Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > High Altitude Wines in New Mexico

High Altitude Wines in New Mexico

This morning we left the very hot and very humid Washington D.C. area for the mildly hot and relatively humid Albuquerque.  We have been returning to Albuquerque for over a decade but I have only drunk a few wines, other than Gruet, from New Mexico.  The vast majority of these were consumed last year at the St Clair Winery & Bistro near Old Town.  I had one or two decent red wines but those cost a fair amount.  For this trip I decided I would sample some of the wines and beers.  We will also visit a winery or two.

New Mexico is the oldest wine growing region in the country.  During the 17th century Spain forbid the growing of vines in the New World forcing all wine to be imported from Spain.  However there was an exception for missionaries in far off locations.  The first vines were brought in to New Mexico in 1629 and were producing sacramental wine by 1633.  This lasted for a period of 40 years.  Today there are now 42 wineries producing some 700,000 gallons per year.  This area is home to many high altitude vineyards.  Those near Albuquerque lie at 5,500 feet where as wineries such as La Chiripada Winery near Taos are at 6,100 feet.

New Mexican Wine at Whole Foods in Albuquerque

We stopped at the Whole Foods in Albuquerque where I visited the New Mexico section.  I spoke with a wine and beer salesman who recommended the wines on the top shelf.  He said the other wines on the shelf tended towards a sweet style.  In looking at a few of the labels some included a fair amount of cherry wine as well.

Red New Mexican Wine for Research

I grabbed four wines to start off with:

  • 2007 Milagro Vineyards, Cabernet Franc
  • 2007 D.H. Lescombes, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2008 Gruet, Pinot Noir, Cuvee Gilbert Gruet
  • 2007 Casa Rondena Winery, Meritage

I couldn’t pass up trying some beer so I grabbed a six-pack of Happy Camper IPA.  While I was told that it was a good IPA, I simply could not pass up the very cool packaging.

Happy Camper IPA

And I grabbed one more IPA from Marble Brewery.

Marble Brewery Double IPA

I will post my notes throughout the week.

Starting my research


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