Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mesilla Valley Wine Trail

Sunday we took a drive on a back road between El Paso and Las Cruces called Highway 28  or the Mesilla Wine Trail. The fertile valley along this road was formed by repeated flooding of the Rio Grande River. Local farmers grow grapes, chilies, onion, corn, cotton and pecans.

Locals have also been producing wine on this agricultural area since the Spanish first explored it.  Today there are at least four wineries on the approximately 30-mile-long road, but we stopped at just one: Sombra Antigua Winery, the trail's newest winery.

Owner Dave and helper Ehran told us about the winery and the Mesilla Valley while Jim and I each had two flights of terrific wine. We've been to a lot of wineries and I almost always sample a few a don't care for.  Not the case at Sombra Antigua.  After tasting and talking we bought a bottle of their red table wine and another red called "Theresa's Blend" (Theresa is Dave's "better half," as he called her, and runs the winery; she also makes and sells jewelry there and Bev bought a bracelet).

After all that wine, we needed some food.  Dave suggested we visit the nearby town of Mesilla, NM, and Mesilla has restaurants, so that's what we did.

Mesilla became a village in 1848 after a treaty moved the US/Mexican border and a group of citizens, unhappy at being part of the US, moved south.  The border was later (obviously) moved again.  Today Mesilla has about 2,200 residents, lots of adobe houses and shops, and a plaza ringed with street vendors -- at least on the Sunday we were there.  And Bev bought more bracelets.
Sombra Antigua Winery wine-connoisseur-in-training Ehran (this was his first weekend behind the tasting bar) and Dave, who owns the winery along with his wife, Theresa. Dave said he and Theresa  bought the winery in 2008 but have long been interested in wine.  Ehran is also musician who steps out from the bar to play acoustic guitar during live-music time. 
Bev (wearing three bracelets) at La Posta de Mesilla restaurant, recommended to us by one of the street vendors at the Mesilla Plaza.  It was a busy, pretty restaurant made up of so many small rooms that after a trip to the restroom I almost couldn't find my way back to our table. And no, that didn't have anything to do with all the wine at Sombra Antigua.
Pecan trees near Mesilla Valley.  We drove through one section of the valley where the trees were so big and so numerous it was like driving though a tree tunnel with trees as far as you could see.

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