Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ruta del Vino: Build and They Will Drink (2/3)

By Steve Dryden

According to Miguel Fuentes, “Hospitality is the key here and we plan to built a family-oriented project where there is something to offer the entire family from young children to grandparents. We are a family that respects and appreciates the needs of everyone in a family and we plan to share that perspective with our guests. The children can play in the recreation area with supervision, while the parents enjoy wines in our tasting room. We’ll offer food in our family-style restaurant, snacks on the patio, barbecues, and even host special events to include birthday parties and weddings. We’re creating a venue where we can offer something for everyone in
an environment based on fun, education and family entertainment.”

Viños Fuentes has seventy hectares of natural and sustainable land on both sides of the Guadalupe Riverbed. Twelve hectares are planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo with several additional plots are planted in table grapes to include: Ruby Red, Globe, Superior and Thompson seedless grapes. The vines range in age from two years to twenty-five years. In 2008, Miguel will plant Nebbiolo, Syrah, French Columbard and Muscat vines to compliment his vino portfolio. The winery facility, boutique gift shop and restaurant are located in a 8,250 square foot building on a beautiful and natural farm setting. Miguel currently creates small quantities of high quality wine to include: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon/Grenache blend, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon/Grenache blend. Coming soon will be his 2007 Merlot and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Viños Fuentes wines are a Baja California “super value” at $10 to $15 US per bottle with additional case discounts. Hours of operation will start with Thursday through Sunday from 10 am until dusk. Tasting fees are $3 person - refundable towards wine purchase. The winery is located on the paved road (Calle Principal No. 290) that passes through the small village Francisco Zarco, almost directly across from the entrance to Monte Xanic winery. For more details contact: 646 155-2044 646 171-7070 cell or 152*135047*2 Nextel

Another “hidden gold nugget” in southwestern Valle de Guadalupe is Viñas Pijoan, and the new road will open an exciting world for wine lovers and for the Pijoan family. I’ve interviewed several winemakers in Baja’s premier wine country and if I were a professor in viticulture and enology I would give Pau Pijoan an “A” for doing his homework. He studies wine the way Einstein studied physics - meticulously, passionately, relentlessly - and that’s what separates him from the pack. After a few minutes into conversation with Pau, you realize he’s intensely focused on creating “honest wines of integrity.” He’s so committed and determined that he loses ten to fifteen pounds every season during harvest just trying to manage his selected vineyards and detailing his winemaking procedures. This kind of passion and love for the wine culture is what drives his heart and soul, so it’s no surprise that Pau’s wines are so incredible! He’s another important player in the Mexican “wine team” that’s driving the quality of Baja wines into “world class” wines of distinction and sophistication. Serious wine aficionados should note this gentleman and seek out his wine!

Pau Pijoan began his interest with winemaking in England during his post graduate years. His little apartment in London looked more like a winery than living quarters, but it was the beginning of a long relationship in wine craftsmanship and scientific research that eventually led him to Guadalupe Valley in Baja California. He sees this wine region as one of the most important wine growing areas in the world, providing the right climate, soils and conditions to get mature grapes of great structure and concentration. In 1999, he enrolled in a winemaking program directed by enologist, Hugo D’ Acosta, thus taking another step in the direction of fulfilling his passion for creating serious wines. Hugo and Pau have established a working relationship and friendship allowing Hugo to mentor and consult Pau in his desire and passion to develop superior Mexican wines. Hugo D’ Acosta is a former winemaker for Santo Tomas winery and is one of the revolutionary Mexican leaders in the movement helping to create artisan winemakers and boutique wineries capable of creating “world class wines.”

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