Back in March, we drove from Carson City, Nevada to Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico with big plans to eat, to drink… and to buy large, clay pots for our outdoor plants. (The pots are very, very cheap.)
Where is Valle de Guadalupe? The Valle is located about 45 miles south of Tecate, a town on the California/Mexico border, and about 14 miles north of Ensenada.
If you love wine, consider visiting Baja’s wine country. The region produces 90% of Mexico’s wine. Though wine has been produced in the area for over 100 years, the last decade has seen some serious growth – there are now over 100 wineries in the area!
As we drove across the border, it was clear that our moisture rich winter had a beautiful effect on the Valle (a stark contrast to the previous year when we drove down at the end of December). The mountains were a lush green and there were California poppies in bloom everywhere. On this visit, Matt and I made the drive with our friends, Brian and Thea.
We stayed at Villa Saoce, a three bedroom, two bathroom house in a very quiet neighborhood. We planned for four nights, which is just enough time to spend a ton of money stocking up on wine.
These cuties came from a neighboring house to greet us every morning and every evening.
Let’s talk about where we ate. (Aside from the meals we made at the house.)
We stopped at Lupe for lunch and ate delicious tortas served from a restored 1960’s Airstream.
We had dinner at Valle 13, a restaurant in the small town of Francisco Zarco, right across from the grocery store, Mercado Liz. We love Valle 13 because it’s inexpensive with excellent food.
We had delicious pizzas at Ochentos.
This is our second time dining at Finca Altozano. Both times, the place was packed and the food was outstanding. (This place is on the same property as Lupe – the Airstream with the tortas – and owned by the same chef, Javier Plascencia.)
Now let’s get to the wine.
But brace yourself – we tried a lot of wine. In addition to wineries we loved in the past, we tried several new (to us) places too.
Sol y Barro was a winery we discovered simply because it was next to one of our favorite wineries. I’m glad we found it because the wine was delicious and Silvia, the woman pouring our wine, was very entertaining.
Rondo del Valle is my favorite winery in Valle de Guadalupe. All their wine is excellent, but the Cautivo is the best. At least it was the best at the time that I wrote this. I have a bottle of their Morador (a simple Shiraz/Cab/ Merlot blend) which I suspect I might like even more.
Lomita is one of our favorites as well. Great wine and lots of cool spaces to hang out while you sip.
We stopped at Finca la Carrodilla based on a recommendation. Or maybe it was photographs of their cheese plates we saw in a local magazine. However we got here – isn’t it gorgeous?
The roads were in extra rough shape after the rainy winter. The main roads are paved, but many of the wineries and tasting rooms are on dirt roads.
Montefiori is also one of our favorites. Above is a picture I took last year since the only shot from the winery this year is a horrible selfie of Thea and I. Also, the tasting room moved from where we were standing over to the building on the far left of the frame.
Tres Mujeres was our first Baja wine experience. In 2014 we were heading back home from a two week road trip around the Baja peninsula and this winery was the one and only place we stopped in the Valle. When I think about that now, it seems strange that we drove up a steep, skinny, dirt road to get here when surely there were other, more easily accessible options. But I’m so glad we did because I love this place!
The tasting room is very cozy and always with a bit of chill because you’re in a cave. The woman pouring your wine is usually one of the winemakers, and she always has a great story.
Decantos is one of the large tasting rooms that can accommodate a BIG crowd. I usually avoid these places, but for some reason, we keep coming back.
That’s for the wineries we visited on this trip, but if you want to see more of the Valle, check out this blog post from a previous trip.
And here they are: the pots! There are several of these roadside stands on the drive between wine country and Tecate. Three large pots for $12. Hell. Yes.
What to you think? Do you want to visit Valle de Guadalupe? Pick up a map of the Ruta del Vino and enjoy!
Want to read more about the Valle and Baja? Click on the links below: