NM’s Oldest Winery Continues Tradition of Excellence

By Rozanna M. Martinez, Albuquerque Journal

La Chiripada

January 3, 2020 – New Mexico’s oldest winery continues to stay current with new wines and new accolades.

La Chiripada Winery & Vineyard was awarded gold for its Cabernet Reserve and silver for its Vintners Reserve red blend at the 2019 San Francisco International Wine Competition in November. The winery participated in the competition for the first time in 2018 and won a silver medal for its port.

“Our cabernet, it’s always been one of our more popular wines,” said Nathan Johnson, La Chiripada’s primary winemaker. “We age it in oak for two years. This year, we did something different. We blended a little bit of our other premium grapes. We blended 10% tempranillo and 10% petit sirah just to give it an extra boost in the structure and complexity, and we built in a little more fruit quality as well.”

La Chiripada’s Vintners Reserve red blend has a nice “sensual spice” on the nose with dark cherries and a toasted oak finish. The wine is aged for 24 months in American and Hungarian oak. Johnson suggests pairing it with a New Mexico staple food, carne adovada.

“The Vintners (Reserve red blend), that’s our own blend, and we tend to switch it up every year,” he said. “This year, we did a bit of an experimentation experimenting with multiple wines to get the best blend that we could. What we came out with in the end is it’s 50% ruby cabernet, 40% tempranillo and 10% sangiovese. So sangiovese, it just brightens it up. It lightens up those two bigger reds and brings a nice balance in there.”

Over the years, the winery has won awards at other international competitions, including the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Its biggest year at the competition was 2013 when it won Double Gold for its Viognier, gold for its Cabernet Reserve 2013, its Petite Sirah 2012 and its New Mexico Port 2013.

Johnson has been experimenting with a couple of wines that he will be releasing again because of to their popularity. They are the winery’s dry riesling and its Rosé del Bosque, a dry rosé. He also has plans to create a new wine in 2020.



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