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February 2018

Costa Mesa entrepreneur imports Baja wines to Orange County
February 22, 2018

Jim Riley’s love affair with the Baja peninsula began as a teenage surfer, driving down from his Orange County haunts to catch the famed waves along the “lower” portion of what was once greater Mexican California. Riley’s appreciation for the peninsula — which extends from the U.S. border at Tijuana 1,000 miles south to Cabo San Lucas — only grew during his south-of-the-border trips to race off-road vehicles…

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2015 Monte Xanic Gran Ricardo Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot (65/25/10)
February 9, 2018

To be honest, I feel like a review of “current vintage” Gran Ricardo is premature. Everything about this bottle – thick glass, waxed over cork, deep punt – screams “take me seriously!” and “give me time,” but I also think it’s fair to treat this wine with the immediacy expected by consumers. One of the more traditional blends produced in the Valle, the Gran Ricardo is arguably also one of the best-known prestige bottlings. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot…

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2016 Monte Xanic Calixa Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah (80/20)
February 6, 2018

My experience with the Cabernet/Syrah blend comes primarily from Australia, where the two grapes are commonly planted in the various regions of South Australia, both as single variety or as blends. Perhaps the most commercially renowned wine of Australia, Penfolds Grange, is a bold, intense blend of Cabernet and Syrah. The wines of the Valle de Guadalupe, likewise, tend to be big on fruit, oak, body, and general intensity. My expectations for this wine…

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2016 Monte Xanic Vina Kristel Sauvignon Blanc
February 5, 2018

I’m not new to wines from the Valle de Guadalupe, and Monte Xanic’s wines are not new to the region, either. The winery just turned 30, making it one of the oldest in the Valle de Guadalupe (and, let’s be honest, older than the majority of wine labels up and down the California/Baja California coastline!). The Valle de Guadalupe is an arid climate with warm, sunny days throughout much of the year. Breezes and cool air sucked in from the Pacific Ocean cause a pretty shocking diurnal shift…

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