Great Bubbly from Where??… Gruet Sparkling Review

gruetThe first time we met these two guys at a wine trade event in Ohio, we thought they were a little wacky. They were pouring bubbly for anyone they could drag over to their booth, and their bubbly was made in…New Mexico! We were skeptical, but their story was good and their sparkling wine was even better. Since then Gruet has been our favorite domestic sparkler, and the one we now recommend to everyone we can drag in.

Their story goes something like this: A French Champagne maker named Gilbert Gruet was travelling in the Southwest and met some European winemakers who were growing good wine grapes near the town of Truth or Consequence, New Mexico (really!). Land there was dirt cheap (pardon the pun) compared to the Champagne region, and the family decided to plant an experimental vineyard with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (the two grapes generally used to make traditional method Champagne). The vineyard was at 4,300 feet elevation, one of the highest in the country, so temperatures that could be very hot during the day dropped by as much as 30 degrees at night. (The geeks call this the “diurnal temperature shift”, and bigger is definitely better: it creates tannin, acid and structure in wine grapes.)

But of course, the wine world told these guys they were nuts. They didn’t get a lot of support for their New Mexican winery, but set out to prove themselves and their wine. And in true Rocky Balboa, American Underdog tradition, they beat the big guys and carved out a niche in the domestic sparkler market. Their first releases were in 1989, and they now sell 100,000 cases in 48 states.
So the next time you feel like drinking some bubbly, give Gruet a try. It makes a tremendous aperitif (try it with some Boursin cheese and Smoked Salmon on a crostini), first course wine, or as a solo sipper. Here’s what I recommend:
Gruet Blanc de Noir NV — Crisp and clean, with an undertone of delicate strawberry fruit (my favorite)
Gruet Brut — Very clean and snappy, with a citrus-y undertone
Gruet Demi-Sec — Semi-sweet but not sugary, for those who can’t handle dry wines.
Give them a try, and please leave a comment to let us know what you think!

$18.99 Gruet Blanc de Noir 750ml

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