Chateau Camou is a French-inspired winery located in the heart of Baja California on a mountainous slightly-less-than 100 acre estate called Canada del Trigo. Originally planted in the 1930s, the vineyards of Chateau Camou thrive mainly in a box canyon winding around two hills. The winery itself was built in the late 1980s on a knoll overlooking the vines. Grapes are densely planted in order to harvest excellent quality, deeply concentrated fruit and hail from vines as old as eighty years and also newer plantings made around 1995. On average, most vines are around 40 years old and include such varieties as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot and Zinfandel.
The vision and passion behind Chateau Camou come from Dr. Victor Torres, the acclaimed winemaker who earned his doctorate in Oenology from the University of Bordeaux and then did his hands-on training at Chateau Margeaux - a prestigious French "first growth" winery. Torres and business partner Fernando Favela purchased the winery with the shared goal of bringing the finest of European wine-making practice to Baja California. They consult with Bordeaux winemaker Michel Rolland who visits Chateau Camou quarterly during the blending of wines to give hands-on advice.
Together with assistant winemaker Jesus Riberra Covarrudeas, Torres produces an impressive array of award-winning wines for Chateau Camou at three price tiers ~ Flor de Guadalupe, Vinas de Camou and Chateau Camou.
The Flor de Guadalupe line is a "good value" label offering surprisingly excellent flavor table wines for a very modest price. It includes a Blanc de Blanc, a Bordeaux-blended Clarete and a Zinfandel. These wines are fresher and younger, with mild hints of oak and lingering fruit. Vinas de Camou features mid-level wines including a fruity golden Chardonnay. At the highest level, the Chateau Camou label offers El Gran Vino Tinto, an aged blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot... along with other divine Bordeaux-style blends including El Gran Vino Blanco, El Gran Vino Tinto de Zinfandel, and the scandalously sensual dessert wine El Gran Divino.
Located close to the village of Francisco Zarco, just off the Ensenada-Tecate Highway 3 and a few miles south along a dirt road, Chateau Camou opens its tasting room to visitors from 8am through 2pm Monday through Saturday. Three types of guided tours are also available, including the 30 minute Claret tour complete with tasting of three Flor de Guadalupe label wines and one Chateau Camou; the 30 minute Bordeaux tour featuring 3 tastes from the Flor de Guadalupe label, two from Chateau Camou label ~ even a taste of the gorgeous El Gran Divino; and most inviting of all, the Magnum. With this amazing "behind the scenes" tour, you will journey with the winemaker and/or winery owner around the vineyards, visit the winery itself including a comprehensive tasting of wines and a barrel sampling and finish up with a delicious lunch paired with wine. Menu options include carne asada, ostrich, quail or paella.
In the town of Francisco Zarco in the Guadalupe Valley
Sources: Carmen from Chateau Camou, Chateau Camou Website Baja Times:Chateau Camou: Baja's Bordeaux Wines, Baja Wine Blog:Bordeaux in Baja - Chateau Camou