I can’t tell you how many times we have driven by Vara Winery and Distillery on Alameda in Albuquerque. I first heard about Vara Wine at High and Dry Brewing in Albuquerque. It was the only wine that was sold at that brewery. Since then I have found out that this winery is very well known in wine circles for producing some incredibly good Spanish wines. Ok. I’m not a big fan of Spanish wines because apparently the only kinds of red Spanish wines that I like are expensive. I’m sure there are some interesting and delicious cheap Spanish wines but I have yet to find one.
Needless to say, I was excited that the Vara Vinoteca tasting room was opening up in Santa Fe. Vara Vinoteca had a soft opening in late October. It was where the Thai Cafe restaurant was for years. The transformation was truly incredible. This place is sleek and modern. A beautiful setting to enjoy some Spanish wine and tapas. The food menu included a few items that were vegetarian friendly so we went. I think I was just as excited about the food as I was about tasting the wine.
I started with the truffle popcorn (5). The popcorn was seasoned with sea salt and had shaved Manchego cheese and other herbs with some fresh parsley. It was a good start to the beginning of our 4 tapas choices. We also had the Andalusian Olives(8). These fabulous olive assortment with garlic were served warm. I am used to cold olives so this was a very nice change of pace. You could actually taste the olives instead of the cold. I thought this dish was a very generous portion of delicious olives.
Next we had the stuffed piquillo pepper(10). Once again, I had never heard of this kind of pepper but anything stuffed with goat cheese can’t be bad. In fact this pepper was stuffed with whipped artisanal goat cheese and placed on a bed of arugula and had a Spanish Sherry Dressing.
Last but not least, we had the papas bravas(7) which were spicy fried potatoes with a saffron aioli. I would have liked more of the aioli because this particular aioli was delicious.
The tapas menu also included meat and fish. Everyone could find something interesting and delicious to eat. Below is my filled tapas plate. There wasn’t any more space to put another bite.
We chose the Vara Reserve Wine Flight(18). We figured why not try the best (the rest of the wine flights were 14 dollars) if we were going to check out the Vara Wine collection. You could also have a spirit flight(14). I wasn’t ready for that. We enjoyed all the wines on the flight. That is very rare. I usually find something in a flight that is kind of a clunker but not in this case. All the wines were equally delicious. I enjoyed the labeling at the bottom of the glass. I can never taste all that are supposed flavors in a wine. I either like it or not. We particularly enjoyed the Zingara which was 40 dollars a bottle. It was the least expensive wine of the flight. Wow! That never happens.
If you look underneath the Vara Garnacha Reserva label, you can see the name of the company that made the stemware, Spiegelau. This company is a very good stemware company. That is impressive. The type of glass you have adds to the enjoyment of the wine. That’s about all I know about wine.
Ashley our server was very helpful and wasn’t intrusive. She was very honest about the product. We also met Antonio, the bartender, who was kind enough to give a listing of the interesting cocktails available there. I also met Jerrod(I think), the manager and wished him good luck. He has a wonderful staff.
Vara Vinoteca is located at 329 W. San Francisco Street. Their phone number(which I had a problem with so good luck) is 505.898.6280
Their Hours are Tuesday-Thursday 11m-7pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 11am-7pm. Vara Vinoteca is Closed on Mondays