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Baja United Imports

Jim Riley
 
January 25, 2018 | Jim Riley

Is this the next Napa Valley?

Monte Xanic Winery is the reason I believe people ask me if the Valle De Guadalupe is the next Napa Valley. Monte Xanic was the first to produce a luxury wine from Mexico recognized around the world. They have a state of the art facility with the wine to back up any and all claims.  In order to get a tour you must first obtain a reservation which is not that hard to do but don’t forget – the gate security is on point. Once you pass through the gates you will immediately notice the size of the property and the natural setting of the winery itself. On the west side of the dirt road there is a flower farm with several varietals that are seen around town on the tables. Arranged with perfection. The balance of the property is grape vines and a large water reservoir. The winery itself sits in the hillside utilizing the granite as the walls for the barrel room. There is a small cottage on the waters edge for picnics and wine tasting if you want to stay outdoors. I would highly recommend heading straight to the main tasting room and enjoy the views and some top-notch wine education. They have several varietals to choose from and I have a hard time picking a favorite. My wife is a big fan of the Calixa Cabernet Syrah, which is soft on the pallet and easy to enjoy. The winery just celebrated its 30th anniversary and they have a rich history amongst its founders. Even at this major operation that is intimidating, you can often find Hans Backhoff the owner, driving around in his new Jeep. Monte Xanic is the first partner to believe in the vision of Baja United and its mission to “Live with a Purpose”. It’s not easy to pick just one varietal from Monte Xanic so plan on grabbing a few online at www.bajaunitedwines.com. We are proud to be partnered with Monte Xanic and celebrate our vision together.

 

Salud,

 

Jim Riley – CEO of Adventure

 

Time Posted: Jan 25, 2018 at 6:27 PM
Jim Riley
 
January 25, 2018 | Jim Riley

The best boutique winery in the Valle De Guadalupe

“Make a right and two left turns down a dirt road and you are there,” I am told by the waiter at the Russian Empanada restaurant down the highway. Of course, his definition of a dirt road driveway vs. mine is completely different. But you cannot mistake the rustic signs and the gate that keeps the dogs inside at Valle Girl Vino. Although at first you are not sure if this is someone’s house or place of business. The answer is simple, it’s both! And thank goodness for that as Sitara's future daughter-in-law brings fresh bread out to the table from the kitchen. I usually arrive at Sitars place during off hours so the gates are closed and the dogs are out in the yard. I love this because it’s real life and that’s what we crave the most in humanity. Everyone scrambles to grab the dogs while yelling out to not let them out of the gate. I guess they like cats and know where they are all living locally. Apparently this is a problem since on my last visit my partner let the dogs out on accident and some quick calls were made by Sitaras son to the neighbors to keep the cats inside. “Hmmm..” I think to myself as I envision what this might have looked like if the calls were not made. Not good. Back to the property and Sitara. What most people don’t know is that Sitara will be your next best friend and the reason why you will drive to Baja in the future. She is one of the coolest people on the planet that has a dream and a winery to prove it. She is happy to tell you her story and how she got there. She will also open her patio up to you to taste some very unique blends of wine that she is extremely proud of. Look around and you will see some of the awards she has won and the story behind the labels on her bottles. This is about the time that fresh bread arrives paired with some locally produced olive oil. It’s all rather surreal and enjoyable at the same time. You completely forget about the dogs that got out because by now they are back and lying at your feet. This is the Mexico that I love and try to explain to all my friends back home. Some things you have to experience for yourself. In the meantime you can enjoy any one of her varietals sold online at www.bajaunitedwines.com

 

Salud,

 

Jim Riley – CEO of Adventure

 

Time Posted: Jan 25, 2018 at 6:26 PM
Jim Riley
 
January 25, 2018 | Jim Riley

Las Nubes. You’ll Be Glad You Have Your iPhone.

