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May 21, 2011 06:14 AM

New Mexico wineries

I've heard that NM has a growing wine industry? Whilst not (yet) on the scale of California, can anyone share any info on wineries/brands to try? We like very dry whites or roses - no oaked chardonnays - and full-bodied reds.
Thank you

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  1. Gruet is the obvious answer.
    Here's one wine geek's observations.

    1. IMO, Gruet is the only international-caliber winery in NM. Their sparklers are inexpensive and wonderful (we essentially always have a bottle of their <$20 NV blanc de noirs in the fridge, and the vintage offerings can be simply outstanding). But my favorite is their still pinot noir; in the $20 range, deceptively watery in color, but beautifully balanced, with both a true old world Burgundian feel to it, as well as a distinctive terroir that tastes like neither France nor California.

      Not quite in NM, the other nearby winery that deserves huge accolades is Sutcliffe up in Cortez, CO. I always get nervous when I look at their offerings for the year and see so many different wines, but I've never once had a Sutcliffe wine that falls short of excellence, and several have been truly extraordinary.

      1 Reply
      1. re: finlero

        St. Claire produces an award winning Gewurztaminer. I too usually like a dry white and I enjoy this wine--very easy drinking and you can get a bottle on the patio at the bistro on rio grande for about $20.

        Casa Rondena has a very lovely tasting room. I haven't fallen in love with any of their wines yet but I keep trying

      2. For full bodied reds I would definitely take a look at Vivac. Quality can be a little inconsistent (which is true for just about any emerging wine region), but with the possible exception of Casa Rondena and Gruet (the Pinot Noir previously mentioned) just about every noteworthy New Mexican red I've tasted has come from Vivac. They do some nice work with Italian varietals, including some unusual ones like Lagrein in addition to the more conventional Barbera and Dolcetto. Plus, if you're ever in the vicinity, their tasting room outside of Dixon is always a pleasant stop.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rcurtism

          To add some counterpoint (or bolster the "inconsistent" description), we had a bottle of Vivac dolcetto recently that was pretty mediocre. Price was as high or higher than many imported Italian dolcettos, but it ran sweet, hot, and under-nuanced. I have heard some decent things about Vivac outside of this thread, so I'll give them another try, but this bottle was pretty forgettable.

          1. re: finlero

            Yeah, we paid a visit to Vivac after I posted that message, and we were pretty underwhelmed. We took away a bottle of Barbera that was borderline undrinkable and one of their premium blends (Nebbiolo based, I believe) that was better but still not outstanding. Small wineries inevitably go through ebbs and flows, and I've had enough good bottles from these guys in the past to keep me interested, but their current lineup may not be their best.

        2. La Chiripada in Dixon has some lovely wines...not all of them, but a tiny little tasting room and a few good ones...
          Gruet is great, of course...
          Haven't been to the tasting room at Black Mesa (North of Espanola/Santa Fe) but had one of their wines at Il Piatto in Santa Fe and was very impressed...nice well balanced, full bodied red with good fruit.
          Casa Rodena does have a beautiful vineyard and tasting area, but I after a tasting I wouldn't pay for even a glass of one of their wines...each one was flat, lacking in body and character and flavor...blah.