19 July, 2010

A great sparkling wine from an unexpected place.

When you think of sparkling wine, you most likely think of places like Champagne or California. But would you have ever expected a quality sparkling wine, let alone a quality wine from New Mexico? I didn't think so, because this really surprised me, too. In fact, it's likely you've seen this wine at your local wine shop and didn't think twice about where it came from; you might have even thought it was from France. I'm talking about Gruet Sparkling Wine from the Gruet Winery just outside Albequerque, NM.

First, let's tackle why this delicious wine comes from such an unexpected place. It's been determined that fine wine is best produced between 30 and 50 degrees North and South latitude. New Mexico is at 31 to 34 degrees north of the equator so it just squeaks by. By comparison, North Africa is at 38 degrees and Southern Italy is at 40 degrees latitude. Still this seems like it could be too warm to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both traditionally cool climate grapes that are used in these sparklers.  The secret is the altitude. They grow at 4300 feet so while it may get hot during the day, it can very cool at night, dropping 30 degrees. This is significant because this night time cooling allows the ripening process to slow down, exactly what these grape varieties need -- a long growing season.

I was lucky enough on Saturday night to attend a surprise birthday party for a friend and one of the guests brought the Gruet non-vintage Rose. It was delicious and like most sparklers, pairs with most everything very nicely. Here are the tasting notes from the website:

This nearly garnet Rose, like all our non-vintage sparkling wines, is aged 24 months en tirage. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. 

Gruet is widely distributed, so seek some out and enjoy!



  1. We had some sparkling from Gruet in a off-beat flight at Fonte in Seattle in May. I found it to be excellent example of sparkling wine and of course from an unexpected place.


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  3. Wow, who would have thought!

  4. I agree that this was a delicious wine. Either that, or we were all scared sh*tless of the impending tornado that we didn't really care! :) Nice post.

  5. This is a great blog~glad I found it!! Would love to invite you to BlogLove~MN, bloggers networking event? Email me or @lovefeast on Twitter! ~Chris Ann