One thing that I really love about traveling through the Valle De Guadalupe is that it’s not too big, which means you can see from one side to the other at the right vantage points. Part of the adventure is to spot something in the distance and just point your car in that direction. It’s not exactly how I discovered Las Nubes but as a first-time visitor, the property can easily be seen from just about anywhere in the Valle. I love that about this location because it proves my point every time – this place has some incredible infrastructure. I like to think of Las Nubes as an Italian Estate on the hillside with its massive rock walls, the color of the roofline, and the bougainvillea flowers that line the winery. The property is also surrounded by Olive trees which help to cut the wind down and protect the grapes. On my first visit I met one of the very unassuming owners, Victor Segura, and he told me all about his vision and why the winery sits where it does now. He lead everyone to the massive rock staircase leading down to the aging room and asked us to take a seat and look out towards the Valle. This is when your thankful for your iPhone camera and the great pictures they take. The view is EPIC. It gets even better when Victor explains how he walked up that hill before anything existed their and looked out on the same Valle and decided, because of this view, he would build his winery on that exact spot. He points out the clouds in the distance and their meaning to him and why most of his wines are named after the types of clouds in the sky. This is the other thing I really enjoy about the Valle De Guadalupe – most owners or partners are very involved in the daily operations and the chances of meeting one of them is very likely.  Victor finishes his tour in the aging room while he talks about the climate control, his state of the art building, and where his project is going in the future. By this time, the upstairs patio is filled with locals because they all know this is the best view in the Valle. They also know they can enjoy his perfectly paired wines with the appetizers on his menu that are accented with the Lavender that is grown throughout the property. What I love the most about the wines at Las Nubes, is they are equally as good at home even – without the view.  Visit the www.bajaunitedwines.com website and find your varietal. 

 

Salud,

 

Jim Riley – CEO of Adventure

 

 

 

Time Posted: Jan 25, 2018 at 6:24 PM
Jim Riley
 
January 25, 2018 | Jim Riley

Relieve. (The Name I Get Wrong Every Time)

I admit that after 30 years visiting Mexico, I’ve still yet to learn the language. However, that has never stopped me from having a great time. When a local told me about Relieve Winery, located down a long dirt road, I was all in. I’m a sucker for dirt roads and a “hidden” location. As you pull into the front gates, the first thing you see is a beautiful water reservoir with a winery set against the hillside. Right now, you can taste the wines at their restaurant “Mixura” that’s on the other end of the lake, as they work to remodel the Winery location.  I’m always amazed at the architecture and structures being built in the Valle. There is no question in my mind that they are in this for the long haul. When you arrive, you can’t help but walk around and look at everything around you, soaking up the Baja sunshine. But I know I am there with a purpose, and that is to eat and taste some great wines. Relieve is no exception to that. The view is amazing and if you ask for help on the property you are greeted with professionals, ready to serve you and ensure that you have everything you came for. The particular day I visited Relieve I had just come from a fabulous meal down the road and really just wanted to taste wine. I sat down at their very industrial designed container restaurant with great floral arrangements. And although I was not there to eat, they sent over some complimentary appetizers that I would not soon forget. For a full set of tasting notes – visit the www.BajaUnitedwines.com web page and try something for yourself. They do not disappoint. Relieve originates from the Topographic term that involves the vertical and horizontal dimensions of land service – still doesn’t mean I can pronounce it correctly in Spanish.

 

Salud,

 

Jim Riley – CEO of Adventure

 

Time Posted: Jan 25, 2018 at 6:20 PM
Jim Riley
 
January 25, 2018 | Jim Riley

How I Discovered Vena Cava

When I plan a trip to head south of the border, it’s all about the adventure. I head to Baja with a surfboard strapped to the top of my car or a race truck attached to the tow hitch. I speed down Highway 1, focused on the Pacific Ocean with a yearning towards something spectacular to the East. This something is the Valle De Guadalupe, a place with the spirit of adventure and home to some of the most unique “pioneers” in the wine industry. When I arrive, I love exploring the back roads of the Valle and discovering great new places in Baja California, Mexico. In the last year, I’ve met some of the most wonderful, gracious, and intelligent people that live and work in the Valle. I have also had the opportunity to taste some of best new wines to hit the marketplace in years. When you ask around, the first place locals recommend is Vena Cava Winery. You can’t go wrong heading down the dirt road to Phil and Eileen’s place. They are both passionate and experienced wine makers, well-versed in the history of the Valle. I would suggest stopping by early in the day, giving yourself plenty of time to taste through the portfolio while Phil shares some stories with you. You can also review the full Vena Cava portfolio offered on www.bajaunitedwines.com. If you can only taste one, the Big Blend is a local favorite.  

 

Salud,

 

Jim Riley – CEO of Adventure

 

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