Your Favorite NM Chocolate and Wine Producers?
I have a foodie friend visiting over the holidays who's a huge fan of dark, dark chocolate. I'm planning on taking her to Kakawa and Chocolate Cartel. Are there any other excellent local producers you would recommend?
I'd also love to take her to a couple of local wineries for tastings. Any recommendations as to vintners and specific local wines?
For dark chocolate, I think you're right on the money with Kakawa and Chocolate Cartel.
In terms of local NM wineries, to me it's Gruet, then everyone else. As much as I enjoy their sparklers, to me the real triumph is their still pinot noir, which is as good as anything I've had from the States and one of the only wines I've ever bought by the case.
If you're up for a day trip, the other nearish-by winery of note is Sutcliffe in Cortez, CO (45 minutes north of Shiprock, very near Mesa Verde). I've never had a bad bottle from them, but my favorites have been the higher-end reds (in the $30 range), which I think are truly outstanding. I've never been up to the winery but I'd really like to go.
Thanks so much, finlero. I'll definitely take her to the Gruet tasting room. Cortez might be a stretch this time, but maybe in the Spring. Have you ever tried anything from La Chiripada? I tasted some nice reds there years ago when I was first visiting NM, but haven't tried it again since.
We went to a tasting at La Chiripada years ago too and I believe that was our #2 winery after Gruet. The others just don't stand up IMHO, although the one in Corralles (Casa something?) isn't bad and the venue is very pretty--like a chateau.
I think La Chiripada is being run by some young guys now. May have been a feature in Local Flavor a year or two ago. Plus, it's a beautiful drive and location.
I'm not a chocoholic but have had Choco Canyon (good) and have been to Kakawa (very good). Chocolate Maven in SF is also fun.
In October, we were driving around looking at foliage. We had seen the signs for Ponderosa Winery many times on Rt 4 and had never given it much thought. We went over and had a nice tasting, with good pours. We liked the Jemez Red a lot. Bought a bottle for $17 or 18 and headed home.
We have since bought 3 more bottles at Costco for $15 and sadly, WalMart for $11! It isn't nearly as complex as a Pinot Noir [I love La Crema] but it is flavorful and smooth.
Cortez is NOT a day trip [we have a second home up there]. Sutcliff is nice. Pair it with Mesa Verde and a nice dinner and you have a nice little jaunt.