up – Quinta Monasterio
Reynaldo and his family welcomed us to this winery. As we sipped various wines, he shared his path in life, formal training, his family history, and his vision for the future as an oenologist. As an artist, he also talked about how he designs labels and comes up with the names of the wines and hearing his insights was as delightful as sampling his wine.
We also toured the spa where his wife designs a line of body products.
Truth be told, we could’ve been there for a few more hours as he offered to make us food, but time was of the essence and we had missed our second appointment already! Onto the 3rd!
As we left 5ta Monasterio, I was told that we were headed to Vena Cava. Boutique winemaker Phil Gregory makes some of my favorite wines! Not only do his wines draw attention locally and internationally, but the structure does as well. The architecture of his winery is eye-catching and memorable – Built into the earth, the construction is made of from reclaimed materials, including a wooden fishing boat which serves as the roof of the winery!
Another passionate winemaker, he allows us to pepper him with questions, fascinated with his story, technique, love for wine-making.
Luckily for us, our experience there wasn’t over. TROIKa, a food truck that uses the freshest and finest ingredients, is on property. We opted for the ceviche and sliders, which along with local craft beer. We consumed, overlooking a man made lake made us think we might be enjoying a slice of heaven!
Back to Encuentro to freshen up for our last tasting and dinner at Adobe Guadalupe.
Along with the other wineries, picturesque Adobe Guadalupe makes you want to be a winemaker in Baja! In-house sommelier Alejandro Acevedo was in charge of our wine tastings, and we enjoyed ourselves, sipping our way through all of the varietals.
On the property is El Jardin de Adobe headed up by Chef Ryan Steyn. Although we didn’t have the pleasure of enjoying his phenomenal food this dinner, Adobe Guadalupe took great care of us putting together a table for 15 or so, and made it a memorable night!! Which only means I have to make another trip down for Chef Ryan!!!
So great to know that the Valle is so close, if you haven’t been make it happen.
PS, if you are looking to get your feet and need someone to help you set up anything in the Valle, a couple of friends come to mind!!
Club Tengo Hambre is a roving supper club that operates in Tijuana, The Valle, and Mexico City. Its run by Antonio & Kristin Díaz de Sandi. A young couple that wants you to share in their experiences there and they have something every month! And I’ve been on a couple of experiences with them, and they are awesome!
Also, another person is Fernando Gaxiola of Baja Wine + Food. BWF is an event planning/travel concierge/wine club for Baja!! Fernando organizes event’s on both sides of the border! All 3 very good people to know!! 😉