(Contributed by Melanie Sanchez) My favorite winery experienced happened at Quatro Quatros Winery in Ensenada, Mexico. “Quatro Quantros” means “four fours” in English, and refers to the 144 acres on which this winery is located. It also includes a hotel with 19 cabanas, spa and restaurant. What is very exciting about this winery is its location on a hill overlooking the ocean. Also, it is only 80 miles south of San Diego, so you can cross the border and visit for the day.
Ocean View, Vineyards, and Cabanas at Cuatro Cuatros Winery
My family and I drove down from San Diego to celebrate my birthday. They knew I loved wine and so they chose the perfect spot for my birthday celebration. It was my first ever winery tasting experience, and I was pleased that it was a warm spring day with a refreshing ocean breeze. When we arrived, we parked in a lower parking lot, and then were transported by 4×4 off-road vehicles to the mountaintop winery with an incredible view overlooking the Pacific ocean.
Wine Tasting on an Ocean View Hilltop
The winery used an open outdoor rustic concept with stacks of hay covered with table cloths serving as tables and chairs. It was functional and comfortable outdoor furniture, but they also had stylish wood tables if you didn’t care for hay furniture. It was so simple yet still very sophisticated.
Once we settled around our hay table, the server welcomed us warmly and recommended the 2013 Quatro Quatros Cabernet Sauvignon. We purchased this along with a cheese, meat and nut platter, which paired nicely with the red wine, tasting of semi-sweet red and black cherries. The server was very experienced and explained about all of the grape varietals grown on the estate. Altogether, they have 40 acres of vineyards, with 82% red grapes and 18% white grapes.
The whole experience was very memorable for me not only because the location and ambiance, but because of the excellent customer service where we learned so much about the wines and estate. The ocean view was the cherry on top. I feel so thankful that I got to have this special moment that I will always remember in one of the most beautiful wineries in Baja, Mexico.
(Contributed by Gabriele Brusamarello) – My best tasting room experience was at the Serego Alighieri Estate, in the heart of the Valpolicella wine region in Italy. Located just a few miles away from the historic and magical city of Verona and beautiful Lake Garda, the winery estate was establish in 1353. It was a sunny and warm day in spring 2012, and I went to visit the winery with some basketball teammates since we were playing for the Verona basketball team. When we first arrived, we were surrounded by nature, astonished by the historic beauty and uniqueness of the location, and our friend Massimilla (daughter of the owners of the winery) warmly welcomed us and gave us a great tour of the whole Serego Alighieri estate and vineyards.
Serego Alighieri Estate in Italy
When we first arrived, we were astonished by the historic beauty and uniqueness of the location, surrounded by nature. Our friend Massimilla (daughter of the owners of the winery) warmly welcomed us and gave us a great tour of the whole estate and vineyards.
Tasting the Amarone Wine
After the tour, Massimilla escorted us to the cellar, where grapes used to make Amarone were left to rest during the winter months for hundreds of years. We were welcomed by Massimilla’s family inside the cellar who made us feel like family the moment we walked in. A place with centuries of history immediately became an extremely friendly environment, which made the whole experience even more pleasant and memorable.
Inside the cellar we were offered many red wines that Serego Alighieri produced, including Valpolicella Classico Superiore, the Recioto Della Valpolicella, and delicious Amarone Della Valpolicella of different years. They were complemented by a variety of salame, prosciutto crudo, and porchetta, as well as different cheeses. Pairing wine and food helped wine to release its best flavors and aromas –it was absolutely perfect.
History and Family Linked to Dante
What made this so special is the history and family. In fact, Massimilla’s father told us that the estate was bought in 1353 by the son of the Supreme Poet Dante Alighieri. The fact that we were able to walk around made the whole experience surreal, magical, and breathtaking. I will always remember that special day and to be the experience that made me love wine even more than before.
(By Guest Author Lauryn Mitrovich) My favorite tasting experience occurred in Napa Valley. It was my boyfriend’s birthday, and his parents rented us a fabulous limo to drive to several wineries. The one that really stood out to all of us was Del Dotto Vineyards.
We arrived at the cave and barrel tasting location for Del Dotto and were greeted by our guide Brandon. Brandon had taken the parents on a tour before and they had an amazing time so they specifically asked for him again. Obviously, something stuck out to me about him as well because even a year later, I can still remember his name. Brandon was lively, passionate, excited, informative, funny, and friendly. Maybe he always has that much energy or maybe he was just responding to how the group energy was, but whatever it was, it worked. Everyone had an amazing time as he lead us through the caves tasting who knows how many wines straight out of the barrels.
Brandon may have been amazing, but I think the ambiance of the location really helped as well. I had never been in a cave quite like that before and it felt really special to be able to try the wines straight from the barrels.
Everyone there really seems to love what they do and love the wine that they are making. I know that we all thought the wine was delicious, but the fact that the people there were so passionate about it as well definitely helped. Also, I think the fact that each tour is personalized to the group of people that are there and the fact that the tour guides decide what to give people to taste as they go along is really something special.
I really haven’t been wine tasting that many times, but I feel like this experience will always stick out to me. Ultimately, the caves, the wine, Brandon, it all worked and its experiences like this that just make me more excited to go out and try new wines and meet new people at other wineries.