La Casa Vieja
San Antonio de las Minas, Baja California, Mexico
La Casa Vieja is iconic viticulture of Baja California, which has an overlooked but equally important vitis history to Mexico’s better known neighbors to the north. Eighteenth-century Spanish Missionaries had a recipe to slake the thirst of their religious congregants: build a mission, plant a vineyard. They began in Las Californias Altas of New Spain (present day California) before heading south and branching throughout Baja California's rugged landscape.
This nearly forgotten vignette is one that winemaker Humberto ‘Tito’ Toscano was content sharing only with those lucky enough to stumble upon his 1800’s adobe ranch in San Antonio de las Minas. Humberto was born on the property and returned in 2003. He nursed it back to health and has nurtured it ever since. Honoring history and taking a cue from the padres—his father and local farmhands—Toscano tends his 120+ year-old, dry-farmed, original-rootstock-vineyards, including Mission and Palomino, naturally. Winemaking is straightforward utilizing native, wild yeasts. His property has never seen commercial yeast, and he maintains very beautiful yeast cultures given his 5 miles (as the crow flies) to the Pacific Ocean. It’s just the simple and honest way he was taught to grow grapes and make clean wine.