Gruet is one of America’s foremost sparkling wine producers, but there’s one thing about the brand that most consumers don’t realize, even if they really, really like the wine. Gruet is produced in the mountains of New Mexico, largely using fruit from vineyards at high altitudes in its home state.
How is everyone? Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, so I will hold up what is one of the remains of Easter and I hope everybody had a nice holiday be it Passover, Easter or just a nice weekend.
So this is commonly referred to as Groo-It it but this actually should be Grew-a at least that’s my understanding from the family that owns the winery. So Gruet is perhaps America’s best-known sparkling wine producer and I think one of the fascinating things about it is that it’s based in New Mexico and so you know we talked so much about how California, Oregon and Washington faced the nation’s best wines and a lot of people are good from New York too and I think that’s a perfectly good argument to make. But, really what are we talking about with all these regions we’re talking about places where you can find some cooler temperatures but still enough Sun to get the grapes ripen all the way and so you know you thinking New Mexico god that’s hot you know and there’s a lot of other spots where kind of similar Arizona is having a successful kind of revitalization or a kind of birth actually a public birth is probably better idea than revitalization of their wine industry.
Texas in the hill country it has the same thing I think they just gave away my point a little bit by saying Hill Country so how do you deal with temperature and that’s really one of the things kind of the burgeoning questions of our time for winemakers is that what do you do when you have rising temperatures or you have a growing region that’s just hotter than it is on the California coast and the answer is altitude.
That’s what Gruet has done so if you look at there are three kind of most commonly used vineyard locations that are in and around Albuquerque New Mexico and they all sit over 3,000 feet above sea level and with the two most the two largest both sitting over 4,000 and that’s something that we’re seeing in Arizona, Texas Hill Country is not at that altitude they’re you know talking a few hundred to a thousand feet but it’s something and I think you’ll see that increasingly the Colorado wine industry is kind of focusing on that same thing you know there’s this really cool concept called the vineyard at the end of the world in Chile where they’re planning Pinot grapes at 10,000 feet above sea level and so you’re seeing more and more winemakers kind of think like hey like if we don’t have the standard kind of coastal like sea level growing regions with cool climates and fog during the summer then what can we do to approximate those growing conditions but just in a different way and planning the grapes at higher altitudes is really it seems to be the way to do that so grape wise.
Gruet has done that for you know generations in New Mexico you’re seeing people do it the former lead singer from Tool(Maynard James Keenan, his name escaped me during this entire conversation) it’s a very famous winemaker Cadaceus winery in Arizona and you’re gonna see more people doing this and more people trying and I think that you’ll see increasingly there’s gonna be spots in California and the eastern regions of California this stuff the word is really really hot but there is mountains and altitude and there’s this kind of unusual land in some ways but you can put a vineyard in as long as you can harvest it I think you’re gonna see that you’re seeing it at Arizona you’re gonna see it in Texas and obviously Gruet has been so successful in New Mexico that you’ve already seen some competitors come in the landscape but there’s gonna be others and I think one of the great things about doing a sparkler in this can I can’t call it Champagne it’s not made in Champagne France but doing a sparkler as opposed to a table or still wine is that the bubbles tend to overwhelm the flavors so it gives you a little bit more leeway you can kind of create a structure in the style that makes sense for you but at the end of the day it’s really like getting the bubbles in the bottle that are the defining factor of that wine.
so Gruet this is a method of method Champagnese just made in Champagne method there’s a few different ways to do it we think of cava and Prosecco
Prosecco as an example it’s made a each tank and then put in bottle champagne is allowed to secondary ferment in the bottle basically that bubbles are created within the bottle instead of within a tank that’s why there are more bubbles in champagne and our and other types of sparklers and this is just an American sparkling wine and what’s not the like and it’s been incredibly successful and most people don’t even realize that it’s mainly New Mexico
I think you can tell by the label that they’re not even sure that they can sell that it’s made in New Mexico yet because they’re still putting American sparkling wine as a reminder on the ABA system you can always go wider you can ever go closer so if it’s made in California you could put American you know if so think about Napa Valley right you can make in Napa Valley Cabernet and you could put an American Cabernet and everyone would say why are you charging 95 bucks fort his but if you put Napa Valley makes perfect sense but the great folks don’t feel comfortable enough putting New Mexico sparkling wine which i think is kind of telling and I hope that’s something that changes as time goes by.
So once again, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, hope everybody’s having a good week so far and I hope they have next weekend Easter Passover or just hopefully some decent weather we’ve definitely finally run this I’m here in the Bay Area which will be good as the grapes start to grow again