I first discovered Gruet Winery years ago on a drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. I U-turned and submitted to a sampling, which I totally enjoyed. Years later the wines from the New Mexico based winery were available in Texas. Since their arrival into the Texas market, I’ve been trying their wines as they expanded and all have been good to excellent, particularly the champagnes.
I couldn’t get a straight answer from the Gruet employees about how a family with deep roots in France managed to 1) find their way to the unassuming city of Albuquerque 2) how they were able to grow grapes in the high desert 200 miles south. Mystery aside, the proof is in the glass. I was curious to try the Rose Champagne since I had not seen it offered before.
Beautiful salmon color in the glass. A nose full of strawberry lemonade, vanilla and a grass meets basil herbal mix. Initial flavours are Strawberry Now & Later, young raspberry with a shy shale mineral quality. A low acidity helped to underscore a creamy texture. Slight lemon peel on the way down. For $14 a bottle, this proved an excellent, casual start to the rest of my evening.
NV Gruet Rose Champagne | Specs Downtown HTX | $14
Champagne isn’t often on my menu, so I really have no idea what to buy. Browsing the champagne aisle at Houston’s Home Depot sized liquor store I found this one, which had interesting reviews and the on-site wine pimp suggested. Plop, into the cart.
It was interesting and I did like it but it was very different from my standard fare – Egly-Ouriet. Taking a lesson from Oenophilogical, I’ll use simple terms to describe. Of course, I only know simple terms, so there’s that!
A surprising but not unpleasant yeasty, musky muscat grape on the nose. Peach, apricot, almond, and pleasant cinnamon astringency on the tongue with just the slightest mineral quality.
Flavours were a little stingy but opened up after 20 minutes of accidentally letting it come closer to room temperature. Its almost medium bodied, almost. Clean, crisp flavors were intense momentarily then evaporated quickly. Residual sugar seemed a little high for a Brut but that could have easily been the fresh apricot-peach fruit flavours doing a marketing job on my brain.
It paired nicely with Brie, overpowered a fresh Mozzarella and didn’t even register against a Gorgonzola (no surprise there).
NV Collet Brut | Specs – Downtown, HTX | $45