By Kelley Coffeen Amaro #1A glass of Tempranillo coupled with a taste of rich, goat cheese and fresh apple slices kick off my afternoon at Amaro Winery with a sense of relaxation. Learning and broadening the Amaro#2pallet with local wines is not only enjoyable, it’s also fun! Kelly Allen a member of the Denton family has a long history with the Maier family in Southern New Mexico. Their close relationship has evolved through the years. In 2009 they opened Amaro Winery, creating a relaxed, contemporary tasting room and wine bar to serve the community offering live music and beautiful art. Kelly explained, “ We are not wine snobs!”, even though Amaro has taken home many awards.  I enjoyed the $7 wine tasting which gives the taster the closest experience to and education of New Mexico Amaro#33wines.  Named after the Italian variety Negro Amaro grape Amaro is proud of the fact that they bring in the grapes harvested in August and September, their winemaker, Benjamin Maier makes the wine on site. They offer red and white including both sweet and dry wines. You can choose from bottles of Chenin Blanc, Gewrztraminer, Amour , Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Zinfandel to name a few.  Kelly encourages everyone stop in for a taste and to “Shop locally, Amaro Winery is the home of the perfect $10 gift… a superb bottle of Amaro wine. 402 S. Melendres St. (right off of Amador) Open from 1pm to 8pm. Monday through Saturday and 1to 6 on Sundays.

Claire'sBut that is not the only place to enjoy New Mexico Wines…I stopped into St. Claire’s Bistro a local favorite, not only for the wines but the contemporary, light and airy atmosphere is so inviting. Proudly, the six generation history of winemaking is apparent in the Lescombe family bistro near Mesilla.  Collaborating with a Master Chef they offer French Country cuisine perfectly suited for their wines. The winery itself, is located in the heart of the Mimbres Valley, in Deming, New Mexico with a 180 acres planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and several other varietals Bistro1My friend, Kathy and I enjoyed the Winemakers Choice Cheese Plate paired with a wine flight.  We were presented with a Sample of distinctive cheese and wine parings  - Mimolette which has a flavor profile reminiscent of a young cheddar which was paried with  a Mimosa, Butter Cup, a delightful blend of cow and goats milk paired with the Gewurztraminer. Gloucester with Stilton was by far our favorite cheese. It was a double layered cheese of mild Double Gloucester (cheddar)  and Blue Stilton.  It too, was paired with the a Gewurztraminer. Indugling in bistro-cheese-platethe Hickory smoked Gouda was heavenly, along with the Cab-Zin, fresh berries and sesame crackers. It was the perfect combination for a good conversation with an old friend. Next time we will pop in for dinner and live music on the patio! http://www.stclairwinery.com/bistros/las-cruces/