Napa Winemaker Jac Cole at Corona Del Valle Winery | Valle de Guadalupe
Yes, it was another dirt road and our second winery of the day in Valle de Guadalupe. It was my first time visiting Corona Del Valle Winery, a cute rustic winery in the San Antonio de las Minas. Upon arriving, I noticed that the small family owned winery was decorated with vintage and recyclable products, giving a welcoming feel. When we arrived, the winery was full of families with several children playing in the background. Even though there were children around, it was not too loud and still very relaxing. We tasted several of their wines while enjoying a delicious charcuterie board. However, the biggest surprise of all was meeting the owner and winemaker at the end of our visit.
Corona del Valle planted their first vines in 2009 and was opened in 2011 by Hector Corona and his family. They planted only 14 hectares of vines, leaving room on their land for later plantings, as irrigation is a problem in Valle de Guadalupe. The family decided to acquire their water and properly designate it to a small amount of vineyards. However, they do plan on planting more vines in the future. Jac Cole, a Napa Valley winemaker veteran of over 35 years, joined the Corona del Valle team. His portfolio includes several Napa wineries such as Stag's Leap Cellars and Spring Mountain Vineyards. Other's include Chateau St. Jean, Charles Krug and Mount Palomar Winery in Temecula.
Corona Del Valle currently has eight varietals, Tempranillo, Malbec, Sangiovese Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo. They have one blend of Nebbiolo and Tempranillo, which is their most awarded wine throughout the years. Corona Del Valle was also one of the first wineries to be placed on The French Laundry wine list in Napa Valley, with their 2015 Tempranillo and Nebbiolo blend. I recently opened the 2016 Tempranillo Nebbiolo blend that I brought home from this visit and it was a very accessible wine. Both varietals come from the Valle de Guadalupe area with I think, a 60/40 varietal ratio. I opened the bottle and let it open for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I noticed the wine needed a little more time. The color was a dark ruby with a light brown rim. On the nose it was light and fruitful. A little bit of coco dust was also picked up on the nose that followed a light floral scent. Beautiful medium plus acidity and medium alcohol at 13.8 percent. On the palate there was some leather, smoke, red cherries and perfectly ripe plum. The grippy tannins had multiple layers that ended with a sweet tannin structure.
Nebbiolo from Mexico tends to be more light and fruity that can be more drinkable and accessible for people who normally like a Nebbiolo or Barolo. This one does have some characteristics of a Nebbiolo from Piedmont, but it is not to be compared. Even if the cuttings are from Italy, the Nebbiolo will always taste different in Mexico than in Italy, as this varietal is very expressive of its planted terroir. Mexican Nebbiolo's don't have as much of the "tar" or "earthy" taste that true Italian Nebbiolo's have. However, they still have firm and textured tannins and the same smokey and leather flavors. However, there is light mineral touches mid palate. Just don't compare! Overall, this wine is light, fresh and fruity, with beautiful acid and textured tannins. After let the wine sit for one hour, all the flavors and scents came through more clear. This wine is young and I reccomend holding on to it for at least another year.
Pictured above, is Hector Corona and his lovely wife, along with winemaker, Jac Cole and myself. A very special thank you for spending time out of your day to teach us about your wine and winery.
All in all, the visit here was so lovely and I recommended it. A very kid friendly winery with a playground for the children to play while the parents have wine. They also have a restaurant with a variety of Baja Med cuisine available. Several close wineries are Vinas de la Erre, Lechuza, Casa Magoni, just to name a few.
****** This post was sponsored by Ensenada Tourism and Corona Del Valle Winery.