The good life continues in Guadalupe Valley with mild winter weather, abundant rain and exciting new wine releases. Despite the global economic turndown the Mexican wine industry continues to emerge and move forward. New vineyards are appearing throughout the valley, new wineries are being built, and wine lovers continue to explore the local wine culture. Visitor numbers are higher than the 2009 season, but the international tourist levels are down. In other words, Mexicans are embracing Mexico’s silent revolution in creating world class wine as they slowly move from a beer and tequila drinking culture towards more wine consumption. And, the timing is perfect as the quality of Baja California wines is rapidly improving. Several local wineries are producing high quality wines which seem to get better with each vintage. Malagon, Fuentes. Vinisterra, Tres Valles, Liceaga, and Roganto are among the better producers these days. Malagon winery or Viñedos Malagon has released two new red table wine blends, both priced under $15 us, thus becoming very popular with savvy wine drinkers who are seeking bargains in these slow economic times. Vinos Fuentes continues to offer FREE wine tasting with a diverse selection of ten red wines. Their newest release, 2006 Oporto, is a delightful dessert wine priced under $20. Their tasting room has evolved into one of the most user-friendly operations in the valley, offering samples of many regional gourmet delights that compliment their wine and the visitor experience. Oslavia White Wine or Shoud It Be: O Soulvia? Oslavia Winemakers Put Soul Into Wine We’ve all know about “soul food” but few international wine and gourmet culinary lovers have discovered the “soul wine” of northeastern Italy. These days world-class white wines are slipping under the radar of serious wine connoisseurs who haven’t experienced premium wine from the Collio region of Italy. Located about 25 miles north of Trieste and near Gorizia, along the Slovenian border, lies mineral rich soils in golden vineyards of native grapes of Friulano, Malvesia and Ribolla. The Collio DOC does allow for the use of twelve white grapes (native and recent introductions) but one varietal that captured my attention and conquered my palate was the native Ribolla or Ribolla Guilla. And, it was the amazing wine made from these grapes, as well as the “soulful” individuals from the Oslavia region that really impressed me. Having an Austrian-Hungarian heritage, I almost felt it was a family reunion with the Oslavia crew, especially when they poured their “bottled treasures of delight” within the ancient chapel of Saint Valentine, on the Italian-Slovenian border, under the purple haze of the Giulie Alps. Venica and Venica Winery: Tradition, Passion and Respect I recently toured The Collio wine country of northeastern Italy located in Friuli Venezia Giulia, one of the country’s twenty main regions. The Collio is home to the majority of Italy’s “world class” whites wines made from indigenous and non-native varietals of grapes. This compact grape growing region contains less than 4,000 acres of vineyards, with about eighty percent dedicated to growing white varietals. The range of habitats and ecosystems in The Collio are diverse, the soils are mineral rich, with elevations ranging from about 250 feet to 600 feet above sea level. The flagship wines here are called Collio Bianco, many of which are traditionally made from natives species of Ribolla Gialla, Tocai (now Friulano) and Malvasia, although Collio D.O.C. rules now allow for the addition of French varietals as well. My greatest discovery while traveling in this region was how well these amazing white wines tasted and paired harmoniously with the wide range of culinary delights handcrafted in northeastern Italy. Few culinary lovers, outside of Italy, know that this region is just as rich in an abundance of gourmet cuisine. For example, the world’s finest cured (prosciutti) hams are popular in the Collio, but are made in nearby at San Daniele del Friuli.
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The good life continues in Guadalupe Valley with mild winter weather, abundant rain...