Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Viñedos Malagon: Finding Gold in Francisco Zarco !2/3)

Baja Wine Country News
by Steve Dryden

Nathan Malagon, ranch manager, dedicated host, and winemaker is the son of Jose Luis Malagon. His enthusiasm and passion for every aspect of the ranch operation is remarkable. He is among a handful of locals who fully understand and promote the old style of traditional California hospitality. Nathan spent much time growing up on the ranch among family, friends and nature, so when the opportunity presented itself, he felt that living on the ranch in a natural setting with unlimited possibilities was exactly what he had envisioned for himself. Today, he has taken his vision to superb levels of fruition by creating premium wine is a bed and breakfast setting with “world class” ambiance. Nathan came to Valle de Guadalupe armed with skills in traditional hospitality, knowledge in nursery and landscape technology, and experience in the food and wine industry gained by working at Wolf Gang Pucks Cafe Express in Orange County. The Austrian-born Puck is famous for restaurants like Spago, the Hollywood restaurant he opened in 1982, and other high-end restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas. The Puck Express concept was originally designed for airports, college campuses and amusement centers. The restaurants were centered around a large, open pizza oven, and also offered catering and takeout. Nathan was exposed to the culinary arts and some of the world’s best wines while working with Puck.

One of the first winemakers in Valle de Guadalupe to explore the old vine Grenache grapes at Rancho Malagon was Jose Luis Durant, Chilean oenologist, then the winemaker for Pedro Domecq. Soon, a relationship developed between Durant, the Malagon family and the vineyards that continues to this day. Jose is the current winemaker and consultant for Viñedos Malagon. He came to México in the year 2000 to work at the Casa Pedro Domecq vineyards and now owns his own wine company: Sinergi-VT. His natural talent for creating superb wines from Mexico has made him well known and much respected in the region. In addition to working for Viñedos Malagon, he works for local wineries Agrifolia and Norte 32, and owns a partnership in the winery: Vinos y Terruños, Icaro.

To be continued...

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