A couple weeks ago, while blathering on about bubbly wines, I mentioned that my favorite producer of American sparkling wine is Gruet. I will be out working the market with the regional rep from Gruet today, so I just wanted to talk a little more in detail about the winery.
In the early 80's, a guy named Gilbert Gruet was travelling around America, looking for a place to grow some grapes. He already had the knowledge on how to make Champagne, as he had been running Gruet et Fils in France since the 50's. He happened upon the area of Truth or Consequences, NM (about 170 miles south of Albuquerque) and found the perfect little microclimate for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Based on his findings, he started the Gruet winery, and handed the keys over to his son Laurent.
There are a couple of things that make the area perfect for growing these grapes. First of all, the vineyards lie at about 4200 feet above sea level. This means that the grapes can cool down at night, after extremely hot days, thus prolonging the maturation period. Also, the area has almost no humidity to speak of, which takes away the problem of grape rot/mold. Finally, the climate doesn't allow for many bugs, so the grapes can be grown without pesticides.
The winery makes several wines, but I'm really a fan of their entry-level wines, each costing less than $20 retail:
NV Blanc de Noir-
made from 75% pinot noir, and 25% chardonnay, this wine has just enough breadiness to keep it interesting, while adding some of the raspberry, citrus, and almond notes that I love in bubbly.
made from 75% chard, and 25% Pinot, this one is for the sparkling wine lover that is really looking for the bready, yeasty characteristics that give it a full-blown body
Again, made predominately from Pinot, the rose drinks dry, but is like eating a bowl of mixed berrries. I had some last night, cooled almost to the point of freezing, and my wife kept grabbing my glass to steal a sip!
Just a touch sweet, this is my wife's favorite. Think flavors of ripe green apples, and tropical fruits. It's just flat out refreshing!
Well, that should give you enough to think about for dinner tonight!