We've been selling Gruet sparkling wines since they first became available here in the late 1980's. Always exemplary in their elegance and practical in their pricing, Gruet, nonetheless suffered in the marketplace. Even if it was qualitatively better than similar sparklers, being from New Mexico meant it wasn't California wine and it had to compete with the California stuff.
The Gruet Winery was founded by the Gilbert Gruet family of Champagne, France. What they found in north-central New Mexico in 1983 were old vineyards planted in Mission variety grapes, holdovers from four hundred years of monastic caretaking. If you missed it just now, the existence of those sacramental wine grapes point to an unexpected truth - These were some of the oldest vineyards in America.
So what did the Gruets see in this place that prompted their investment? They saw a plateau 4-5,000 feet above sea level with sandy, loamy soils and beneficial winds to combat pests and diseases. They may have also noted the diurnal effect of hot days with cool nights, perfect for grape ripening during the day and preserving freshness and acidity at night.
Much has changed in the forty+ years that have elapsed since their beginning. The family now has four hundred acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay contracted to them (with a little Pinot Meunier) and they market ten different wines. Their current winemaker, Cyril Tanazaco, not only hails from the Champagne district of France but spent the last fourteen years in Verzenay making Grand Cru Champagne. Champagne vineyards are rated on a 100 percent quality scale with Grand Cru vineyards being the top one percent in quality! So with the Gruets themselves having their own roots in Champagne, they now have a winemaker with the talent to make the very best. All in New Mexico!
Stop in and pick up a bottle for New Years Eve!