I-40, Family, Food, and Fine Wines

I-40, Family, Food And Fine Wines in

New Mexico: Land of Enchantment

The flag of New Mexico

The flag of New Mexico

Fine wines? New Mexico? Yes, we were surprised to find some tasty New Mexican wines. To be honest, we didn’t really know what to expect, but whatever our expectations were, they were delightfully defeated. 

A glass of pink bubbles and a spot in the shade at the NM Wine and Jazz Festival. The weather was perfect. What more could we ask for?

A glass of pink bubbles and a spot in the shade at the NM Wine and Jazz Festival. The weather was perfect. What more could we ask for?

We coincidentally arrived in Albuquerque the day before the New Mexico Wine and Jazz Festival (the gods are good). For a couple of hours on Saturday, we sampled reds, whites and rosés under the New Mexican sun—a deliciously dry heat whose shade was absolute paradise. Some of the wines were sickly sweet, some were overwhelmingly briny, but a few were dry or semi-dry and pleasant. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the chili wine. Next time. And there will be a next time: Summer 2017 Harper will be working on his master’s in Santa Fe, and we plan to live there on the bus. We’ll explore more of New Mexico and spend a lot of time with Matt’s mom, sister, brother-in-law and nephews. We'll also get to delve more deeply into culture and history. 

Take the letters from both ends of "Swine Barn," and you get "Wine Bar"...

Take the letters from both ends of "Swine Barn," and you get "Wine Bar"...

Matt is ready to enter the (s)wine bar(n). Note: It's not a scowl, it's the sun. 

Matt is ready to enter the (s)wine bar(n). Note: It's not a scowl, it's the sun. 

Some notable finds were a semi-dry riesling called “Dry Blue Winged Olive” from Wines of the San Juan; an unoaked Chardonnay, a Brut Pinot Noir rosé, and a wonderful sparkling Blanc de Blanc from Gruet; and a delicious Nebbiolo from, well, we can’t remember. 

At a NM wine tasting you may find tortilla chips instead of bread and cheese. I ain't complainin'. 

At a NM wine tasting you may find tortilla chips instead of bread and cheese. I ain't complainin'. 

It was a great way to unwind after two full days on I-40. But maybe not as great as seeing two beautiful little faces looking up at us. Harper got to meet Matt’s sister and her family for the first time, and his two nephews were a hoot. And not just because there's an owl affinity in the household. 

Of course, a lot of the activities revolved around good food and drink. Breakfast burritos [emphasizing the plural], crêpe-like pancakes, lamb, steak, and a big stir fry that we made at home with the new wok and Asian ingredients Matt got for the family. Harper especially loved that the default for food in the area was spicy. A lot of gin, local craft beer and, as you know, NM wine. 

Matt's flight at Marble Brewery. 

Matt's flight at Marble Brewery

Double the pleasure, double the fun: Two flights, two people. Although, we wouldn't put it past either one of us to down two flights. Tractor Brewing Company. Go "Get Plowed." 

Double the pleasure, double the fun: Two flights, two people. Although, we wouldn't put it past either one of us to down two flights. Tractor Brewing Company. Go "Get Plowed." 

But there was also a trip to the farmer’s market.

And this really cool building behind the market:

And a trip on the tram up to Sandia Peak (10,378 ft) in Cibola National Forest.

Couldn't pass up a Marble IPA on top of the mountain. 

Couldn't pass up a Marble IPA on top of the mountain. 

And some amazing sunset strolls on Kirtland Air Force Base.

We have a lot of journeys to take before heading back to New Mexico next summer, but we are already planning and dreaming about our time out there. It'll be full of more family, fun, sun, wine, beer, exploration, and good, spicy food. Please let us know if you are in the area or if you have any suggestions. We are always looking for new experiences and opportunities to learn, and to meet new people. 

A couple of miscellaneous lessons learned:

Inspect your bottle if opening a beer using the ledge and palm method. After years of doing this without issue, Harper cut his lip on broken glass. 

Be prepared to feel disappointed when you go to the gym or for a run. Altitude’s a bitch. Oh. And in a similar vein: alcohol. You get to be a cheap date. Altitude rocks! What just happened there?