On my first trip to Baja wine country in the summer of 2017, I knew I was going to have a great time. After all, the crew I was rolling with that day could have a good time sorting paperclips by color and size in a 1970s-era office space in suburban Toledo. What I didn’t expect to find was an exciting, burgeoning community, a mini-mecca for food-and-wine loving explorers: The Valle de Guadalupe.
The very first day of our trip, the three sommeliers (Tres Somms) in our little group—Taylor Grant, Connor Mitchell, and yours truly—happened to wander into Casa Magoni. We were immediately impressed, not only by the quality, but by the classical winemaking style. A few wines into the tasting, we struck up a conversation with Julio, the tasting room manager, who just so happened to be the winemaker’s son-in-law and was starting to become more involved in the business. Turns out that it was no secret in “The Valle” that Camillo Magoni is a world-class winemaker. And the more we learned, the more we were hooked: Today’s wine, a rosé from Italy’s (and now Mexico’s) Grignolino grape, is the product of a collaboration that has brought all three of us sommeliers a tremendous amount of satisfaction—and given us a great reason to keep going back to The Valle! We’re proud to share it with you today on SommSelect.
Camillo was born in the Valtellina region of Lombardy, Italy, right on the Swiss border. He went to winemaking school in Piedmont, worked back home in Valtellina, then was recruited to come to Mexico. He has now spent over 50 years cultivating, shaping, and ultimately defining fine wine in the Valle de Guadalupe. You’d never guess his age, as he always has a charming schoolboy’s glint in his eye and a mischievous grin spread wide across his face. And this man knows how to make great wine.
The Magoni family was free that afternoon of our visit, so we sat down and chatted, and of course popped a few corks. Mexican, American, French, Italian…some of the bottles came from an experimental vineyard (75 acres of 70+ Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, etc. varieties) that Camillo had planted starting 45 years ago (just THINK about that foresight for a second), just “to see what did well in The Valle.” The wines were beautiful (and not just for the region, these held their own to worldwide standards), and unlike anything we could have imagined happening in Baja. Some varieties (Aligoté, Falanghina, Touriga Nacional, Aglianico, and today’s wine, from the rare Grignolino grape) really shined, and we knew we had to share this with the world. We were all amazed by the untapped potential this vineyard could yield.
At that point, we had more than a little “liquid courage” flowing through our veins. And so, the Tresomm label was born. The Tresomm team hits Ensenada and “The Valle” about once a month now, and even with all the recommendations we give to friends who are going to visit, everyone comes back with an “Oh, this just opened up last week, you need to check it out” story to tell. Breweries, pop-ups, restaurants, bars…Baja is a cultural explosion these days.
The vineyard source for today’s wine is sustainably-focused, dry-farmed, and tucked into a northern mini-valley where cool air collects, separating it from the main area of The Valle. For the “Gringoliño” (see what we did there?), all the grapes are hand-harvested before being brought into the winery. The clusters are direct-pressed, slowly and gently to avoid bitterness and tannin, with a very short maceration period. The wine is spontaneously fermented in stainless steel, before spending a few months in a combination of stainless steel and used barrique. There are no additions or subtractions, with minimal sulfur at bottling. Gringoliño is then bottled young to retain its freshness, and then given a little extra time in the bottle for all the elements to integrate.
The wine is a beautiful salmon-pink in the glass. Floral, fruity, light, pretty, and refreshing—everything I personally want out of rosé. The tiniest whiff of garrigue plays in the background, offsetting its delicate white peach, raspberry and pomegranate notes. A year in the bottle has rewarded our patience, as the wine has just kept getting better and better. It’s a serious wine, but also one that I want to drink poolside all day, every day this summer. We recommend serving it lightly chilled (not too cold) so as not to mute its fruity aromatics. This is, of course, the perfect time to drink this wine, and you can’t go wrong with some Baja-style fish tacos to go with it. Until you can get down to Ensenada and see the place for yourself, this should do nicely. Enjoy!
Valle de Guadalupe
Partial Used Barrique
Sandy Loam & Granite
All-Purpose White/Red Stems