Sabor de la Tierra
When you think of New Mexico the phrase Goût de Terroir may not leap to mind. But, if sun, soil, and water influence the flavor of chile peppers, then grapes are similarly affected. While New Mexico is better known for chile, the vintners at Vivác are making wine with a taste of place. Perhaps Sabor de la Tierra is more appropriate wording.
Brothers Chris and Jesse Padberg founded Vivác Winery in 1998 starting with a small vineyard on family land in Dixon, NM. While people have been making wine in New Mexico for centuries, grape varieties like Baco Noir have given New Mexico a reputation for "rustic" wines. Vivác has focused on developing fine wines and part of the challenge has been in discovering which vinifera grape varietals grow well at 6,000 feet elevation. The last 2+ years of drought and "variable" weather have provided an especially challenging test for grape vines in New Mexico.
So, what vinifera grape vines grow well in the interesting climate (i.e. late and early freezes, high-altitude sun and arid soils) of Northern New Mexico? Gruner Veltliner, Chenin Blanc, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Riesling varietals have thrived in Dixon. The Padbergs follow organic techniques in their vineyards with the goal of producing happy, healthy grapes. Most Vivác wines are produced in runs of 100 cases or less. The grapes are processed by hand from harvest to sorting and pressing. The Padberg's hard-won experience and DIY production make Vivác wines a truly handcrafted beverage.
The next time you take the low road to Taos, stop at the Vivác Tasting Room at the corner of NM Highways 68 & 75. It's a great place to see and taste sun, soil, and water in the wine of Northern New Mexico.