It’s fun to venture into the Valle de Guadalupe by way of the free road through the old pueblo of La Misión and enjoy the backcountry hillsides and open grassland. Mid spring is a very exciting time in the wine country. The vines have awakened from their winter dormant stage and the clean rows of trimmed greenery spread out in all direction. Everything is well signed and once into the valley the large blue signs point out clearly each winery. As you make your right turn onto the dirt road to Lomita, a steep hill looms ahead and looks like you drive off into the sky. It can be a bit rocky in places, but not to worry, once up and over the top you can see the three-story structure looking like a rustic mission with grand arches. Following the dirt road, note the 'Do Not Spray' signs, signifying this is an organic farm producing Lomita’s wines. Note the building is set back inside the hill with production on the bottom with the winetasting area on the upper level.
Just before entering, a stunning mural covers one wall. Soulful eyes look out from swirling sea colors. Entering the tasting area, the inner décor is very modern with fine artwork, unique lighting, wood and glass. The invitation is instantly felt and the stories are about to unfold with each wine to be tasted. Take a moment to appreciate the art of Jorge Tellaeche, a young artist from Mexico, whose work has been hung in many fine galleries around the world. A dog’s portrait hangs near the front door, giving the visitor an insight into Fernando Perez-Castro, the owner of the winery, as he so loved his “Goyo” who passed away too young. Fernando and his family also own the Finca La Corrodilla winery, both are organic farm projects.
Lomita is what is called a “free flow winery” as is Finca de Corrodilla. This means that there are no machines used in moving the grapes and the juice along to fermentation and on into the barrels. The building is of the highest technology development in this manner of making wine moved by gravity. The building itself is constructed around this principle. A tour is offered after you have completed your tasting and it is well worth the walk into the depths to see the production room with walls covered in Jorge’s murals and then down into the production room and cava. The cava itself has a modern gallery feeling created with the ceiling and its mood lighting.
The package of four young wines gives visitors a very nice introduction of two whites and two reds. They all have fun and flirtation names. The 2017 Discreto Encanto Blanco loosely translated Discreet Charm is a lovely way to start any summer gathering. It is crystal clear Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc blend with nice citrus and a note of apricot. 2016 Cursi, Kinda Corny, is a 100% Grenache from stainless to bottle. This unique process makes the most of the grape from 30 to 40-year-old vines. It is done with what is called a “bleeding process” which allows the skin to stay in contact with the juice from 5 to 10 hours, giving it a sweet note, but quickly opens full in the mouth and a hint of red fruit acidity. It has a surprise light smoky finish reminiscent of aged red wines. Cursi is playfully pretentious. 2016 Discreto Encanto Tinto follows with a blend of Tempranillo, Barbera and Syrah. It offers a surprise for it has such good balance with mature red fruit, you might believe it was held in the barrel. Tinto de la Hacienda 2014 educates how the oak barrel influences the wine. This is a rich blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah with 10 months in second use French Oak. It is spicy and a bit edgy from the oak with notes of vanilla and caramel.
The two Premium wines of Lomita shine with the wonderful family stories recorded on the labels by Jorge Tellaeche. As the story goes Fernando wanted to make a big, over the top statement about his newest winery venture. He wanted to break open a taboo and so he developed Pagano, the Pagan, and he put it into a square bottle. The 2015 Pagano is 100% Grenache with an alcohol content of 15.8. This is rarely seen in Mexican wines as the government taxes heavily, an alcohol content over the limited 14. 5 that is seen on most labels. However, the alcohol is in perfect balance and Pagano is so smooth and complex one would not think it could be just the Grenache grape. It is intense in the mouth and offers the spice and chocolate notes red wine drinkers love. In his book, Guía catadores del vino mexicano 2018, Rodolfo Gerschman of Buenos Aires gave it “The best Grenache in Mexico”. Now, Fernando’s mother, a faithful Catholic woman was a bit upset about the label and asked why he did not have a wine to honor the sacred and so, Sacro 2015 was created. We are very glad he did, for this blend of Cabernet and Merlot with a year in French Oak and a year in the bottle is so good. You want to dive into its invitation and stay awhile enjoying the spice with a hint of chocolate mint in the finish. Sacro is also in the square bottle and when you place the two side by side, the labels join the pagan with the sacred in a painting metaphor for a family tree with a strong trunk and roots continuing out into graceful open branches.
After the tasting and discovering the Lomita wine, walk across the road into the vineyard, where the Traslomito Restaurant is nestled in the vines with open patio dining. Ask for your favorite wine to be paired with the Baja Cuisine. It will be a memorable experience, guaranteed by the five-star raves on Trip Advisor and Yelp for the unique menu, presentation and service. Reservations suggested.