I’m not new to wines from the Valle de Guadalupe, and Monte Xanic’s wines are not new to the region, either. The winery just turned 30, making it one of the oldest in the Valle de Guadalupe (and, let’s be honest, older than the majority of wine labels up and down the California/Baja California coastline!).

The Valle de Guadalupe is an arid climate with warm, sunny days throughout much of the year. Breezes and cool air sucked in from the Pacific Ocean cause a pretty shocking diurnal shift. I check the temperature against my hometown of San Diego daily, and while daytime temperatures may be a few degrees warmer in the Valle de Guadalupe, nighttime temperatures routinely see a dramatic 35-40 degree drop in temperature. Still, in a land of abundant warmth and sunshine, producers focus on white grapes that maintain acidity throughout ripeness.

The Vina Kristel is just that; crystal clear bordering on green in the glass. Pretty, clean, packaging that screams “no oak here!” I am not misled. The fruit in the glass is ripe, but still green. Fresh pear, lime juice, tropical notes of dragon fruit and honeydew, lime blossom, and healthy, wet green grass. This fruit profile is echoed on the palate. Sweet grassy notes, juicy but moderate in body. Acidity on the palate is pleasantly bright, and the wine is texturally rounded, almost oily but not flabby.

This Sauvignon Blanc is not as assertive as New Zealand, not as linear, mineral, or chalky as Sancerre, and doesn’t see the oak of Bordeaux or more voluptuous California styles. In an approachable style that steers down the straight and narrow of Sauvignon Blanc, this would be a great “goes-together-goes-together” pairing for soft, fresh cotija cheese, or richer goats milk, and as a palate-cleanser for the fresh shellfish & seafood for which Mexico’s northwest coast has become famous. An excellent pairing as well for Caesar salad, which was, after all, invented in Baja California’s capital city, Tijuana!

Molly Brooks – Advanced Sommelier WSET Level III