Eric and I celebrated the end of the semester in Mexico, wine tasting. My favorite border crossing is Tecate, so that allowed us to go to my favorite bakery, El Mejor Pan.
Our first stop was Château Camou. Founded as a vineyard in 1985 and making wines 10 years later, it is the third oldest winery in the valley. It is my new favorite winery! For 10 dollars we got a tour and a personal wine waitress and 5 (well over 5 ounce) tastings of spectacular wines.
The winery is underground as to help keep the building cool without artificial air. They recently built this tasting room (so recently that they were asking our opinion on the room) because they needed the extra space (not necessarily today, as we were the only ones in there). Everything in the room (the bar, the stools, the wine racks, the hanging lights...) were made by employees of the winery. You can see that they use the slats of old wine barrels to make most of the items.
They brought us some of their home grown olives. Unfortunately they were wasted on us. It just tasted like we were being poisoned, but I know better, this is how olives are supposed to taste. I don't understand how so many people could have malfunctioning taste buds.
But we can agree on the wine, can't we? The wine was good. They even had a yummy dessert wine. It wasn't a port, it seemed more like wine syrup.
This door, located on the third story of the building, is the door on their logo.
Temperature is crucial when making wine. When they pick the grapes they keep them in the hallway behind this door, before bringing them into the sorting room, so they can aclimate.
I have never seen this before. The sorting room is located on the third floor, which houses the openings to the tanks located on the second floor. So clever.
Apparently, music is key to making wine. They play music for their grapes and wine (on a schedule) to help them reach their full, harmonious potential.
Mind your own business.
One of the employees took it upon himself to organize the bottles in the gigantic storage room in order to create works of art.
The owner, Fernando Favela, was more than happy to stop what he was doing (deciding when a new batch of wines should be sold...life is full of difficult choices) to come and talk to us.
Not only did we meet the owner but his brother-in-law, the attorney who helps with the financial end.
Fernando lives in Ensenada but has dreams of building a house on the property. He said that when they are harvesting he doesn't get off work until after 1am.
They harvest the red grapes at night, and the white grapes in the early morning.
After our generous servings of wine we wanted to get a bite to eat. Eric said either tortas or tacos sounded good. Our wine waitress recommended a place nearby, and then walked us around the corner to Lechoni's Tortas and Tacos. It was warm but it was shaded and there was a delicious breeze. The food was perfect.
I have been to la Cava de Marcelo (just an hour east of Ensenada) where this cheese was made. The owner of la Cava de Marcelo is the cousin of the owner of this torta shop.
These cherry tomatoes, drenched in fresh olive oil and spices, were the best either of us have ever had (and we don't even like cherry tomatoes!).
Vinisterra was recommended to us so we drove the 20 minutes to the other side of town, where this winery is located.
This brick dome in the tasting room may very well be the coolest architectural accent I have seen at a winery.
The bricks are all made in town, the employee boasted.
The wine was delicious. We sampled a white, a rosé, and two reds.
The building pictured is now the owner's home, but it was once the original winery and tasting room, before the expansion, and the beautiful brick dome tasting room.
We had Italian for dinner, at Tre Galline. It was very pricey (not just for Mexico, but in general) but the food was delicious. This was a complimentary zucchini filled puff pastry of some sort, drizzled with olive oil and pesto and sprinkled with jamaica. Amazing.
Our view, from the open air restaurant.
I couldn't help but order the butternut squash raviolis in a butter sauce, sprinkled with sliced almonds.
While we were here eating, we ran into our wine waiter from Vinisterra, who had come here for a dinner date.
I guess we tipped too much...
Tre Galline is on the left, in the shadows (a little difficult to see).
We headed home after this.
It was a long day but you can't help but appreciate where we live, that we can just drive down to Mexico for the day to drink extraordinary wine in gorgeous wineries (without crowds).