Off the Beaten Path-New Mexico Wine Tours: Part Two

A friend of mine invited me out with her for a wine/scenic tour in Northern New Mexico on one of my days off through New Mexico Wine Tours. This was an all day tour and it was a blast!

After visiting the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge we drove back down through Taos (Taos is know for it’s low Taos Hum and some say it has it’s own personal vibration, crazy I know, but it’s true. I hear it every time I drive through the town and, of course, my imagination goes nuts over what could be causing it.

Our next official stop was Vivac Winery. 


Vivác Winery is the creation of brothers Jesse and Chris Padberg, along with their wives,
Michele and Liliana Padberg, respectively. In November of 1998 Jesse and Chris embarked on a new mission
“to make the best wine possible and have a good time doing it!” This meant professionally crafted, world-ranked, dry red wines-a first for New Mexico.

Jesse and Chris found inspiration in France and Italy, and were especially drawn in by the Old World wine culture, where winemaking is a dance between art and science. The brothers began reading every publication they could find about grapes, winemaking, and the world of wine. Though extensive travel around the world and mentorships with other local winemakers, they learned about the wine business in general and more specifically about the wine business in Northern New Mexico; “At every turn people were there to help us out” say the brothers.”

If you like dry wines this is the place to be:) Vivac is where we stopped to have lunch on their out door patio. The mountain with the crosses on it is right behind Vivac and from what I have heard there is a very secretive monastery that tunnels into the mountain.

After enjoying lunch at Vivac we stopped at the Blue Heron Brewery. The Blue Heron Brewery is right up the road from Vivac.

“From Pale Ale to Stout and from Porter to Pilsner, brewing beer 
is our passion and as a family we’re dedicated to bringing 
New Mexico the finest brews.”

Unfortunately my doctor had me get off all wheat products, so I haven’t been drinking a whole lot of beer:( I need to look into that and figure out if there is any I can drink.

From some of what the other ladies we went with said-the beer is great there. I do know for sure that they make a mean Root-beer. We sat on their back patio and sipped our drinks, enjoying the afternoon.

They do have a large selection: 


*Embudo Gold Golden Ale –  This is a light but full bodied ale brewed with local hops when available.  A nice thirst quencher for hot afternoons.  A great match for green chilie nachos.

*Tarantula Trek Red Ale – This is a malty smooth red ale with subtle hops in the background.  Delicious with a nice London broil. 

*Amber’s Folly Amber Ale – A typical American Amber Ale  malty with a caramel background.  This ale pairs nice with a buffalo burger smothered in blue cheese, home fries and ceasar salad.

*Lava Rock Pale Ale – A classic pale ale well balanced and pleasantly hopped.   Perfect with a dish of Carne Adovada, a side of beans and a steaming hot tortilla. 

*Cascabel IPA – This is an English style India Pale Ale, full bodied with a nice hop balance.  An IPA goes great with a hot chicken Indian curry.

*La Llorona Scottish Ale – This is our most popular beer.  It is a smooth, malty, dark ale with a nice chocolate background.  Goes with haggiss but we prefer to have it with marinated pork ribs that slide off the bone and a German potato salad..  Also goes good with chocolate chip cookies.

*Adobe Brown Ale – This is a nice mellow ale with a toffee undertone.  This ale would pair lovely with a turkey mole and corn tortillas.

*Peñasco Porter – A dry, dark porter with just a touch of roasted barley in the background. Pairs nice with smoked salmon with pumpernickel bread, capers and sliced green onions. 

*Prieta Real Imperial Stout – A rich, dark, malty stout, perfect for a cold winter day.  Pairs nicely with chocolate cake.


*Oro de Rio Grande Pilsner – This is a fine crisp and clean traditional Czech pilsner.  This is a wonderful lager to have with a shrimp pad thai dish smothered in a peanut sauce. 

*La Cabra Doppel Bock  – A dark, creamy bock with a hint of chocolate, slightly hopped . This doppel bock would go wonderful with brats in an apple sauerkraut.   

*XXX Maibock– the lighter of the bock with a rich velvety mouth feel.  Serve this up with tuna steak and rice pilaf.


*Autumn Sun – This is a smooth, light ale brewed with local Hops from Rinconada.  This ale is a real treat and would go great with sweet and sour pork and egg rolls.

*Los Duraznos Peach Ale – A light smooth beer that punches you with peaches in the background.  Fruity and yet dry.  This would go well with a quinoa salad and a fruit plater.

ON TAP:   

*La Llorona Scottish Ale
  -A dark and malty with a chocolate background.  
*Lava Rock Pale Ale

    –A classic pale ale well balanced pleasantly hopped.  *Amber’s Folly Amber Ale    -An American amber, malty with a caramel background.
*Embudo Gold Golden Ale
   -A crisp light beer brewed with local hops.    
 *XXX Maibock  -This is the lighter of the bock beers, it is smooth with a rich velvety mouth feel. 

*Cascabel IPA
*Amber’s Folly Amber
*Oro de Rio Grande Pilsner
*Lava Rock Pale Ale
*Tarantula Trek Red Ale

I really do need to figure out if I can drink beer again!

Our last stop:) Don Quixotes Wiinery and Distillery

New Mexico’s First and Oldest Distillery

“We are a craft distillery specializing in small batch hand crafted
spirits for people who appreciate the very best.  We produce the
world’s only bourbon whiskey and vodka made from Blue Corn.  New
Mexico blue corn is the oldest corn and was  first cultivated by the
ancient Anastasie Indians along New Mexico’s Rio Grande.  We also
make a Gin from New Mexico botanicals, Brandy, Pisco, Grappa,
Calvados and a Cherry Eau de Vie.

We make our wines (13) and ports (6) using old world craftsmanship with minimal
chemicals.  We specialize in Ports and belong to a select group of Port producers
in the world who make both the wine and the brandy in their Ports.  In all our wine
and spirits production, we are committed to using natural or organic products,
limiting the use of chemicals and exercising green manufacturing methods.”

I have been here many times. In fact their Rio Rojo Port, Blue Corn Vodka & Gin are some of my favorites:) They have a huge list of wines and spirits to taste including, of course, their Blue Corn Bourbon, White wines, red wines, white and red sangria (yummy), ports, dessert wines, vodka’s, brandies, grappas, bourbon, & gin. They even have a wine and spirit class to cover all of the above, it’s 3 hours and they feed you so you aren’t tumbling out of there:)

How fun-the wine tour is definitely worth going on:)

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