Tempranillo de San Juan wines draw praise at French event
- The French tasting was organized by Michelle Padberg, owner and sommelier of the Vivac winery in Dixon.
- Wines from Tempranillo de San Juan, a Spanish grape variety, were served at the event.
- The wine is made from grapes grown near Deming.
FARMINGTON − New Mexico may not be considered America’s top wine-producing state. But it’s a booming region, and it won’t be long before the rest of the world knows it.
That’s what Joshua Arnold, winemaker for Wines of the San Juan of San Juan County, said was his takeaway from his winery’s recent performance at a high-profile event in Strasbourg, France. focused on New Mexico food and wine, attracting a number of Europe’s best. wine personalities and diplomats.
“This tasting in Strasburg is proof of that,” Arnold said, referring to his claim that New Mexico’s wine industry is on the cusp of greater visibility.
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It was during this event on June 13 at the private residence of the American consul general that the Tempranillo de San Juan wines were accompanied by tostadas and served to the guests, including the director of the Mondial des Vins Blanc competition, the editor-in-chief du Sommelier CZ Magazine, the Consul General of Japan, the Ambassador of Luxembourg, the Deputy General of the Council of Europe and the British Judge at the European Court of Human Rights.
The Tempranillo was exceptionally well received, according to a press release from Michelle Padberg, owner and sommelier of Vivac Winery in Dixon, who organized and presented the event.
“Your Tempranillo was fantastic!” Padberg wrote to the Arnold family, who started Wines of the San Juan in 1999 in Blanco, in far eastern San Juan County. “Josh, your skills as a winemaker are indisputable. The beauty of your winery location and the obvious passion for your craft came through beautifully in the photos.”
“I was super excited,” he said. “Some of the best sommeliers in the world were there, and they were thrilled with the versatility of the wines they tried from New Mexico.”
Arnold said several wines from around the state were featured at the event and they all did well. But he was particularly proud of how his Tempranillo fared.
Arnold noted that winemaking is one of the oldest industries in the United States, practiced in New Mexico since 1629, which means it will soon celebrate its 400th anniversary.
“We are one of the oldest wine regions in the country,” he said.
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And Tempranillo, a Spanish varietal, is made from grapes grown near Deming that are well suited to New Mexico’s hot, semi-arid climate, he said.
“It’s one of the grapes that the Spaniards brought here about 400 years ago,” he said. “And he thrived in that environment.”
With its widely varying elevation, climates and soils, New Mexico is capable of producing many styles of wine, and even distinct versions of the same wine, Arnold said, explaining that his Tempranillo is likely to taste noticeably different from a Tempranillo made near Las Cruces. or the Albuquerque area.
“The wine exhibited baked fruit notes that handled the earthy flavors of the dish well while its excellent structures brought liveliness and personality to the pairing,” Padberg wrote of the San Juan Tempranillo wines. “Everyone present immediately wanted to know if Tempranillo would become THE NM varietal. This wine so elegantly showcases the terroir we have to offer while demonstrating a true old-style balance between fruit and natural acidity. Congratulations on a beautiful wine and a fantastic touch on the Strasbourg scene!”
While he loves his Tempranillo, Arnold was hesitant to name it his favorite or characterize it as his cellar’s flagship product.
“I have a lot of favorite wines,” he said. “It depends on my mood, what I eat and what I like to accompany.”
The Strasbourg tasting was not the first time Wines of the San Juan had been so widely acclaimed, he said, explaining that its wines have won numerous medals at international competitions over the years.
“But when you’re put on the same stage as these huge vineyards around the world, it’s flattering,” he said. “…It just makes you feel like you’re doing something good.
And a win for a New Mexico wine is a win for all New Mexico winemakers, he said, explaining that everyone involved in the industry here is part of an effort to build a collective reputation for the state.
“I want people to know that the camaraderie in New Mexico is real,” he said. “Everyone helps everyone. We are all friends. We are not competitors. We all strive to make quality wines.”
Wines or the San Juan is located 233 NM off Highway 511 in Blanco. Call 505-801-7319 or visit winesofthesanjuan.com for more information.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.