Tasting Traditional Wines of The Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe

The wild west of wine

Jonathan Rivera guides visitors through the wines, including a wild fermented Chenin Blanc – “Chenin does very well in this region” – a funky Tempranillo and a medium-bodied red blend, Canto de Luna. “The valley is the wild west of wine right now,” he said. “Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Nebbiolo are the top three varieties planted here. We’re not covered by an AOC, DOC or appellations. We have the liberty of experimenting. We’re breaking the paradigm of ‘it grows together, it goes together’.”

This same willingness to experiment led Alonso Granados to personally design the Decantos winery and everything in it. By using gravity to transfer wine from tank to barrel, he completely eliminates pumps, helping to maintain the integrity of the wine’s aroma, flavour, and colour.

Alonso Granados of innovative winery, Decantos

Like many of the new buildings springing up in the Valle, Decantos is as impressive to architecture lovers as it is to wine connoisseurs. The glass-walled pavilion is modern and minimalist, with an interior balcony overlooking the winery’s inner workings. Decantos has around 40 acres, all of it planted to Carignan, but it buys or exchanges enough to make more

than 30 varietals. Most wines in the Valle are blends but Alonso is on a mission to make a single varietal from every one of the region’s varieties, although his premium wine, 981, is a blend.

Alonso ended up spending eight years working in La Rioja. “It was the best thing I ever did. I’m never going back to being a lawyer.” As for the wine that first captured his interest? “To tell you the truth, the wine was awful but it tasted fine because it was a family wine.”

 if you go

  • Discover Baja
  • Hotel Boutique
  • Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards & Inn
  • Bajamar Oceanfront Golf Resort
  • Club Tengo Hambre and Turista Libre offer guided food and wine tours.
  • Uber Valle enables Uber users to hail a wine country chauffeur for a day.
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