Vinos Pijoan is an intimate, family-run winery just a few miles beyond the town of Francisco Zarco along Valle de Guadalupe's Ruta del Vino. Pijoan is a bright, outgoing, passionate man who adores wines and has dedicated himself to their study and cultivation. Once settled in Baja California Pijoan attended La Escuelita, the Valle de Guadalupe wine school led by respected enologist Hugo D'Acosta, in order to develop his understanding of wine production. Over time Pijoan developed a warm working relationship with D'Acosta and now looks to him as a mentor and consultant in the development of the memorable wines of Vinos Pijoan.
Much thought has gone into the winery, its grapes, wine production and environmentally friendly fair trade practices. Pijoan has incredible respect for the terrain of Baja and seeks to share its beauty and robust nature without hurting the land or its natural biosphere. Many earth-friendly practices are used and promoted at Vinos Pijoan, including the use of owls nests to deter rats; promotion of swallows nest building to take care of insect problems, and the policy of no herbicide use. When further measures become necessary, Pijoan turns to biopesticide.
As part of the guiding principle at Vinos Pijoan, all workers participating in the harvest, fermentation and bottling are given good salaries and additional benefits. Their wives work seasonally to help with bottling, labeling and packaging.
The exquisite wines of Vinos Pijoan are true products of the heart. Each unique blend is named for one of the crucial women in Pijoan's life - his wife, mother and three daughters. The diverse characteristics of the wines reveal not only his affection and love for these women, but also his insight into their different personalities.
Leonora ~ perhaps the most popular wine - is named for Pijoan's strongly supportive, green-eyed wife. Aged for twelve months in oak, this wine is both elegant and intense with a ruby coloring and hints of chocolate, spice and vanilla. Its tannins are described as mature and pleasant, with a long and lasting finish.
Sil is named for Pijoan's daughter Silvana. It is light and fresh with the suggestion of white flowers. This blend centers around Chenin Blanc with the addition of other floral and fruity grapes including Moscatel, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Notes of fruit include apple, apricot, citrus and pineapple. This wine goes well with delicacies including ceviche and sashimi.
Domenica is a wonderful social wine, the ultimate blend of Grenache from 30 year old vines infused with smaller amounts of Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This ruby wine is aged for a year in oak barrels and really brings out the flavors of sauteed meats and rich cheese.
Paulinha's vivid spirit is portrayed through a bright magenta Merlot-Zinfandel blend. This very fruity wine features guava, red currants and strawberry. A joyful combination of fruit and honey with hints of hibiscus flower, the Paulinha is easy to drink and has sometimes been compared to a clarete or a strong rose.
Pau Pijoan is clearly a confident winemaker who believes that good wine will sell itself. He may have a point. With his young, drinkable wines selling out each year and many cases ordered by high-end restaurants in Mexico City, it seems that the reputation of outstanding quality and flavor may be the best marketing strategy there is. In the coming years, Pijoan plans to expand his vineyards and production facility and hopes one day to produce 2500 cases annually, selling within all of Mexico and the United States. He is clearly an up-and-coming winemaker worth watching.
Km. 12.8 Highway Francisco Zarco-El Tigre
Valle de Guadalupe
Sources: Viñas Pijoan Website, Gina Naya's website