Thursday, May 7, 2015

From the Vine Came the Grapes, From the Grapes Came the Wine

La Vina Winery
4201 NM–28
Anthony, NM 88021 (just outside El Paso, TX)
GPS: 31.96938, -106.651428

Travel Day 7 – Ft Stockton, TX to El Paso, TX

Today's travel covered 258 miles which we did in 7:20. We pulled out at 0900 but stopped almost immediately for breakfast while still in Ft Stockton at the Ft Stockton Steakhouse. This time I had the Chorizo & Egg and Michelle had an omelet.

Ft Stockton Steakhouse

Our travel direction was WNW until just before Ft Hancock, then NW along Mexican border to El Paso. That black line on the map is the US/Mexico border. Today we crossed into the Mountain Time zone. We'll stay in this time zone until October.

El Paso, TX of song and story fame was a grubby, lawless border town with mexican music, pretty senoritas, and gunfights. I'm sure some of that is preserved somewhere as "Historic El Paso". But now El Paso is a sprawling metropolis with big buildings, freeways, and traffic jams like every other big city; and a terrifying driving experience for RVers like us who have become used to the slower pace of senior living in the country. It is still a border town, squeezed between Mexico on the south and New Mexico on the north and west. El Paso suburbs are in a different state and a different nation. What a nightmare that must be.

Our overnight stop this time was in Anthony, NM; one of those New Mexico suburbs, at La Vina Winery, another Harvest Host site. After we left the highway and got on to the back roads approaching the winery, I was struck by what I will call "agricultural wealth". Mile after mile of meticulously manicured vineyards and pecan orchards (read no weeds) spotted with very expensive homes. Also visible were elaborate irrigation systems. I'm pretty sure the water source is the Rio Grande which runs south through this region before it turns southeast and becomes the dividing line between the US and Mexico.

We arrived at La Vina Winery about 1530 Mountain Time, stopped in the store to introduce ourselves and get directions to our parking location.

Then we set up for the night.

Our setup at La Vina Winery

After getting setup, we returned to the store and did a wine tasting. Each of us got five samples, with crackers and a free wine glass (glass not plastic) for $5. Of course we bought a couple bottles. I just had to copy this information from the Wine Tasting list. This is to impress you with our wine sophistication and my ability to create a table in a blog post. Are you impressed?
BobOff DryViognierFrench variety. Mineral and white peaches hints.
BobDry RedSangioveseEarthy spicy black cherry flavor. Origins in Northern Italy.
BobDry RedDolcettoLighter bodied red wine with hints of cherry. Pairs with pizza or spicy dishes.
BobDry RedPrimitivoThis zinfandel clone is fruity with medium tannin, spice, and pepper flavors.
BobSemi–sweetOro Loco"Crazy Gold" Muscat blend with lovely citrus notes. Great for a picnic.
MichelleSemi–sweetRojo Loco"Crazy Red" blend of Ruby Cabernet and Zinfandel – some liken it to Sangria.
MichelleSemi–sweetWhite RieslingHints of strawberry and rasberry – perfect with bread and sharp cheese.
MichelleSemi–sweetGewurztraminerFragerant white wine, pear and peach flavors with honeysuckle hints.
MichelleSweetLa Dolce VinaSparkling Muscat with spectacular citrus and floral notes.
MichelleSweetLate Harvest ViognierApricot and honey characters and sweet mouthfeel balanced with soft acidity.

A young man came into the store. One look and you knew he was a GI; the walk and the haircut give it away every time. We got into a conversation and learned his name was Matt. He is a soldier stationed at Ft Bliss. He came to the winery to buy some wine to send to his mother and sister for Mother's Day. We chatted while the winery clerk packed up his selection for shipping. He knew nothing about wine; neither do I. So I treated him to a wine tasting. He is unhappy in his job and with the anti–education attitude of his fellow soldiers. Nearing the end of his enlistment, he plans to leave the service return home to Sacramento, CA and finish college, then maybe rejoin the military. We wished him well.

Soon the winery store closed and all the customers and workers were gone. We enjoyed a quiet evening alone in the parking lot.

Seems like a good time to honor all those insects who died to make our trip possible

As it got dark, we could see in the distance the lights of the traffic on I-10 and the glow in the sky from the city of El Paso. Another day in the books.

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