Sip and sample what New Mexico wineries have to offer from robust reds to the sweeter fruit varieties this Memorial Day weekend at the Albuquerque Wine Festival.
“New Mexico wines put aside the pretentiousness,” said Rob Sharp, marketing coordinator for Albuquerque Wine Festival. “There is no right or wrong way with wine. Find something you like and don’t get hung up on the rules. … The Albuquerque Wine Festival offers a diverse palate of varietals. There’s literally something for everyone, whether you’re trying wine for the first time or you’re an aficionado.”
New Mexico wines from throughout the state will be represented. Participants are Acequia Vineyards & Winery, Amaro Winery, Anasazi Fields, Black Mesa Winery, Casa Rondeña Winery, DH Lescombes, Dos Viejos, Gruet Winery, Jaramillo Vineyards, Luna Rossa Winery, Matheson Winery, Noisy Water, Don Quixote, Ponderosa Winery, La Nueva Niñas Winery, Wines of San Juan, Black’s Smuggler Winery, St. Clair Winery and Soleil Mimosa.
Anasazi Fields in Placitas is known for making delicious fruit wines. Its American Cranberry wine is made from 100 percent cranberries and is a subtly sweet, balanced wine without much acidity. Its Blanco Seco offers something for apricot lovers. Blanco Seco is a nice, crisp, dry apricot chardonnay blend that is an alternative to a dry, white wine, according to Anasazi Fields founder Jim Fish.
Last year, event-goers could not get enough of St. Clair Bellissimo, causing the winery to bring in more cases to accommodate people on Sunday and Monday. Bellissimo is a bubbly wine that offers aromas of peaches, Moscato and honeydew with flavors of melon and white flowers, according to the St. Clair website.
Black’s Smuggler makes its return to this year’s event. Its Rattlesnake, which is a sweet blend of Chambourcin and St. Vincent grapes is one of the winery’s best sellers. It is sweet and has a unique spice and fruitiness that is well balanced, according to Black’s Smuggler tasting list.
Newcomer Santa Sidra Hard Cider will be bringing a gluten-free option to the festival.
“They use all New Mexico apples,” Sharp said. “Hard cider is unique and a growing niche in the business. We’re seeing more and more of it in liquor stores. It’s a bit more tart. (Event-goers) can get a taste of it. It is pretty delicious.”
With the closing of the New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo, Albuquerque Wine Festival organizers are expecting an increase in attendance. Sharp said those wanting to spend more time sampling the wines, taking wine notes or those who prefer to go at a more relaxed pace should consider attending earlier in the day on Saturday or Monday, which is the festival’s slowest day. Monday also is a good day for active duty military members who receive a $3 discount with a valid photo ID.
Sunday is the festival’s busiest day, according to Sharp. Purchasing tickets online is highly encouraged. Today is the final day event-goers can purchase their tickets online at abqwinefestival.com.
After today, tickets can be purchased at the gate using cash or credit card. Tickets are $20 for each day of the event. Ticket holders will receive a souvenir wine glass, as well as a brochure and note materials to keep track of what they have tried and the wineries they have visited.