Casa Baloyán: The Tijuana Winery
by Juan Pablo Vásquez/ La Guía del Vino. Reprinted with permission of San Diego Red.
Its presence in the border city is what makes it unique
Several years ago when I was having a conversation about the wines from the United States, I learned of a new winery project in Baja California. The first thing that caught my attention was that the winemaker in charge of the wines for this new winery was a native of Napa Valley. The second part of the story, which was a joy rather than a surprise, was that the winery would be located in Tijuana.
Tijuana lived a through a difficult period with violence and an economic crisis. Believing in Tijuana at this point in time was not easy. The national and international press had made it their favorite pastime in talking about how dangerous it was to visit and invest in this border city. But despite the difficult circumstances, Casa Baloyán was born.
With a few French barrels and grapes from the Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley), Erik Baloyan and Chris Corley started to work on their vision of Mexican wine, Tijuana-style.
The wines launched several years ago and have achieved acceptance by both consumers and the press. Intense and fruity, with an obvious California influence, the wines are a clear reflection of the people and the climate who produce them.
Of their wines, three stand out from the rest. The first is called “Tres Tintos” (Three Red’s), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon that offers great quality at a great price. The second, a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, is ambitious in its preparation, and attempts to balance fruit-forwardness with sophisticated herbal notes. And, finally, there is the Muscat, a sweet wine with a hint of ripe fruit, honey and flowers, but with an acidity that gives it an undeniable freshness.
The vineyard’s terroir contributes to the character of the wines. Located just a few kilometers behind Mogor Badan (towards Sierra Blanca), Casa Baloyán enjoys a specific climate that has given it the opportunity to produce varieties such as Pinot Noir with encouraging results.
The growth continues. Last month a cellar and tasting room opened right next to the winery’s production area. The new look operation is a mix of modern and classic elements, of harmony and elegance. Casa Baloyán now boasts a wine bar, as well as a private room for tastings and special events.
But while there are many elements that make Casa Baloyan one of the most exciting wine projects in Mexico, its presence in Tijuana is what makes it unique.
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