Baja Wines, Featuring Casa Magoni

BY: HELGA BOGUE

Camillo Magoni has been producing wines in the Guadalupe Valley for 49 years. The new tasting room opened in 2014, and it’s easy to find at Km 84 off the Ensenada - Tecate 3.

Magoni first began his career as a winemaker for L.A. Cetto – one of the largest wineries when there were only a few wineries in the valley. At that time, the valley was mostly comprised of agriculture and grape growers.  Although the Magoni wines are relatively young, Camillo’s experience as a winemaker brings a depth of tasting experience that you will find very interesting. 

The winery currently consists of over 270 acres of vineyard with 112 varietals. Camillo enjoys the process of blending interesting varietals to produce a very surprising palate. 

I’m going to introduce you to three varietals that are current favorites. The 2018 Manaz is a delightful blend of Viognier and Fiano, and it is reminiscent of Camillo’s Italian heritage. His family is from the northern Italian Peninsula and has been making wines for many years. It’s one of the reasons he was attracted to Mexico and a different peninsula. Manaz is named for the campo on which these grapes were grown. It is a pale and luminous yellow color with just a hint of spring green. It has a feeling of summer freshness in their mouth. The mouthfeel is similar to an unoaked Chardonnay, with a flavor more like a sauvignon blanc, fuller than a traditional Viognier. It has a lovely aroma with a crisp apple finish. It pairs well with pork, game, spicy food, shellfish, mild and soft cheeses. The wine is rated 4.0 out of 5. It is a great value at approximately $245 pesos.

The 2018 Chardonnay/Vermentino blend is another example of Camillo’s ability to blend two varietals together to produce a lovely food-friendly wine. The wine is 80 percent Chardonnay and 20 percent Vermentino, an Italian blend. One sip and you will experience the unexpected, a creamy, lemony and grassy flavor. 

Not what you would expect from a Chardonnay. The addition of the Vermentino creates a smoothness on the palate. This wine pairs beautifully with pork, a rich fish like salmon or tuna and poultry or a creamy fettuccine alfredo. It is also a great value in the $215 peso price range.

The 2019 Rose is an amazing blend of 40 percent Grenache, 25 percent Pinot Noir, 25 percent Pinot Meunier and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.  Imagine a burst of strawberries, grass, watermelon and lemon in your mouth! The flavors of raspberry and lemon in this wine will pair beautifully with some local ceviche. It’s an excellent fuller-bodied dry rose, and the beauty of this wine is the clay minerality you can taste at the back of your palate. Another exceptional value in the $215 peso range. These three lovely wines are all from the Valle de Guadalupe.

Helga lives with her husband Charlie in San Jose del Cabo. She is a former restaurateur and wine buyer from the San Francisco Bay Area of California.