NV Vara, Viña Cardinal (RT94) This unique and unusual wine is a tribute to the first winemaking in America, which was crafted from a Vitis Vinifera variety known as Listán Prieto (aka Mission grape). Bolstering this tradition, this fortified wine is crafted from New Mexico grown heirloom Listán Prieto grapes. The wine is pressed and fermented off the skins, then, fermentation is stopped by fortifying with grape spirits (aka brandy) to 17% alcohol by volume. This is quite simply one of the most unique wines being crafted in America today. With its deep copper, terracotta hue, this aperitif-styled wine wafts up a soaring, alcohol-boosted bouquet of mandarin orange, honey infused baked apple, dried ginger and quince. The bouquet’s harmony creates a unique, magnetic allure. The palate is soft, sumptuous, and sexy as the overall package strikes me as nearly invincible. Drink now-2040+, but who knows if there’s an end to the drinking window?