The Best of Ensenada
(page 10 of 10)
What’s New in Guadalupe Valley
Award-winning wines, superb cuisine, and striking settings further elevate the wine-country experience.
Gustavo Ortega and wife Daly Negrón have created a little slice of heaven in Guadalupe Valley with their magnificent winery, El Cielo. The expansive 71-acre property has 54 planted acres and 12 grape varietals, along with olive trees, an organic garden, and fruit plantation. The couple, former hoteliers who planned to retire, now command this dynamic project, which includes producing fine wines with revered oenologist Jesus Rivera using state-of-the-art Italian presses; overseeing Latittude 32 Steakhouse, helmed by respected chef Ryan Steyan; hosting a wine club; and festive events. Future plans include a boutique hotel with 58 luxe suites incorporating fireplaces and private hot tubs, along with a year-round spa. The stellar, award-winning wines are named after astronomers and constellations; their Capricornius was named Best Chardonnay in Mexico in 2013 by La Guía Catadores. Be sure to taste Orion, a flirty blend of Tempranillo and Grenache, or Perseus, a successful marriage of Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, tempered in French oak. vinoselcielo.com
This summer, chef Flor Franco launches two exciting culinary concepts at Encuentro. Convivia will be modeled after an 1800s cantina, “a playground for the valley people to go to after work to celebrate along with the guests,” relays Flor. “Encuentro means encounter, and my vision for Encuentro Guadalupe is a place where guests can encounter the nature of Baja with all their senses.” Convivia will feature affordable small plates, an oyster bar, Latin-Japanese fusion, garden-fresh produce, the best seafood, fine mezcals and tequilas, house wine by Hugo D’Acosta, and a house craft beer created by oenologist Alvaro Alvarez from AlXimia Winery. Encuentro architect Jorge Garcia will redesign the downstairs cave area, integrating a new bar and lounge with the giant boulders, and create a terrace space for al fresco dining and valley views. Franco has also enlisted Snake Oil Cocktail Company from San Diego to be part of the dream team. Secondly, Franco will present Resguardo, a nine- to 12-course tasting menu served high up on the hill by the resort’s stunning infinity pool at dusk. “I plan to build an experience, not just another restaurant,” she says. encuentroguadalupe.com
Malva Cocina de Baja California
At this fantastic rustic eatery, nestled into the hillside of San Antonio de las Minas, chef Roberto Alcocer has created a foodie paradise. Guests relax under a giant palapa enjoying artistic plates of inspired farm-to-table cuisine from the outdoor kitchen. Alcocer partnered with winemaker Verónica Santiago, and the house wine, Julio 14, is a friendly blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Alcocer forages for ingredients like wild radish, wild fennel, wild arugula, and nasturtium, along with making his own butter, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream and raising his own lambs, goats, chickens, and ducks. It’s easy to love everything about this place as Alcocer succeeds in his goal of making high-quality, fresh food at reasonable prices. Km 96, Carr. Ensenada-Tecate.