New Mexico Wineries, Part 3: Vivác

Driving back through Dixon, past the Co-op, past the library, past the house which sells piñon and chilis, the winding road took us right next to the sheer cliffs of the mountains. At the end of the road, where Highways 25 and 68 meet, is Vivác.

I remember someone saying that Vivác is a climbing term. I suppose I should have been taking better notes that day, but it was my birthday and I was busy drinking.

At Vivác we were introduced to even more new wines. Remember when I mentioned not being a sommelier, but it was not a problem?

Here it was a problem.

Handed a wine menu in a plastic case, I was not given advice nor counsel. No suggestions, endorsements, or guidance. Nor a piece of paper to take with me. I suppose I was supposed to buy the wine journal which was for sale on a table behind me. I chose a few names I had not heard of, tried their “Heaven and Hell series,” which consisted of two wines, called, naturally, Divino and Diavolo. The man behind the counter kindly left me alone to my fate, not bothering me, not interrupting me, nor even talking to me unless I asked a question.

I feel he has been given the short end of the stick here. To be fair, he answered all my questions politely and adequately. He was courteous — that is the word I am looking for. He would willingly answer any question I asked, but I know so little about wine that I couldn’t even come up with any questions to ask. “So, this one is a red?”

The wines were good, and maybe even fantastic according to the wine rules. Once more, the Riesling was the only one that caught my fancy even a little. It didn’t catch my fancy enough to buy a bottle, but it was delightful.

However, I heard Vivác sells handmade chocolates, so I drooled over the cabinet for while until I decided on a Mexican chocolate truffle. I had high hopes for that truffle. It was gorgeous — a dark chocolate heart hand-painted with pink decorations. Unfortunately, it did not live up to expectations. I was left feeling it was merely a ghost of the chili chocolate truffle I bought from a store in Santa Fe.

I couldn’t leave soon enough. There was no love at the winery. No compassion. Only wine. It has been featured on television and in magazines throughout the country. It is a highly visible business, so I suppose they do not have to try so hard to have the people like them. Different wineries for different people. I am glad I tried it, though. I am a firm believer in “Don’t knock it ‘til you've tried it.” Then again, perhaps I should have known a rough phrase would not fit so well in such a polished place.

We left there and were on our way to the third stop of the day. By now, I have had 13 different types of wine (Yes 13. The Port wasn't included in my 6 at La Chiripada). Samples — sips — tastings. This is not 13 glasses of wine, but neither is it a professional tasting session with a spit bucket. I ate a full lunch at the beginning of the day, and was provided crackers along the way as a palate cleanser. Everything will be fine.