"Please enjoy traveling through our Website. Relax & Grab a margarita and Browse a bit. Don't forget to check out the fun RussBus Van Trips that we have available. Below you'll see our latest blog post. We hope to see you in Peñasco soon."
~ Russ & Naomi

Monday, December 31, 2012

Plans for 2013


Russ & Naomi's List:  
10 (Easy)Things for You to Do in 2013

Visit Elegante Crater

Check out a Sunrise in San Felipe

Take the bus & visit Alamos or El Fuerte
Try a Momia or a Sonoran Hotdog
Go Wine Tasting on the Baja

Explore Mexico's Copper Canyon
Search for Sand Dollars at Low Tide
Visit the Petroglyphs near Caborca
Get Sprayed by the Bufadora
Eat Oysters  at a local Oysteria

We can help you put 
small group trips for 
these or other Explorations! 

So. . . Let's Go! 



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wine Tasting in the Guadalupe Valley, Baja

  An “Adjective” View of Wine Tasting In the Guadalupe Valley  

                                                                                                                               by Naomi Black 

Russ and I recently took a fantastic group of ladies from Cholla Bay over to the Guadalupe Valley (just north of Ensenada on the Baja of Mexico) for a tour of some of the wineries and vineyards to be found there. It was an extremely fun trip!

I love to travel! And I absolutely love wine country! Every year, I have to get up to northern Arizona to visit my favorite winery, Page Springs Cellars. 

Page Springs Cellars

I want to see the vines heavy with grapes, just before the harvest and enjoy a glass of wine and some pecan pralines on their deck which overlooks Oak Creek. It is one of my favorite moments each fall.  

Luscious grapes just ready for harvest

However, this trip is after the harvest and I have to admit I was concerned that there would be no luscious bunches of grapes hanging from the vines and I would be disappointed. Yet the fall colors were really lovely in the Guadalupe Valley, with the grapevine leaves turning to gold and to red. The autumn landscape was awe inspiring, with its vineyards, olive trees and vast gardens which are still being harvested. 

Red and gold colors of autumn

On our first day, we visited the tiny cave tasting room at Tres Mujeres (or, Three Ladies). Each of these three ladies designs her own signature wine, which is called an artisan wine, and each wine bottle includes that particular lady’s signature. Overlooking the valley, this tiny winery was simple and tranquil. 
Tres Mujeres Winery

Next, we visited Mogar Badán, with its Tuscany style buildings and cool, dark wine cellar filled with oak barrels, it is simply vintage wine country! 

Mogar Bodán entrance

Across the way, the young workers in cowboy hats and blue jeans were busy moving tractors around and setting up a Farmer’s Market. We had to stop and buy fresh produce, tortillas, honey, olive oil, artisanal breads and cheeses and freshly made sweets. Wondering about that word, artisanal? Well, here is the definition: 

                 Artisanal (adjective) Made by a skilled worker (an artisan) such 
               as a specialty item. Often applied to foodstuffs.

Ok. So here is where I stop and explain the title of my story. Adjectives are very important in wine country. At any wine-tasting, you will hear an amazing variety of adjectives! Seriously, there is a point when it all becomes just a tiny bit ridiculous… To prove my point, listen to these descriptions:

                “If you like bright, focused, mouthwatering red fruit – this wine is for 
                    you. The brisk acidity of this wine heightens the red fruit profile of 
                    tart cranberry and bing cherry with subtle blanched almonds and 
                    vanilla tones accent the nose and palate.”

                  “Syrupy black cherry and cedar dominate this wine. Hints of green
                   peppercorn and tingly, savory herbs also grace the palate with a 
                   light dusty spice on the finish.”


"Huh? Crazy. Seriously."    (Just my opinion.)

I am not sure about all this wine tasting jargon. But, one highlight of our wine tasting came when one of the wines was described by its “fruitality”. I am just going to say that “fruitality” is a super cool word. . . it is a noun, I understand. But what a great word!  Wine (made from grapes) has an obvious fruitality. Of course! Fruitality.  Futility.     . . . Oh! I get so confused. 

On with the story! Later that same afternoon (humor intended) we stopped off at the Hacienda Restaurant (which came highly recommended by our friend Randi Alcott of Las Conchas) and what a great stop! Down a side street and thru a dry river bed and completely out-of-the-way, we searched to find it. 

Lunch at La Hacienda Restaurant and Vivero
And, then we lingered at this wonderful restaurant in the midst of a plant nursery (Vivero en Espanol). They had a great selection of wines, as would be expected along with delicious entrees which were beautifully presented! Each lunch was truly a work of art from the chef!

We continued on to a main street shop featuring Wines and Cheese. In the low ceiling building, we were presented with a long counter of cheeses. Ladies with long knives shaved delicious slices of cheese off for us to taste. Jalepeño cheese, with its green flecks throughout a white cheese, was just perfect and several of us had to purchase a chunk to take home. Wow! Yum.

Onto Santo Tomas winery and we stood looking up and up and up at rows of wine bottles in a grand new tasting room. 

Bodegas de Santo Tomas
The specialty here was the final tasting, a sweet deep red wine which is part wine and part port. (Just so you know for sure that I am not a wine snob, I bought a bottle of this because I am going to pour it over vanilla ice cream. And no, I am not joking.) 

Overlooking San Antonio de las Minas
The view was spectacular as the sun set and we stood on this hill overlooking the quaint town below. And then we returned to Ensenada for a night on the town.

Rows and rows of bottles a L.A.Cetto

Our second day in the wine country included more wine tasting and many, many more wine purchases. 
Processing wine.  Aging wine. 
A visit to the Monte Xanic winery which overlooks it own lake, which was built as a part of the irrigation plan. We learned about the delicate balance of the vineyards and the water in the earth below. Apparently, there will be no more water wells granted to be built, so this valley has a value that is being protected. 
Monte Xanic irrigation lake

This landscape here is truly spectacular even in the autumn, with no grape on the vines. I loved every minute of discovery here in the wine country of Baja. I love the “Fruitality” of this place! It is Simply Lovely!

Lovely (adjective) Exquisitely beautiful.

…and that’s an adjective you can believe! 

Lobster and Wine. Perfection on a platter. 

Ensenada Express
Small group, personalized van tours to the Guadalupe Valley by Peñasco Recreation. 
Contact Russ for details: mexicoruss@gmail.com

NOV 2012    With the Ladies on our Ensenada Express Wine Tasting tour