Gruet Winery is best known for producing some of the US’s favourite Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines, but did you know that they make an exceptional collection of stills, as well? With Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown exclusively in New Mexico, the quality of which I have written numerous times, Gruet was established in 1984 by acclaimed French champagne maker Gilbert Gruet, and run under the expertise of his son, the winemaker, Laurent Gruet. But the state’s winemaking history goes back over 400 years, far longer than the history of the United States as a country. New Mexico’s desert landscape, high elevation, fertile soil and dramatic temperature swings provide ideal growing conditions, something Spanish monks of the 1600s recognized when they smuggled vines out of their homeland to plant in the new Americas. Today, Gruet has partnered with the local indigenous population of the Pueblo of Santa Ana and others to grow grapes to the unique specifications of the winemaker.
Last year, on a road trip through the American southwest, we visited the winery, spent significant time in the Albuquerque tasting room, and ordered cases of both stills and sparklings to be sent back home. Of the mix, I am particularly fond of the Gruet Barrel Select 2017 Chardonnay.
This Chardonnay is very light, surprisingly so, considering that it greets you with hints of big spice and damp forest on the nose. Despite its delicate essence, the wine is round and well-balanced with notes of warm vanilla, crisp green anjou pear and mineral water. Though this is a creamy Chardonnay with pleasant hints of aged oak, it finishes with a crisp cleanness that lasts on the palate.
When drinking this wine, I immediately see a canvas of clover green on which is a Jackson-Pollock-style splattering of canary yellow, apple green and mahogany. The drops drip slowly, like paint, down the surface of the canvas, picking up the warmer hues of amber, gold and honey when they reach the bottom. A warm, clean and earthy finish.
The Chardonnay is available to purchase through Gruet’s online store for about $19.00 USD a bottle.
*This post is not sponsored. I purchased this wine and the views and tasting notes are my own.