A wine connoisseur has ample opportunity to sample the award-winning wines of Northern New Mexico, in addition to those in the cellars of its fine restaurants.
The Winter Wine Fest* is held in late January in Taos and Taos Ski Valley and officially kicks off the season. Toast of Taos Wine Festival and Golf Tournament takes place in late June.
For those who enjoy the hands-on experience of a local vineyard, all three of the Taos County area’s most well-known vintners can be visited enroute to Taos from Albuquerque. Black Mesa Winery, in Velarde, is your first stop just before you enter Taos Canyon. Vivac Winery is located on the corner of Hwy 68 and Hwy 75, near Dixon, and La Chiripada is located on Hwy 75, within the town of Dixon. You can also sample Black Mesa Winery and La Chiripada wines at their in-town Taos tasting room.
HERE ARE SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR DAYS IN TAOS IF YOU ARE A WINE CONNOISSEUR.
Your First Day
• Enroute to Taos from Albuquerque visit the Vivac Winery and Tasting Room to experience its old world style wines with a fresh and edgy twist. You’ll also sample the truffles of the in-house chocolatier and in-house fromagere handcrafted cheeses.
In Taos, late afternoon:
• Visit the Black Mesa Winery Tasting Room to sample its varietal and blended red and white wines. Crisp whites, mellow sirahs and pinot noirs find an exciting counterpoint in Black Beauty, its signature chocolate-flavored dessert wine. Music and palate cleansers round out the experience.
• Stay at one of Taos’ many fine bed and breakfast establishments near Taos Plaza; enjoy a glass of wine at check in.
• For Dinner, choose:
Doc Martin’s – your waiter will be happy to pair your dining choices, such as its signature Rattlesnake-Rabbit Sausage with Ancho Chile-Dried Cherry Sauce, with one of the fine wines from the extensive international cellar.
Old Martina’s Hall – this fusion-inspired restaurant, in an historic restored building, features imaginatively prepared dishes with an emphasis on local, French and German cuisine with a sophisticated and extensive international wine list.
• For a nightcap and mellow entertainment, stop in at the Anaconda Bar at El Monte Sagrado.
Your Second Day
• Breakfast at your bed and breakfast
• Early Morning: Visit world-famous Taos Pueblo; the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. For an in-depth look at the traditions and history of this Tiwa Indian society, take the Taos Pueblo Tour.
• Late morning: Stroll and shop the unique specialty storefronts that comprise the John Dunn House Shops, the southwestern offerings to be found on the Plaza or the galleries, museums and shops of Ledoux Street.
• Enjoy lunch at Mosaic Fine Dining on Taos Plaza with its globally-inspired menu. Classical French techniques are adapted to local, fresh ingredients, and paired with selections from their polished wine list.
• Visit the La Chiripada Wine Shop on Bent Street which has been producing over 20 varieties since 1977. They specialize in both regional and estate grown wines—ranging from dry reds to port and crisp whites.
• Find more wine accessories at Monet’s Kitchen and Taos Cookery in the neighborhood. For a contemporary feel, visit Nambe on Taos Plaza.
• Dinner at:
Either of the above; the award-winning de la Tierra at El Monte Sagrado or one of Taos’ perennial favorites, Lambert’s on Bent Street with its classic contemporary American Cuisine and comprehensive wine list.
Your Third Day
• Early morning hot air balloon flight with a dip in the Rio Grande and post-flight Champagne Toast with Pueblo Balloon Company or Eske’s Paradise Balloons, or:
• Breakfast at your B & B
• Further morning options include:
• A visit to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, awarded the “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in the “Long Span” category in 1966, the year after its completion. It is the 7th highest bridge in the country, towering some 650 feet above the river.
• Take the Historic Taos Walking Tour, featuring both the notable and the notorious. Most sites are located in the Plaza area; the souvenir brochure is available from the Taos Visitor Center.
• Departure on your time schedule.
*The Winter Wine Fest features Wine Seminars, Grand and Reserve Tastings, Winery Dinners and art exhibits. Call 505-946-8506 for more information.
As always, drink responsibly and do not drink and drive.