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Allison Levine
March 27, 2018 | Allison Levine

The Wines of Monte Xanic

A few weeks ago, on a warm Los Angeles day, I opened up the Monte Xanic 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, and was immediately was taken back to the first time I visited the region. I recalled standing on the deck of Monte Xanic on a hot summer day, looking out at the spectacular view of the Valle de Guadalupe. It was my first trip to Valle de Guadalupe and I was in awe of the modern winery that sat in the middle of the rustic valley.


The Monte Xanic 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is a straw gold color with a green tinge. Tiny little bubbles show the youthfulness of the wine which looks like it is jumping within the glass. Putting my nose to the glass, fruit aromas rush to the front. We are not talking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with strong aromas of gooseberry and green grass. Rather, citrus notes such as lemon and passion fruit and tropical notes such as pineapple are all in the glass, as well as a sour-patch character. On the palate, the wine is subtler. It fills the palate and coats the tongue with notes of sour lemon. There is medium acidity and a medium finish. But just when you think you have finished tasting the wine, your mouth will water, and you will want another sip.


The Monte Xanic 2016 Chenin-Colombard offers a bit more body than the Sauvignon Blanc. A pale gold color, it is made with 98% Chenin Blanc and 2% Colombard. The wine has aromas of red apple, apple skins, lemon and notes of hibiscus flower. The wine hits the front of the palate with notes of lemon and tart pineapple and then tucks under the tongue, making the mouth water. The elegance in the nose of the wine and delicate acidity on the palate make me crave food.


The Monte Xanic Chardonnay 2015 is a bright yellow-gold color with aromas of lemon curd, apple, passion fruit and brown spices. The wine hits the back of the palate, leaving a little tingle of acidity on the front of the palate. More fruit driven than other Chardonnays, I enjoyed this wine over two days and found the wine opened up more on the second day, expressing notes of pear and lemon.


Located 15 miles from the coast, the Valle de Guadalupe experiences hot and dry summers, little rain and a breeze that travels in from the coast. These conditions make the area also conducive to ripening red grapes and the Monte Xanic red wines are fruit driven but not over the top. The Monte Xanic 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot is made with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot. The wine is a beautiful deep cranberry red color. On the nose, the aromas are intense. There are notes of blackberry, raspberry, pomegranate, sweet tobacco, cedar box and brown spices. On the palate, the wine has soft tannins and the fruits and bramble notes prevail. The acidity is fresh and makes the mouth water, wanting a second sip.


I saved my Monte Xanic Calixa 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah, made with 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah, for a rainy day. A vivid cherry red color, just the color of the wine brightened my day. The aromas of dark cherries, plum, cassis and raspberry jump out of the glass, dominating the vanilla, licorice and spices that poke through. While the nose is quite big on this wine, the palate is less aggressive. This is just a drinkable wine.


As I drink the wines of Monte Xanic, not only do I dream about returning to the Valle de Guadalupe but I am also happy to know that a percentage of ALL of the wine sales goes to Orphanages in Baja.

Allison Levine - Freelance Writing for Wine, Spirits, Food, Travel

Certifications: WSET Level 3, Italian Wine Specialist, Barsmarts wired 

Contributor: Napa Valley Register, California Winery Advisor, ATOD, Drizly and more

Time Posted: Mar 27, 2018 at 4:56 PM
Jim Riley
March 16, 2018 | Jim Riley

Baja is Calling

Baja Is Calling

If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you have never been to Baja. This is a magical place that hits your soul and never leaves. I am fortunate enough to have been traveling South since 1983.

In the 80’s, the roadside was plastered with Corona Beer stands where you could buy beer by the case and you had to return the empty bottles. Those were the days when the surf line-up consisted of one local on a swap meet board and a couple dolphins in the distance. We bought cheap roadside tacos and fresh bread from the Panaderia.

Now it’s tough to find a surf line-up not filled with surfers and fisherman. The Corona beer stands are overrun by OXXA stores (selling all kinds of good stuff) and the taco stands still sit in the same places.

I like to go on a weekday to avoid the crowds and discover the real adventure that now resides on the roads of the Valle De Guadalupe. The best parts can be found in the wineries and the restaurants. Almost every place is down a dirt road and feels undiscovered. The doors are open, the signs are welcoming, and the wine is terrific.

It’s nothing like Napa where you feel like you need a reservation and a Porsche to get through the gate. As a matter of fact – a good old fashioned pick-up truck does just fine in the Baja wine country. I have made countless friends in the last twelve months of traveling through the Valle. All you have to do is stop and say, “Hello.”

Most wine owners are unassuming and willing to tell their story. I was surprised to hear how successful many of them were. They are almost untouchable amongst their corporate lives in Mexico City, yet here they want to share every detail of their passion for wine.

I could talk about each and every wine and what I love most about them but this story is more about encouraging you to get in your car and drive South. In less then an hour from the Tijuana border you will reach Hwy 1.  From there, head East and look for the first sign that catches your eye. Don’t be afraid to hit the dirt road and create your own adventure.

Get out of your comfort zone and see what genuine Baja hospitality is all about. The restaurants are a little harder to find but if you ask a local, they will tell you where the best chilaquiles are every time. After you spend a day down there, you will know why Baja is calling.

Jim Riley

CEO of Adventure

Time Posted: Mar 16, 2018 at 3:58 PM

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