Forty-five minutes north of Santa Fe is Velarde, New Mexico, a community of 500 souls and Black Mesa Winery. The twenty six year old winery is owned by Jerry and Linda Burd. The winery has one of the largest reserves in New Mexico. The cool night temperatures at the high altitude of the estate (6,000 ft), slows down the sugar production so other complexities can be a part of the profile. Because of the climate, the area is free of pests that feed on vines; therefore, pesticides don’t need to be used producing a more natural wine….which is a good thing.
Taylor Copper of the Black Mesa Winery was kind enough to do the wine pairing with the cheeses from three artisan New Mexico goat dairies: Old Windmill Goat Dairy (Estancia, NM), Dream Catcher Ranchito (Santa Fe), and Coonridge Organic Goat Ranch (Pie Town, NM).
Old Windmill Dairy:
Located in Estancia, about an hour from Santa Fe, Old Windmill Dairy, owned by Michael and Ed Lobough, produces cheeses that reflect the New Mexico culture.
Taylor paired Old Windmill‘s Chili and Hot with a white Malvasia Bianca. The Malvasia is used to make port and Sherry wines because they are less “perfumy” and have more complexity. This is a step-up in fruitiness which mellows the heat of the cheese.
A 2014 Zinfandel was paired with Old Windmill’s Holy Chipolte since red wine matches the heat of the red chili. Red Chili is king in New Mexico, a food staple.
Dream Catcher Ranchito:
Mary Ann Andrews, owner of Dream Catcher Ranchito, has Nubian goats, favored among goat cheese producers because of the high fat content of their milk. Her Lemon Feta is delightful. She marinates the cheese with Rosemary and Thyme, herbs de Provance, lemon and olive oil. Taylor paired the feta with Viognier, an old European type wine. The grapes are grown in Southern New Mexico near Deming. This was my favorite taste combo.
Coonridge Organic Dairy Ranch:
Nancy Coonridge’s dairy is a four hour drive from Santa Fe, located near Grants, New Mexico. She has the only organic certified goat dairy in New Mexico. Her philosophy is to give her goats “as close to a natural life as possible.” During the day the goats are allowed to roam the acreage guarded by Maremma dogs. At night they return to the ranch for milking. Then, milked again in the morning before they return to natural grazing. The Coonridge cheese is packed in olive oil to preserve its freshness and will remain fresh under refrigeration for over a year.
Taylor selected a Conojito White which is produced 100% at the Black Mesa estate. It has more body and structure, a pinot grigio, but a taste closer to a Sauvignon Blanc.
If you’re visiting Black Mesa, take your favorite wine for a walk about the new rock and petroglyph path. All the petroglyphs are clearly marked.
View of the vines, rocks and mountains…a magnificent view.
In addition to wine, Black Mesa also produces a chocolate wine sauce. Bruce’s sweet tooth likes the idea of pouring this over some vanilla ice-cream. Yummy.
For those of you who wish to enjoy Black Mesa wine and any of the goat cheeses of the New Mexican artisan cheese makers, you can order on-line through their websites. Salud!
About the Author:
In 2010, Annie Coburn created FAB Senior Travel, a blog for mature and adventurous travelers. Her blog features travel articles from contributors as well as her own travels. Annie has published five travel books targeting the greatest cities on earth: Walk Paris, Walk Beijing, Walk London, Walk NYC, and Ellie’s Grand Adventure. She recently spent seven-months living and traveling in South America.
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