BRUNELLO’S NOSE KNOWS….
Gruet Sparkling Wines of New Mexico
Would you ever have imagined beautiful, French style Sparkling wines, made in the Champagne Method, produced in New Mexico?? Well the Gruet family (pronounced grew ett) has been doing so since 1984. A Frenchman, Gilbert Gruet, born in Bethon, France in 1931, became a world leader in sparkling wine making. As a young boy growing up in France, he worked in many vineyards and wineries. Gilbert later inherited land from his father where he made fine Champagne in Bethon at Gruet et Fils since 1952. In the early 1980’s Gilbert and his wife Danielle were on a tour of the US, where they met other European winemakers in New Mexico. The vineyards he toured, some 170 miles south of Albuquerque had been producing grapes since the early 1700’s. Gilbert decided to make the move to the US. He moved with two of his four children, Laurent and Nathalie, and began his New Mexico winemaking venture in 1984.
Their first release of Gruet Blanc de Noir and Brut (1987 vintage) in 1989 was a great success. The winery continued to thrive, and in 1999 sold their millionth bottle of wine. It was also the year that Gilbert passed away. Laurent and Nathalie continued to make wine and grow the facility. By 2011 they received the honor of a spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 with their Blanc de Noir, #43. In 2014 the family partnered with corporate wine leader Precept Brands, and the winery continues to grow and succeed. The bottles are labeled Methode Champenoise and “American Sparkling Wine”, with Albuquerque, New Mexico vineyard information on the back label. The winery itself has 75 acres planted in sandy loam soils, high elevation, and sweeping winds to naturally keep away pests, they also have contracts with growers in other parts of the state. Their wines continually receive great press and are superior in quality for the price.
Gruet Blanc de Blanc is made form 100% Chardonnay grapes. Remember, Blanc de Blanc means white on white, so only white grapes can be used. The wine exhibits aromas of brioche and green apples that follow through with honeysuckle and tropical fruit flavors. I give it two bones on the Brunello scale!
Gruet Blanc de Noir is made from 75% Pinot Noir grapes, and 25% Chardonnay. Pale salmon colored, this full bodied wine has a rich mousse texture, creamy mouthfeel, with aromas of raspberry, baked pear and cherry. The nose is toasted vanilla, with a long finish. I give it three bones!!
Gruet Brut Rose is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, so it is rich garnet pink in color, full bodied with floral and rich red berry aromas and flavors. The texture is a delicate mouthfeel with zesty acidity. I give it three bones!!
Gruet sparkling wines are made in America with a beautiful French winemaking style – Method Champenoise; these wines go through secondary fermentation in the bottle, the wine is aged on the less (on the dead yeast cells, which impart flavor and character to the wine) which takes about 30 days. The wine is then turned slowly every day, the dead yeast cells are disgorged (the neck of the bottle is frozen, the yeast compiled in the neck released under pressure) then the wine is topped off and aged for a minimum of 24 months in bottle before release.
Gruet Sparkling wines can be enjoyed any time. A perfect pairing for hors d oeuvres or snacks, spicy Asian foods, or just sipping on the patio. Come see our selection of fine bubbles in the front of the store, and I’ll greet you with a wag of my tail!
By Brunello Giancola as told to CRBrown