By Valentina Phillips

In the heart of the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, the founders of the El Cielo winery discovered the perfect spot to make their dream come true: to produce the highest quality wines, securing international recognition for the Valle de Guadalupe as a prestigious wine region.

Success wasn’t long in the making. With the first wines released in 2012, the winery started garnering accolades from national and international competitions and sales soared. Seven years and several awards later, El Cielo received the highest distinction from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles: the 2019 International Revelation Red Wine.

Founder and director Gustavo Ortega Joaquín was overcome with pride:

“What greater honor than to receive such recognition from international judges, who have tasted some of the best wines in the world and who chose our Caipirinha 2016 among more than 5,300 red wines from around the globe.”

Although the results were announced only a month ago, the impact of the medal is already tangible: “The award has attracted the attention of the media and has brought us excellent coverage at both regional and national level, as well as on social media”, explains Gustavo Ortega.

But the winery’s success doesn’t end with extensive publicity, orders of the revelation wine have flooded in, so much so that the current stock of just over 12,000 bottles will barely be enough to cover national demand. Currently only sold in restaurants, the Caipirinha 2016 will soon be available for sale (in limited stock) in the winery’s online store at www.vinoselcielo.com

“ The award has attracted the attention of the media and has brought us excellent coverage. ”

But no worries, the next Caipirinha wine is coming soon and it is expected to be of even higher quality. The 2017 vintage will replicate the varietal blend of the awarded wine. According to the winery’s founder, the 2017 was an exceptionally good year for Cabernet-Sauvignon, which is the linchpin varietal for the wine, and the process of grape selection was even more thorough than in 2016, which gives the next Caipirinha the potential to become even better.

“ Benchmarking ourselves year after year at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, helps us maintain consistency and shows us that we are on the right track. ”

For the second year in a row, El Cielo is the Mexican producer with the most accolades from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. In 2019, besides a Grand Gold medal for the Caipirinha 2016, the winery received another four Gold and four Silver medals. It won its first award from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in 2015 for its Chardonnay “Caprocornius”.

“Benchmarking ourselves year after year at international competitions like Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, helps us maintain consistency and shows us that we are on the right track”,says Gustavo Ortega.

After garnering several national and international accolades, demand for El Cielo’s wines has outstripped production capacity. Despite this, the winery prefers to maintain moderate growth and continue to focus on the quality of the wines rather than on volume sales.

 

Caipirinha 2016

85% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 3% Nebbiolo, 2% Malbec
Aged for 24 months in French oak barrels
Alcohol: 13.6%
Tasting notes:
A clean, bright wine with a beautiful violet color.
It shows aromas of violets, red and black fruits such as blueberries, currants and raspberries with a woody finish and spice aromas derived from the barrel-ageing.
It has a medium-high attack, medium acidity and beautifully balanced firm tannins and alcohol with a pleasant lingering finish.
The blend makes an excellent match for beef, grilled meat, pasta and semi-mature cheeses.
Recommended serving temperature is 18 ° C.
Ageing potential: 6-8 years

 

About the winery:

Over 92 hectares of vineyards, 15 different types of grape are grown. They include traditional French varieties such as Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, but also native Spanish and Italian grapes like Tempranillo, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Primitivo, which thrive in the region of Valle de Guadalupe.

The wines are divided into four product lines:  Astros, young fresh wines and varietal blends; Astrónomos, classic and traditional old-world-style wines; Constelaciones, modern wines with innovative blends; and Estrellas, the reserve and premium collection.