L.A. Cetto was established in 1925 after Don Angelo Cetto immigrated to Baja, Mexico, from Trentino, Italy, after World War I. He brought his love of wine with him and set out to make warm-climate Mediterranean-style wines in Mexico’s hot climate. Angelo wasn’t prepared for the vast climate differences from cool Trentino to sweltering Baja. In his first few years, he was forced to transform his wines into fortified wines just to skim by. Angelo found moderate success after a decade of experimentation with varietals, microclimates, viticultural practices, and vinification techniques, producing still wines from European varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay and Merlot. Angelo’s son, Don Luis Augustin Cetto, took over the business in 1963 with an eye on expansion, diversification of varietals, and modernization of techniques. Camillo Magoni, a young winemaker from Piedmont, Italy, was invited to join the Cetto family in 1965. Angelo brought his deep love of Piedmont’s native Nebbiolo grape with him. His confidence that Nebbiolo would thrive in the vineyards around Ensenada soon came to fruition and is now considered by some to be one of the twenty-five best Nebbiolo producers in the world. L.A. Cetto focuses on Italian, French, and Spanish grapes, including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Primitivo (cousin to Zinfandel). Some of the vines date back eighty years and produce rich, luxurious wines.
Now, third-generation vigneron Luis Alberto Cetto is at the helm, and L.A. Cetto is an international success sold in 27 countries. L.A. Cetto owns more than 3,500 acres of vineyard land and produces 14,000 tons of grapes, making more than 1.2 million cases a year. L.A. Cetto produces half of Mexico’s wine. The brand creates several ranges of wine from their Seasons label focused on fresh, young wines to inspired sparkling wines, private reserve, classic special editions, and commemorative wines.
Our Wine Country International Magazine tasting panel worked our way through ten L.A. Cetto wines on a snowy Colorado winter day and found each one to be better than the last. What a pleasant surprise.
Brut Sparkling Wine, Estate Bottled, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 87, $12.99
Fresh, light, and clean with ultra-fine mousse and top notes of brioche and shortbread cookies.
The sparkling brut has flavors of peach, green apple, and a spritz of lemon chiffon.
L.A. Cetto, Chardonnay, 2018, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 89, $12.99
Clean, fresh, and creamy, with banana crème brûlée, tropical fruits, and a hint of pineapple.
L.A. Cetto, Primavera, Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2019, Valle de San Vicente, Score 92, $12.99
A delicate peau de soie pink hue and fruity strawberry rhubarb nose.
Hints of crushed herbs, ripe stone fruit, and berry compote on the palate.
Don Luis, Selección Reservada, Vino Tinto, Merlot, 2015, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 89, $22.99
This 100% Merlot has spicy notes on the nose with hints of cigar box and cedar with cranberry tones and a flinty edge. Silky on the palate with a glycerol feel and flavors of over-ripe red plums, ripe blueberry sauce, and a hint of pie spice.
L.A. Cetto, Private Reserve, Barrel-Aged Nebbiolo, 2015, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 93, $22.99
12 months French oak barrels, 2 years, bottle, needs five to ten more years in a cellar or aeration and decanting for an hour or more. A lovely wine with aromas of sandalwood, violets, anise, fresh tobacco, and cocoa. Classic Amarena cherries in kirsch, black plums, balsamic notes, roasted hazelnuts, and cocoa on the palate.
L.A. Cetto, Petite Sirah, 2017, Estate Bottled, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 91, $12.99
Barrel-aged 12 months, Deep purple with an opaque black core. Intensely scented with spice and boysenberry, blackberry jam, dark chocolate, bramble, and burnt sugar. Gritty tannins, uber dry, chewy, and rich on the palate with lingering notes of blackberry pie and a dusting of cocoa and cinnamon.
L.A. Cetto, Petite Sirah, 2013, Estate Bottled, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 88, $22.99
Barrel-aged 12 months. Cinnamon pie spice, cedar, and cypress on the nose. Mulberry, dried red currant, cola, dried fruits, plum preserves, and blackstrap molasses on the palate. Drink now.
Sierra Blanca, Tempranillo, 2016, Valle de Guadalupe, Sierra Blanca Mtn, Score 89, $15.99
12 months French oak, 12 months bottle aged. Lush and lovely classic tempranillo with notes of ripe cherry cola, fresh pipe tobacco, dates, red currants, and chocolate, dusted with pepper and spices.
L.A. Cetto, Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, Private Reserve, 2016, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 86, $22.99
14 months in French oak, 3 years bottle-aged. Succulent and well balanced. A touch of pyrazine, green peppercorn, crushed balsam, red currants, and cranberry sauce with dried rose hips, cypress, and mocha.
L.A. Cetto, Zinfandel, 2016, Estate Bottled, Valle de Guadalupe, Score 90.5, $12.99
Kirsch and brandy-soaked berries, plums, black cherries, and pomegranate baked in a rich cobbler and dusted with baking spices, nutmeg, and woodsmoke.
Vinicola L. A. Cetto Carretera
Tecate Ensenada km 73.5, Ensenada Municipality
+52 686 557 3719