Oklahoma Wineries - The Toast of Taos

Here's some interesting info! My mom has sent out a trip report on Nuyaka Creek's recent participation in the taste of Toast of Taos Wine Event in Taos, New Mexico.

The 2006 Toast Of Taos Wine Competition

Leaving 100 degree weather here in Oklahoma, we traveled to 80 degree Taos, New Mexico weather for the Southwestern Wine Competition 'Toast of Taos' this last week. Harvest time kept a lot of the wineries from participating in person, but many sent their wines for judging. Our five state region was well represented by wineries from Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and, of course, New Mexico

We had never been to Taos and since we had already harvested our grapes and weren’t expecting delivery of more for a few days, we decided to drop everything and attend. We were stunned by the beauty of the high desert and the mountains. Since New Mexico had been having rain regularly, it was green and the wildflowers were every where. The prettiest desert I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I am not much of a photographer, so not too many good pictures except in my head.

The people of Taos were very gracious and Sally Trigg and her team of volunteers arranged for some very nice events. Taos is an artist’s haven and each winery was paired with a local restaurant and gallery where we poured wine paired with the food from the restaurant. Oklahoma event planners should consider attempting a similar event here.

We were paired with The Trading Post Restaurant and Terrie Bennett’s Gallerie. Rene’ and Kimberly, owners of the Trading Post, served two cold appetizers while we poured our wine. Their goose liver pate’ which doesn’t really sound good to a lot of folks was great with our Petite Pecan wine. They also served a shrimp salsa on a bite size tart shell made from poppy seeds.

The Trading Post Restaurant is one of Taos’ best which is saying a lot as there are so many good restaurants in Taos. We ate lunch there and enjoyed the chef’s special which was made from local wild mushrooms with a sherry cream sauce and asparagus 'yummy'.

Terrie Bennett is a fine sculptor working in bronze and other mediums. Her father is Tom Bennett another fine sculptor and her gallery is full of their art plus pottery and paintings from other artists. She is currently working on a sculpture which she is planning to donate to New York City for the 9-11 anniversary. It is very moving piece, which we were able to see as a work in progress. She is raising funds for this by selling miniatures of it. You can check this out at her website: www.terriebennettgallerie.com

However, the real reason we were in Taos was for the wine competition and Oklahoma did well. We, Nuyaka Creek Winery, won a bronze for our Petite Pecan fortified wine. StableRidge Winery in Stroud won 3 silver for some of the wines they submitted and Oak Hills Winery in Chelsea won two bronze and one gold for their wines . We decided we should have sent more of our wines for judging. We were really proud of how well the Oklahoma wineries did in this event.

We were proud to be a representative for Oklahoma and want to thank Sally Trigg and the citizens and merchants of Taos for their generosity. Another person that worked really hard was Shirley Nelson, southwest editor for Wine and Cuisine . Her expertise and knowledge made for a very professional competition. Our thanks have to also go to Mr. & Mrs. Yakkeslav Zspernje of the Sheva Café who, after tasting our wines purchased them to pour in their restaurant.

We are looking forward to this event next year as Oklahoma grows in recognition throughout the wine industry. - Dianne Jones, Nuyaka Creek Winery
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