Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ensenada's newest wine tasting room (2/3)

Nathan Malagon of Viñedos Malagon Winery near Francisco Zarco in Valle de Guadalupe is the new partner of the Roganto-Malagon Tasting Room. According to Nathan, “both Roganto and I wanted to provide visitors and local wine lovers in Ensenada an opportunity to explore our wines. Due to the fact that our wineries are located in remote areas, we’ve teamed up to bring our wines directly to wine consumers with our winery pricing. In addition, by May 1st, we plan to be open on Friday and Saturday night until midnight, so on weekends we’ll transform into a wine bar and lounge.” Renowned Orange County Peruvian Chef Ennio will be offering his famous Peruvian-Italian-Mexican fusion entrees on Wednesday and Thursday from noon until 5 p.m. Currently the tasting room offers FREE paella on Wednesdays with the purchase of a glass of wine, and cheese cake topped Malagon’s lemoncetto at $3 per slice ~ everyday.

Ennio Rocca has been a leading Chef in the Laguna Beach and Newport Beach area for over twenty-five years. He’s originally from Peru and is in the process of transitioning from Laguna to become a contributor to Ensenada’s “culinary renaissance.” He’s well known for his style of cooking that combines a blend of Peru, Italy and Mexico cuisine, seasoning and flavors into culinary delights that pair well with premium wines.

Viñedos Malagon is known for growing quality “old vine Grenache.” In fact, one of their three premium wines won a gold this year in the 16th International Wine Competition in Ensenada and their 2006 Reserva received 92 points from Wine Spectator magazine. 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.

I suggest that you don’t drive this route at night or when highly intoxicated, as it is a narrow, winding, one lane route, often occupied by slow-moving trucks. Here in San Antonio de las Minas the wine country begins and extends along Highway 3 for about fourteen miles. Scattered about the valley and foothills are about twenty-five wineries, several restaurants with great food, specialty shops, art galleries, gourmet coffee and lodging. And, you’ll find wonderful people!

At this point I’m going to share with readers my favorite and most popular day tour to the wine country. Some of the wineries are “user friendly” while others don’t focus on tasting room sales or hospitality. Some of the wineries sell out their inventory each season, market their wines to commercial distributors and could care less if you visit their wineries or sample their wine. I’m going to save you time and frustration by sending you to my friends ~ who love sharing their wines and hospitality. You’ll meet some great folks! You need to know that all valley restaurants and food establishments are closed by 6 p.m. This tour does focus on the region of San Antonio de las Minas and you’ll have to double back some, but this is an easy tour for newcomers as well as experts. If you are an early bird (9 am) Casa Vieja opens at 9 am, and you can adjust your tour as needed.

To be continued ...

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