Valle de Guadalupe, the Napa Valley of Baja California, Mexico is located between Ensenada and Tecate along road #3. Right in the heart of this valley is Viñedos Malagon, in the small town of Francisco Zarco. Viñedos Malagon a huge piece of land of approximately 1700 acres with approximately 18 acres planted with grapevines. When my wife and I arrived at the property we were greeted by a friendly assistant, Anna Rosa, who immediately made us feel at home.
It was a pleasure to see the owner Jose Luis Malagon again, after having met him a couple years ago at the Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Festival, where he won a medal for one of his wines. Malagon Winery has been producing great wines since 2007. José Luis bought this property about 20 years ago, and there were already 40-year old Grenache vines planted. The Vines were originally planted by the early settlers, Molokans, who were Russian immigrants circa 1900. The first structure we entered was a small charmingly immaculate house reminiscent of old Spanish Mexico, which presently houses one of their two tasting rooms. Jose Luis, told us “We love this little house; we’re preserving it as a small museum. “
Jose Luis took us to the small winery, where they had just finished bottling the day before. After visiting the winery, Jose Luis pointed to a location about three quarters of a mile away, where we would be staying at the bed and breakfast. The bed-and-breakfast consists of four beautiful suites in two buildings, a separate building with a kitchen dining room and a lounge area for visitors to enjoy. There behind the bed and breakfast buildings is where their larger tasting room is located in a charming rustic semicircular wood building.
Jose Luis recommended we go to dinner at a local restaurant called the Hacienda de Guadalupe, where we experienced the most wonderful early dinner as we watched the sunset. Sipping on Malagon Reserve wine of course! For appetizers we had seared ostrich bites, absolutely delicious; for the main course I ordered baked lamb, my wife ordered the herb-crusted quail, and to finish, they brought us a meringue shell filled with fresh fruit and whipped cream. The price at Restaurant Hacienda de Guadalupe was amazingly reasonable. Needless to say, we made reservations for the following evening to the most prominent table in the terrace overlooking the valley. After dinner we went back to Viñedos Malagon, where believe it or not, Jose Luis treated us to wine and conversation well into night! We woke up the next morning in this magnificent place overlooking the vineyards and listening to the sound of birds singing and the quiet calm breeze of a beautiful day.
This is not just a run of the mill bed and breakfast, it’s the real thing! Frankly, we were treated to a breakfast fit for royalty. Our breakfast was served in the back terrace overlooking the Vineyard at the foot of the majestic stone-clad mountains. The mountains seemed to be masterfully painted against the bright blue skies. To be at this oasis at the foot of the cul-de-sac of mountains surrounded by 60-year old Grenache vines was truly a delight. We needed this spirit calming retreat for a couple of days, and what an enchanting place to do it!
Jose Luis Malagon is a cheerful positive-thinking gentleman who loves nature, and especially the Vineyard. He continues to plant more vines in his 1700 acres. He plans on planting white Grenache next, to stay in the tradition of his great Grenache wines. What I found was that in this wonderful place freedom of thought and expression come together. Viñedos Malagon Winery and Bed and Breakfast is a five-star destination in my book! It is a well-kept secret, which we plan to continue to visit for years to come, and hope you do too!
Malagon wines will be sampled at the Sierra Pelona Valley Wine Festival on April 20th., 2013