Tasting Report: Gruet Cellars

Saturday, December the 5th we sampled Gruet’s Sauvage, a non-dosage (bone dry) Blanc de Blanc from New Mexico at Madrona Wine Merchants. Yummy! And a big seller.

Since I was already planning to be in New Mexico I arranged a tour of their facility in Albuquerque and thought I’d pass along my impressions.

While their estate grapes are grown outside of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the augment their non-vintage sparklers with grapes from California and the Northwest. Coming online in the next two years will be Pinot Meunier grapes from a joint venture with the Santa Anna Pueblo near Santa Fe. They even have a few vines in front of their urban winery. Fun fact: Gruet is the largest (by square feet) winery located in an urban environment, followed by Seattle’s own Charles Smith in Georgetown.

I had a chance to run through their entire tasting room menu and take notes:

After working through the wine list it was time for a personal tour of the winery by their production manager:

Normally these tours are only available on the last Saturday of the month at 2PM. The tasting room, which is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico is open to the public Monday-Thursday 10am to 5pm. Friday-Saturday 10am to 7pm, Sunday noon-5pm.

I was lucky enough to arrive as they were bottling their non-vintage Rose.

After the bottles come off the bttling line, they are first stacked in massive wooden crates:

Before getting loaded in to rotating steel rakes that perform the “riddling” – the quarter turn twist to get all the sediment to float down to the neck of the bottle.

Before final labelling the bottles go through disgorgement – which done by freezing the neck of the bottle and then upcapping the bottle which because it’s a sparkling wine, blows all the sediment out of the bottle. Next up is the adding of the “dosage” – a bit of sugar to restart the fermentation to get bubbles to form again. Then it’s recorked, wired, and sometimes foiled. Fun fact – the clear bottles for the rose are made in Seattle down in the Georgetown neighborhood on Highway 99.

We had the Gruet Sauvage open on Saturday, December 5th. In addition, we also carry their Blanc de Noir. Tasting notes for both of those are below:

Gruet Blanc De Noirs    $16
Pinot Noir
New Mexico
Méthode Champenoise & aged for a minimum of two-years, berry aroma with toasty notes and a creamy texture.

Gruet Brut Sauvage Blanc de Blanc    $18
Chardonnay
Low-dosage domestic bubbles! Aromas of bright mineral notes followed by traces of green apple, lemon Meringue pie, with a hint of daisy. This wine finishes with bright, crisp acidity on the palate with a light yet long finish. With limited residual sugar, the Gruet Sauvage is for the sparkling connoisseur who appreciates bone dry acidity.

So, if you find yourself in Albuquerque with extra time, they are located just off the freeway – stop on by and sample their wares, which include still wines. Fun fact: the grapes for their Cabernet Sauvignon come from our own Columbia Valley.

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