Friday, September 12, 2008

Casa Rondeña

Casa Rondeña GrapesDid you know that New Mexico is the oldest wine-producing area in the United States? Settlers brought vines in the early 1600s, and the Catholic clergy oversaw the production of sacramental wine--it just took too long to transport wine from Spain to Mexico City up the Camino Real to Santa Fe.

There's nothing like a glass of wine with friends, outdoors, on a beautiful summer day! I had two lovely experiences in this category in recent months. Peggy, Ralph, and I had an afternoon adventure at the Santa Fe Wine Festival, held at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas Santa Fe Wine Festivaljust outside of Santa Fe. Thirteen New Mexico wineries were featured--a modest entrance fee got you a glass and a chance to sample a variety of wines from each winery.

Sunny skies, music, food, jewelry and local crafts, and an historical setting made it a memorable afternoon. My favorite wine was Black Beauty by Black Mesa, a red "New Mexico table wine" with chocolate added. I can just see you wine purists cringing, but the local paper reported the next day that it was the most popular wine at the Festival.

More recently, I went with a group of friends for a tour and tasting at Casa Rondeña Winery in Albuquerque's north valley.

Casa Rondeña Vintner HomeThe winery is in a beautiful setting--very Tuscan or Southern Californian.  It is quite new, but the buildings were built to look old, and the combination of the heady scent of the grapes, the sun shining on the tile roofs, and the beautiful landscapes in which the vines, the pressing and bottling operations, and the owner's residence are nestled made for an idyllic adventure.

We got a chance to see pressing and aging, though no bottling, and then had a tasting around a circular table with a variety of wines, and cheeses selected to complement each.

I bought a couple of bottles of the 2007 Serenade, 87% Riesling and 13% Gewurztraminer, and a bottle of Chocolate Cabernet Wine Sauce (gee, there's that chocolate thing again!).

Think sun and summer and friends and wine.....

Casa Rondeña Winemaking Facility

Casa Rondeña Wine Pressing

Casa Rondeña Wine Barrels

Casa Rondeña