Fairly dense ruby with staining edges.  Piles and piles of black fruit, scorched and reduced, with adjoining layers of sweaty horse, heavy tar, lovely tapenade, soaked leather and non-whiskey-tainted pipe tobacco.  Got-minerality?  A screeching strain of dry chalky earth overwhelms the nose with almost-burning ferocity but mellows under a green-stemminess balanced by more fruit.  Decanted hard.

Why haven’t you been to Valle De Guadalupe yet?  Baja wine country is amazing and the new frontier on the West Coast.  Think: Dry Creek Valley in the early 90’s.  The wineries range from small underground mom-n-pop single-barrel operations to huge architectural monstrosities.  Lodging runs from 400 peso road-houses to $400 dollar spa-resorts.  World-class restaurants abound.  There’s probably over 100 wineries in the valley now, and quality has increased by LEAPS AND BOUNDS in the past half-decade.  Huge BDX-style estates making stalwart wines the same way they have for over 200 years operate alongside tiny garagiste situations with a few dozen barrels in a shed–and a chat with the owner.  I’ve been to Villa Montefiori, they specialize in Italian varieties crafted in Old World style, but THIS wine I purchased in Los Angeles at The Winehouse.  I can not emphasize enough how rare it is to find Baja wines in California.  The California wine economy has done everything it can to strangle American knowledge and availability of these wines.  Import and export is mired in taxes and red tape, and visitors are bound by 19th-century rules equating wine with tequila.  You can’t go to Baja and come home with a case of wine–or nine–like you are used to doing in any other wine region.  One bottle.  You can cross the border with one bottle.  One bottle.  Now explain to me how you go to wine-country for a weekend and bring home one bottle?!?

In the mouth, more blackness and chewiness.  Palate-coatingly extracted, rich, ripe and concentrated.  Everything promised in the bouquet is present: the voluptuous spice and brier heading into intense acidity, levitated and overshadowed by fat, rich fruit, scorched but bright.  Substantial, but fine-tuned tannin bring everything around with a bit of heat popping up late-palate.  This is one of the finest Baja wines I have had under 40 bucks* and would relish the idea of putting it alongside some of my favorite Super-Tuscans.

2009 VILLA MONTEFIORI Cabernet Sangiovese Valle De Guadalupe Baja Mexico 14.0

*Yes, unlike everything else in Mexico, Baja wines are expensive.  Expect to pay 40-50$ for most decent reds.
** If you remember high-school Spanish, you remember they pronounce EVERY LETTER.  This is all forgotten until you hear them say “caberNET” and “merLOT”.


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