Featuring Casta de Vinos
BY HELGA BOGUE
The Guadalupe Valley is so perfectly suited for growing grapes. The soil, which was created by geological events, the volcanic granite and the sea sediment deposits have enriched the valley floor to aid in the production of many varieties of grapes. Here is where Sergio Castañeda Piña chose to set down the first roots of his vineyard, Casta de Vinos.
Sergio and his family are passionate about their wines and are involved in all phases of production, from growing and tending the vines to pressing the grapes, fermentation and bottling. Casta de Vinos is a small winery with very limited production and distribution, mainly in Baja California. The family focuses on quality, and most of their wines have won international prizes. Although the production is small, they are well known and respected in the Valley.
I would like to introduce you to four very different wines, which are readily available at Baja Wines in San Jose.
Pitaya is a beautiful Grenache Rose. It exudes an explosive aroma of strawberries, peaches, guava and ripe pineapple. The wine pairs beautifully with shellfish, salmon, tuna and chiles en Nogado. This wine has won two gold medals in competition and has a lovely light finish. It sells for 290 pesos.
Casta Blanca Chardonnay is very light at only 12.5% alcohol. The flavors of guava, peach and citrus are a wonderful blend on the palate. This wine is a three-time gold medal winner in Mexico as well as a silver medal winner in Brussels. It pairs perfectly with ceviche, clam chowder, green salads as well as a margarita pizza. Baja Wines has it available for 290 pesos.
Cardon is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet and Mouvedre. It has intense aromas of black cherry, figs, blackberry, black pepper, vanilla and cocoa. The wine has won both gold and silver medals and has consistently been rated above 90 points. One might imagine with all the wonderful aromas that the wine might be heavy, but it is light and lovely at only 13.8% alcohol. It pairs very well with carne asada, hearty pizza or grilled octopus with fine herbs. You can purchase this wine at Baja Wines for 340 pesos.
Cirio is a blend of Mouvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a blackberry fruitiness about it, along with spiced figs, black pepper, thyme and bay leaf. You will also get some aromas of cloves, toasted almonds and vanilla on this lovely wine. It is another gold and silver medal winner that always receives over 90 points in tasting. Cirio is the perfect wine to pair with authentic Mexican cuisine. It can be purchased for 420 pesos.
Casta de Vinos produces other wines in such small quantities that they sell out immediately. One of their secrets to producing such delicate and flavorful wines is the fact that they use only a light press when they extract the juice. Sometimes referred to as “free flow” juice, the grapes are only pressed lightly rather than crushing completely. This “free flow” juice provides the richest flavor from the grapes without picking up any bitterness from the seeds.
The winery is open for visitors, and they have a restaurant on the weekends. Should you pass through the Guadalupe Valley, be sure to stop and taste their wines, but until you take your next road trip, check out Baja Wines and why not host a private tasting with your friends!
Helga Bogue lives with her husband Charlie in San Jose del Cabo full-time. She is a former restauranteur and wine buyer from the Bay Area of California.