ABC’s plant in Santa Fe, just South of Tijuana is close to the Pacific and the sandy beaches and resorts that Baja is famous for, but maybe less well known is the history and emerging excellence of the wines that are winning international acclaim; the 120 mile drive through Baja’s wine country starts just an hour’s drive away.
View a short two minute video plus interesting information about Baja California’s very own ‘Loire Valley’:
Brief History of the Wines of Baja California
In 1524, Hernán Cortés, Spain’s then appointed governor of “New Spain” (modern-day Mexico), ordered every Spaniard that held a land grant to plant grapevines every year for 5 years straight. The resulting species of grapes came to be called “criolla”. These are the grapes that were used for Mexico’s first wine production.
Winegrowing had become well established by 1554 in Mexican haciendas. By 1593, the first commercial vineyard was planted in Parras de la Fuente in the state of Coahuila, the oldest town in northern Mexico. Bodega Marqués de Aguayo was founded in 1597 and is the oldest surviving continuously operating winery in Mexico.
During the sixteenth century, with the help of Jesuit missionaries, winemaking reportedly spread from Mexico into other parts of the America’s including Peru, Chile and Argentina. By the eighteenth century it also spread into Baja California and into parts of western United States.
In 1697, the first Baja mission was founded in the Southern Baja California town of Loreto. Father Ugarte planted the first vineyard there around 1701. In 1888, the Bodegas de Santo Tomás winery was established in Northern Baja and, today, remains the oldest continually operating winery in Baja California.
ABC Aluminum thanks Baja Wines .com (Spanish Translation http://bajawines.com/espanol/]
10 Top Baja Wines As of September 4th 2012
- 92 Viñas de Garza 2007 Amado IV (Valle de Guadalupe). Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Zinfandel blended to excellence. Baja’s top red wine. Editors’ Choice. abv: 13.5% Price: $54
- 91 Vinisterra 2007 Pedregal Syrah-Mourvedre (San Antonio de las Minas Valley). A Syrah and Mourvèdre blend with deep, dark flavors, strong character and structure. Editors’ Choice. abv: 13.8% Price: $45
- 90 Paralelo 2009 Hotel 5 Estrellas (Valle de Guadalupe). Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot, Grenache and Cinsault are the five stars of this full-bodied blend. abv: 14.7% Price: $40
- 90 Tres Valles 2010 Jalá (Valle de Guadalupe). Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, not a match you often see, show power, warmth and clean fruit flavors. A value by Baja standards. Editors’ Choice. abv: 13.5% Price: $17
- 89 Rincón de Guadalupe 2008 Tempranillo (San Vicente). The head of the class among Baja’s varietal Tempranillos and a prime example of the region’s ability to do well with this Spanish grape. abv: 13.3% Price: $36
- 88 Viñas Pijoan 2009 Doménica (Valle de Guadalupe). A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan with a pleasant cherry character and mild Grenache-related heat. abv: 13.7% Price: $22
- 88 Hacienda La Lomita 2009 Singular (Valle de Guadalupe). Cabernet Franc is blended with 10% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Jammy, thick, meaty and densely flavored. abv: 13% Price: $40
- 87 Monte Xanic 2011 Chenin Colombard (Valle de Guadalupe).An unoaked, clean white for salads and seafood. A good wine to go with the classic Baja fish taco. Best Buy. abv: 13.5% Price: $12
- 87 Möebius 2011 Endémico (Valle de Guadalupe).Dry, unoaked Moscatel with aromas of lychee and melon, and similar flavors. abv: 12.8% Price: $19
- 87 Casa de Piedra 2011 Piedra de Sol (Valle de Guadalupe). Unoaked Chardonnay that’s nervy and fresh, with citrus flavors. Starts with an oily popcorn scent that stirs intrigue. abv: 13.8% Price: $23
Courtesy of Wine Enthusiast Magazine 2012
ABC Aluminum hopes that you have enjoyed learning about another of Baja’s success stories, almost a well-kept secret because so much of the wine produced is sold in the domestic market; though as the industry continues to grow and becomes better known in the U.S. and also in Canada, through articles such as this one, this will change…we are lucky enough to live here! Again, we thank Bajawines.com and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. For more information, they will be pleased to help.