Gruet Winery is probably the most popular winery - assisted by its wide distribution network - selling over 100,000 cases to 48 states. The winery was founded by French champagne producer Gilbert Gruet after he and his family visited the American southwest in 1983. As a result of meeting a group of New Mexican winemakers, they (Gruet; his children, winemaker Laurent and daughter Nathalie; and family friend Farid Himeur) planted an experimental vineyard with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes near the town of Engle. The vineyards are situated at 4,300 feet, allowing for large diurnal temperature change between the extremely hot days and cool nights. Plus, there's little humidity to contribute to grape rot. An excellent location. And using the traditional grapes from Champagne, New Mexican sparkling wine was born.
|StarChefs.com: The United Grapes of America|
For our tasting ,we selected the Gruet Blanc de Noirs available from Whole Foods for $15. Composed of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the wine follows traditional Champagne Methodoise practices, maybe too much - since the secondary fermentation gave this sparkler an explosive amount of bubbles. But after the initial fireworks settled, the wine was very tasty, 100% dry with creamy apple flavors and a tart almost citrusy finish. This is a solid sparkling wine, and at that price, why not drink a sparkler a day.