Monday, July 13, 2015

Mexico - Wine Tasting in the Guadalupe Valley

I almost forgot about this fantastic little weekend getaway we did for my birthday last year that was our favorite kind of fun. Living in San Diego affords you the ease of driving to Baja in Mexico whenever we want.  You just have to endure the long border crossing lines to get home.  Reminder, must get Global Entry.

Husband face and I took a Friday off of work and drove down to a place called Cuatro Cuatros, which was recommended to us by a friend.  It is at the foot of the Guadalupe Valley which is known for it's wineries and wine tasting excursions.  Cuatro Cuatros would be considered sort of luxury safari tents.  They have heat and air conditioning and a shower and a bed.  They were so awesome!  I want one in a big backyard...when I have a big backyard.  I guess this is what you would call glamping but to me it was more like a hotel room then camping. And while we love it here it was too expensive for what we got (over $200/night), plus it was right on a main road so there was lots of traffic noise, something that really bothers me.

Our tent at Cuatro Cuatros
We drove down early on a Friday and were able to check into our tent early and get out to lunch at Finca Altozano which was also recommended to us by a (different) friend. It was HOT the weekend we were there, like 105 degrees hot.  Finca Altozano luckily had a bit of a breeze.  We sat in their open air restaurant overlooking the (dry, dry, dry) vineyards. They had these delicious wood-fired tacos and made me yummy vegetarian potato ones with a fiery hot salsa.

Now I am by no means a wine connoisseur, perhaps a bit of a wino.  I like wine but I am no expert.  I can't take a sip and pick out all the different flavors.  I just know what I like when I taste it.  So I won't write specifically about any wines we tasted.

The view from the restaurant at Finca Altozano

Where I belong in life - a massive barrel of wine
From Finca Altozano we headed to Encuentro, which I think was our favorite stop of the two days. I want to stay here next time we visit.  They had these awesome little lofts perched on the hill above the tasting room.  And apparently on the other side of the hill the "resort" had a pool. The bartender was great and we liked the wines we tasted here the best.  We also asked for recommendations here for the following day since the recommendations from people at the places you enjoy tend to be the best.

The tasting room at Encuentro

Hotel "rooms" at Encuentro

The following day we started at Monte Xanic.  It was a big winery with a tasting room and patio with a beautiful view overlooking a pond. Unfortunately when we arrived they were gearing up for a big wedding for which they were shutting everything down so we did our tasting and they ushered us out of there quick.  As we were leaving 3 tour buses full of people pulled up.  To be honest, we weren't a fan of any of their wines anyway.I

Monte Xanic views

The Monte Xanic tasting patio

After Monte Xanix we made our way to Barón Balch'e just down the road for lunch.  This was our gem of the day.  They had a great outdoor lunch patio to help soak up the vino. They also happened to be setting up for a big event but we had a tasty lunch and watched, they were in no rush to get us out of there.

Barón Balch'e event setup, lunch patio to the left
After Barón Balch'e we felt the need for a nap and headed back to our tent. We woke ourselves in time for sunset and had a nice quiet dinner at Cuatro Cuatros. The restaurant at Cuatro Cuatros is a large white semi-permanent with wood floors and bathrooms at the back.  It has a nice quiet ambiance and a small patio if you want to sit outside with a view of the grapevines. The price is a bit high.  But we weren't too keen on driving around the dark in Mexico after wine tasting, didn't feel like bribing any Federales.

The old boats at Cuatro Cuatros

We were up early in the morning, and even with an early start we had to wait 3 hours in the border crossing line.  Once again a reminder that we need to get that damn Global Entry.