I've been to Mexico plenty of times. The people are warm and welcoming, the food is amazing, and the beaches are beautiful. My visits to the coast have kept me coming back but I had no idea that just south of the border lies the area of Mexico responsible for 95% of its wine. Until recently many Americans considered it unsafe to use the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego. The crossing is the best way to access Baja but visitors are forced to pass through the notorious city of Tijuana to get to the 1 Highway south. Over the years, Mexico has worked hard to improve the safety of the city and today there is booming restaurant and entertainment scene and access to all of the delights of the area.
hour later when we began our ascent through the vineyards. I couldn't see anything but darkness and the dirt road in front of me and I made a wrong turn more than once. My destination was Quinta do Porto, the oldest Ferreira property located in the heart of the Douro near Pinhao. The house was built in 1771 and purchased by Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira in 1863. My host, esteemed winemaker Luis Sottomayor, was awaiting my arrival and I began to feel the pressure of my late arrival as the clock ticked past 9:00pm. I was lost, officially, so I pulled out my iPhone and called the phone number I had for Sottomayor. He answered and together we managed to get me to the gate or Dona Antonia's house.
I found Luis in the dining room at a large wooden table. We ate a meal of soup, vegetables from the garden, beef and a custard dessert with fruit. We visited together for a while and then he excused himself, telling me that he needed to be up long before sunrise. Harvest would begin any day now.
The chef turned housekeeper showed me to my room, a playful floral print surrounded me and the original decor and character of the house had been maintained.
Hospices de Beaune & Domaine Dugat-Py: Gevrey-Chambertain
In the summer of 2014 I made my first ever trip to wine country. At the time, I was working as a wine sales rep in Colorado representing Shannon Ridge Family of Wines. A group of us were invited to visit the property and learn about the wines produced in the region. Lake County is affectionately considered the "red-headed stepchild" of Napa Valley. This is due to the proximity to the area, as well as the high-quality of the fruit being grown. The wines are consistent in flavor profile and affordable. Today, a number of quality California brands are produced here.