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Tantalizing Tastes at St. Clair Winery

By Courtney Clark

Forty-seven miles outside of Deming, a family-owned vineyard houses the grapes that will turn into delicious wines. The 180-acre St. Clair Vineyard is situated at 4500 feet, the climate of which results in perfect grapes. Located in the Mimbres Valley, St. Clair attracts visitors from all over the United States, who can stop by to try the locally-produced wine paired with food from the bistros located in Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and Farmington.

St. Clair began in 1984 in New Mexico, but its roots date back even farther. The owners, the Lescombes family, are sixth-generation French winemakers. Hérve Lescombes operated a winery, the Domaine de Perignon, in Burgundy before moving to New Mexico to expand the family legacy. Here, he first planted the seeds (literally) for St. Clair in 1981.

Today Emmanuel and Florent Lescombes run St. Clair, the largest winery in the state. Emmanuel is the viticulturist, the one who oversees the growth of the grapes and the vineyard's operations, while Florent is the manager and proprietor. As Florent says, their "passion for making great wines is only surpassed by our desire for them to be shared in good times."

Great wines begin with the vineyard. The Mimbres Valley, located in America's oldest wine-producing area, has warm days and cool nights to grow delicious grapes. The entire wine-making process takes place on this land: grape harvesting, pressing, fermenting, and bottling. The process is precise, and according to Florent, "the careful balance of nature and nurturing, both in the vineyard and winery, leads each wine to its full potential."

Visitors can try the wine at a St. Clair Winery Bistro in Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Farmington or they can try at St. Clair Winery & Tasting Room in Deming.. The Bistros offer a variety of fare, from appetizers to entrees, all prepared by master chefs and ready to be paired with a St. Clair wine. Florent recommends the D.H. Lescombes Cabernet Sauvignon as an "all-around favorite because of its consistent high quality." Live bands such as Smokin' Mirrors, The Bus Tapes, and Sheldon & Friends play almost daily. Festivals are in full swing a few times a year, like the annual St. Clair Winefest in October.

The St. Clair Winery offers the award-winning wine that is produced at the vineyard. From well-known types,such as Chardonnay, Cabernet, Moscato and Riesling, to unique selections such as the Plum Loco or Hatch Green Chile Wine, St. Clair has a wine for every taste.

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About The Author

Courtney Clark graduated from Flagler College with a BA in English and Creative...

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