Have you ever met a person who is a walking exclamation point?! You know the type…super enthusiastic about life! only sees the positive! seizes every moment! They use exclamation points in conversation and in writing, but you never get worn out by their passion. Their joy is contagious!
Meet Brad Shattuck, my version of Mr. Exclamation Point!
Like a good little blogger, I did my due diligence of visiting the Shattuck Vineyard website prior to visiting the actual Shattuck Vineyard. Not to belabor my point, but I counted at least 19 exclamation points on the homepage! When I emailed Brad to let him know of my desire to visit the tasting room and talk to him about his wines, he wrote back: “Of course!” The exclamatory pattern continues into the wine descriptions on his tasting menu.
Shattuck Vineyard’s tasting room and patio are magical to anyone who understands—or wants to understand—the wine life philosophy. It is a little pura vida in the wine life world. The patio is peacefully inviting with an amazing view of Caballo Lake. (Trust me—any view of water in New Mexico is going to be amazing!) Grape vines surround the property, and it doesn’t take an expert in grape-growing to know those vines are happy and cared for.
Brad Shattuck is a California boy who moved from northwest Pennsylvania to New Mexico. If you read my very first blog post, From the Land of Enchantment, you’ll know that my initial response to New Mexico wines when I moved here from Pennsylvania was a not-so-delicate GROSS! Brad, being much more diplomatic, told me “New Mexico wines weren’t very good.” Determined to improve the taste and status of wine in the Land of Enchantment, Brad bought his property in 2007 after months of research on climate and terroir. The home of Shattuck Vineyards also has a free-flow artesian well.
In 2008, Brad planted Zinfandel vines and by 2012 Shattuck Vineyard was licensed and they began serving their first wine enthusiasts in 2013. Getting vines, advice, and support from Paolo D’Andrea of New Mexico Vineyard, Brad now has 1400 vines. Although I didn’t ask him, I wouldn’t be surprised if every single vine in the Shattuck vineyard had its own name.
The love and devotion that starts with the grapes is fermented into every single bottle of Shattuck wine. You can taste it!
Although not in an American Viticultural Area (AVA), Shattuck wines may be beneficiaries of some characteristics of the three New Mexico AVAs that surround it: the Middle Rio Grande AVA to the north, Mimbres AVA to the West, and Mesilla AVA to the south. Brad describes his vineyard as being in the Lower Central Rio Grande and he fully believes it should be its own AVA, and I couldn’t agree more. Although tedious, it is not impossible and perhaps one day we will see the Lower Central Rio Grande become an AVA.
I probably should take a little backstep to address the title of the blog: ZINTASTIC! It didn’t occur to me to fact-check my thoughts on this, but since Brad first planted Zinfandel vines, vints several Zinfandel wines, and has a Zinfandel blend I get the feeling he has an affinity for this particular grape in all its varieties. As backup evidence, I offer the Shattuck Vineyard homepage which sports links to their ZinTASTIC wines, Zintastic Events, and Zintastic Bottle Stoppers. Oh! And I probably should mention that their Consequence of Zinfandel won a gold medal in the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition in 2020!
Now for MY exclamation point(s)!
I tasted A LOT of Shattuck wine on my visit. Brad was so passionate about every wine and told me more than I could ever retain about each varietal and blend on the menu. I purchased several bottles for my personal wine cellar and then visited their booth at the New Mexico Spring Wine Festival to get some more.
Although I would drink any of the Shattuck wines and be perfectly happy, there were a few I absolutely loved.
2019 Caballo Cabernet Sauvignon!!! My absolute favorite. I cannot get over the color of this rich fruit-forward Cab. It is just beautiful with an indescribable color. I heard a rumor from one of Brad’s festival servers that he may bottle his 2020 vintage in September. 2020 will have a lot to live up to and I’m looking forward to its release.
2019 ArRey of Chardonnay!!! A dry, lightly barrel-aged Chadonnay from Shattuck’s estate grapes. The wine is 100% Chardonnay and probably most indicative of the terroir around Caballo Lake.
Seco Creek Red!!! This blend of Cabernet and Zinfandel is aged in a Stranahan Bourbon Barrel made of American Oak. Although it is technically a dry red blend, the finish doesn’t have the astringency typically associated with red wines. It’s smooth and lingering so you get the mouthfeel of a little sweetness.
Honorable Mention with its own Exclamation Point!
Angel Wing Mead! Yes. You read it correctly. Mead is not a wine or a beer. It is its own category and basically has three ingredients: honey, yeast, and water. Mead is the oldest known alcoholic beverage in the world (or so the internet says). Like wines, the diverse climates and terroir that influence grape-growing also makes its mark on honey. With some “local” honey and a little mead-maker creativity, there are an infinite number of styles and flavors of mead around the world.
At Shattuck, Brad’s son, Dewey, makes the mead. The day I was there, Brad told me the mead had gone into a second fermentation in the bottle so it was fizzy—sparkling, if you will. I can’t describe this drink to you. It was absolutely fabulous. I bought 2 more bottles of it at the wine festival and was promised that it, too, was “fizzy.” I have yet to try it, but the flavor of the mead is outstanding with or without the fizz.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Shattuck Vineyard and Winery. The people are all so friendly and kind. The wine, the view, the patio, …it is just magical. I live about an hour away from Shattuck, but I’m already organizing a Saturday afternoon party to go out there with me.
If you live in New Mexico, you have no excuse for missing this little gem. If you are visiting from out of state, consider stopping in while you travel down the interstate. No matter who you are or where you’re from, Shattuck has something for everyone! (Did I mention their 2019 Cab?)
Last Minute Details
Tasting Room Hours:
Fridays 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturdays 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Sundays 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
Phone: (915) 491-9459
43 Bridle Road, Caballo, NM 87931
I would LOVE for you to comment or send me and email letting me know about any of your experiences with New Mexico wine. Also, let me know about other great wineries you’ve visited in the United States or ask any questions you may have about wine, winemaking, the wine industry or anything else that applies to the Wine of Enchantment.
Until next time: CHEERS!
Special note of thanks to my sweet friend, Ruthy Storrs for her ZINTASTIC photography!
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