I happened to have a spare day in New Mexico last month when the family had nothing planned, so we headed into the Albuquerque area and visited a few local wineries.
Surprised that they have wineries in New Mexico? I was too!
The first winery we visited was Gruet Winery, which is right in the heart of Albuquerque. This was by far my favorite winery that we visited that day, and I will definitely be returning on future visits to the in-laws!
Gruet specializes in sparkling white wines - or as they call them, Champenoise - but also carries still wines.
Our tasting was only $6 and included 5 of their non-reserve wines.
I began checking off different wines, but ultimately decided to let the wise lady behind the counter recommend wines for me to taste - and I am so glad that I did!
My sister in-law, mother in-law and I tried
Gruet Brut - A wonderful fine bouquet dominated by green apple and grapefruit flavors.
I enjoyed it, but it is not a wine that I would drink on a regular basis. I prefer less dry and more flavorful wines.
Gruet Rose - It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry.
This was by far my favorite wine of the day - I ordered two bottles to take home. It was only slightly dry, with just a hint of sweetness, and the flavors of the fruits really shone through!
Gruet Demi Sec - Toasty bouquet, light and elegant with good acidity, exotic fruit flavors.
This was my second favorite wine, after the Gruet Rose. Just a hint of sweetness, but mostly a wonderful fruit flavor!
Gruet Blanc De Noirs - A lovely fruity wine with toasty aromas. An explosive juicy flavor of raspberry.
This was on par with the Demi Sec, just a little less sweet (none of these wines were actually sweet) and different fruit flavors.
Gruet 2007 Pinot Noir - Ripe and complete with focused black cherry, plum, anises and floral notes framed by light oak.
While I enjoyed this Pinot Noir, I found it comparable to many other Pinot Noirs I have purchased at home, so I did not buy a bottle.
We had a lovely time tasting the wines, and snacking on crackers in between sips. The woman guiding us through our wine tasting was so helpful and she knew so much about the wines! As we tasted each wine, she explained about the sugar content in each one. I was happy to find out that most of their sparkling wines, while fruity, were not sweet. Granted, there is a time and a place for dessert wines, and I am a big fan of Reisling...but I am not a big fan of the headaches I get after drinking them!
Most of Gruet's sparkling wines have a sugar content below .08.
After we tasted our wines, we decided to try Gruet's signature cocktail. It was the most amazing thing! It was Gruet's flagship wine, the Brut, with a hibiscus flower dropped in the middle of the glass, with a tiny bit of the sweet syrup in it.
I really enjoyed the Gruet Brut on it's own - it wasn't too dry, and not sweet at all. I could really taste the fruit in it, but it wasn't a heavy flavor, like some of the fruit wines that are made in Miami. Once she added the hibiscus flower and a bit of the syrup, it changed the flavor of the wine - while it still wasn't sweet, the fruity flavor became more powerful!
Seriously, this beats sangria hands down!
While I enjoyed all of the wines I tried, my favorite by far was the Gruet Rose. I ordered two bottles to be shipped home to me, along with a Gruet Demi Sec and a Gruet Brut and a jar of the hibiscus flowers in syrup.
After I arrived home and received my package, I invited my friend over for dinner and we made short work of that specialty cocktail! And one of those bottles of Gruet Rose, I brought with me to a party a short while afterward and it was gone within an hour!
If you are in the Albuquerque area, I highly recommend taking an afternoon to visit Gruet Winery for a tasting, or to pick up a bottle of their wonderful sparkling wines! Or, you can place an order online (if your state allows the shipment of alcohol) - they even have a wine club, in which you pay roughly $80 for a shipment of two or more wines up to 6 times a year. All wines are hand selected by Lauren Gruet, the winemaker behind Gruet Winery! Ordering individual bottles is less expensive, with wines starting at $11.
Gruet Winery is located at 8400 Pan American Frwy NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87113. Call before you head out just to make sure they are open! Tel: 888-857-9463