Several years ago, I visited L.A. Cetto winery in Ensenada, Mexico. As novice wine drinkers, my friends and I randomly picked some tastings to attend in the Guadalupe Valley and went on our way. I remember L.A. Cetto, the oldest winery in Mexico, standing out for its great wines and beautiful ambiance. And then I kind of forgot about it—maybe due to the rattlesnake whiskey I drank while on the same trip.
Recently, I've noticed L.A. Cetto wines at several markets around town, including Windmill Farms in Del Cerro, Bine and Vine in Normal Heights and Palm Springs Liquor in La Mesa. I decided it might be time to revisit a brand I hadn't tasted in so long and found a 2004 Private Reserve Nebbiolo.
The flavors in this 10-year-old were richly layered with fruit and a hint of peppery spice. The nose had straightforward berries with just a bit of an herbal undertone. A touch of jammy plum at the end of a long, smooth finish was a pleasant and delicious surprise. With a good amount of tannin and structure left in this one, it could be held on to a bit longer, as well.
Another great thing about a complex wine such as this is sharing it with others. My drinking partners and I all picked different elements we could taste—cocoa, tobacco and cherry were reported, depending on whom you asked. We drank this one on its own, but I could also see serving it with hearty meats and tasty red sauces.
L.A. Cetto also happens to be one of the largest producers in Mexico, so if you're looking for an introduction to the wine region, it's a good place to start. The Baja climate seems to be doing great things for grapes, especially Italian-style varietals such as this. Plus, this Nebbiolo was reasonably priced at $15.99, and some of the bottles retail under $10. Salud!