Picture this: it’s the early 1980s and a French family from Champagne that has been making bubbles there for decades comes to America and travels far and wide to find the New Champagne.
The family is the Gruets and when the members arrive in Truth or Consequences, N. M., Mr. Gruet declares, “Here’s the place!” Ever since they have been growing the classic grapes of Champagne, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay and crafting some of the best sparkling wines in the New World.
Bubbles can go with everything and Gruet’s sparklers deliver great bang for the buck.
Their limestone vineyards lie between 3,000- and 5,000-foot elevations, which even with their southern latitudes, provide the cool climate and calcareous soils that are excellent incubators for fresh and mineral-tasting grapes — that make the best sparkling wines. The Gruets also use the resource, time and labor-intensive traditional process that has so much to do with developing flavors, textures and bubble quality.
The Gruets create sparklers in all the popular champagne styles from bone-dry Sauvage versions to classic Brut, Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir and even some long-aged vintage bottlings. Although not cheap, Gruet Winery wines deliver price value across the board, often outperforming wines that cost much more.
These wines regularly garner high ratings from the major review sources, but they never seem to catch fire with the general public. This is good news for us because they continue to be excellent values. In addition, they are widely available in the more wine-centric parts of the U.S., so you should have no trouble finding them.
I have had them as part of almost every wine program I have run or consulted on and they have pleasantly surprised many a fan of much pricier sparkling wines, including lovers of high-end champagne. One of my favorite multi-course meal pairings is to pour a different Gruet with each and every course. This works because every bottling, from the Sauvage to versions with some sweetness, is crisp and complex and plays well with the appropriate food.
Whether choosing an entry-level or vintage wine, you could do the same pairing for several courses and not spend what a single bottle of top vintage champagne costs.
Good local sources are the Uncorked/Petra wine bars because they not only stock Gruets, they can also help you get their limited offerings on request.
Remember, bubbles can go with everything and Gruet’s sparklers deliver great bang for the buck.