A trio of wine bars within walking distance (almost) makes it a crawl
By Jeans Pineda
Though it be landlocked and drought-ridden, New Mexico produces fine grapes for wine and has its fair share of great wine bars, especially in the North where Taos and its insatiable foodies like to enjoy an excellent vintage of Gruner Veltliner or Gamay with their meal.
Thankfully for both residents and tourists alike, a trio of wine bars exist right in the heart of town — each within walking distance from one another, and diverse enough to warrant a little gallivant to and fro.
At the intersection of Kit Carson and Paseo del Pueblo, the first wine bar you can see is Corner Office. Not exactly on the corner and definitely not an office, it sits upstairs on the second floor above Muerte Tattoo.
Corner Office focuses on natural wine and locally sourced food and has, in a little over a year, earned distinction as one of the top 50 wine bars in the United States, according to Wine Enthusiast. At the time of their award, they were well-regarded for their well-curated wine list, “a detailed and well-priced wine list make it a legit destination.”
Owners Jori Emde and Zakary Pelaccio are grape geeks of the highest order and next-level gourmands. Prior to Corner Office, they ran Fish and Game, where they specialized in serving a seasonal a-la-carte menu in New York’s Hudson Valley. That restaurant’s wine list was recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine as having one of the nation’s best wine lists five years straight.
And with all that wine, there’s terrific dishes that pair well with them. Take for instance two appetizers that start with the letter F: the finocchiona (fennel seasoned sausage) with honey fermented figs and the Italian pancake — better known as a frico —which is a rich composite of soft cheese and potato. In the case of Corner Office, it’s a one-to-one ratio of aged gruyere and shredded potatoes.
Corner Office 122 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos cornerofficetaos.com
Within a minute, you can get to Parcht — the introverted artsy brother of The Gorge Bar and Grill as well as the elder statesmen of wine establishments in Taos, having occupied the same space since April 2015.
The grotto-like space of Parcht is one of the few places in the state with a wine dispensing draft system which keeps their by-the-glass offerings as fresh as possible. The shiny Cruvinet Wine Bar system holds 16 bottles and even has different temperature zones for the reds and whites.
“Our waste is pretty small, which is really good because it gives us the avenue to do a lot more different stuff and higher-end stuff because we don’t have to worry about ‘oh my God, we gotta have this sold in three days or else it’s gonna go bad,’” Head Manager Ralph Garcia said.
Along with that longevity, Parcht serves tapas-style plates and charcuterie boards. The baked brie dish is sure to offset some of the tannins of the deep-bodied reds and is light enough to pair with delicate whites.
There is no shortage of options for the choose-your-own-adventure charcuterie boards. You’ve got recognizable serrano ham, but you’ve also got decadent bresaola (trimmed beef that is cured for a few days and then air dried for months), and then there’s the Wisconsin blue cheese, which is juniper-infused and made out of four different fats for a rich mouthfeel.
If you feel like taking a particular bottle back to your place, Parcht is equipped with a packaging license.
Parcht 103 E Plaza, Taos 575-758-1994 parcht.com
Barra Vino is the furthest out from the bunch. From Parcht you’ll have to get some slight cardio and walk one-fifth of a mile towards Ledoux Street. Barra Vino is also conveniently located next to Salon Marjorie if you’re thinking of going for the full premium pampering experience of having both a pedicure and a Petite Verdot.
Just like Corner Office, Barra Vino is one of the new kids on the block, but it turns out they’re just a new wine bar in what used to be an old wine bar, which lends it an air of familiarity. To make you feel even more at home, they specialize in dangerously delicious frosé.
The frosé trend never really hit Taos the same way it did other places. With a beach town background, owners Bliss Causby and Ben Collins thought it only natural to get the party started with their signature frosé.
“That was one of our first things that we ordered for the wine bar was frosé machines. Like nobody else seems to have it. A lot of people haven’t heard of it.” Causby said. Shortly after acquiring the frosé dispensing machines, Collins started getting down to business.
“We just really got to experiment and try a lot of different flavors before we even opened to sort of see what was good” said Causby.
The cold fruity drinks were and still are a hit. You’d think taste preferences would shift in the winter as people turn towards bold reds and mulled wines, but the frosé wins out every time, even when the roads are iced over.
Barra Vino is the only wine bar to feature live music with their weekly open mic on Thursdays. It was an idea inspired by the former wine room, Black Mesa Winery, and spurred by the former patrons that remember those outings. At first, they were reluctant to the idea of having an open mic, but once they gave in, it became a hit — just as it was a hit back then.
“We get such a wide variety of great musicians and it’s really ended up being one of our best nights of the week” Causby said.
Barra Vino 241 Ledoux St, Taos 575-240-8534