Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Mexican Sojourn

So I had to travel on business and it took me to New Mexico. I flew into Albuquerque and then drove to Santa Fe. On the way I had to stop off in a local grocery store, where I also happened to find several bottles of local wines. I figured I'd take a taste of both, and if I could offer it to friends, while on the trip, all the better. You know me, I couldn't help myself.

First was Gruet, which is a very well known winery. Gilbert Gruet founder of Gruet Winery was born in Bethon, France in 1931. He grew up in a poor family, and began working at a young age. In 1952, Gilbert Gruet, along with his wife Danielle, dreamt of producing fine quality Champagne. Gilbert followed his heart and in 1967 created the U.V.C.B. (Union Vinicole des Coteaux de Bethon), a co-op in the village of Bethon.

In 1983, the Gruet family was traveling through the Southwestern part of the United States, and while in New Mexico met a group of European winemakers who had successfully planted vineyards In Engle, near the town of Truth or Consequence, 170 miles south of Albuquerque.
The land was inexpensive and the opportunity golden. In 1984, Gilbert Gruet, whose Champagne house, Gruet et Fils had produced fine Champagne in Bethon, France, since 1952, made the decision to plant an experimental vineyard, exclusively planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. His children, winemaker Laurent and daughter Nathalie, and family friend Farid Himeur then relocated to the great state of New Mexico to begin their American wine making adventure.
Gruet is one of the most widely distributed wines not made in California, Oregon, Washington or New York. You are likely to find it in any number of wine shops on the east coat.
I tried the Gruet Rose. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It was bright and sparkling and lovely. A very nicely balanced wine.
Blue Teal Vineyards was founded by the Lescombes family. They have been making wine for six generations. In 1981 the first vineyard was planted, which originally consisted of 11 different varietals on 10 acres in the Pyramid Valley, just east of Lordsburg, New Mexico. The vineyard neighbored a large pond that welcomed migratory Blue-winged Teals during the winter. The Blue-winged Teals became the vineyards mascot and later namesake. With the migration patterns of the teals reflecting the Lescombes own migration to the United States the name Blue Teal Vineyards was created. The hot dry desert days, cool nights and sandy soil created the perfect micro climate for the vineyard. Blue Teal celebrated its first bottling in January of 1984. Over the years our winery and vineyards have expanded to bottle over 10 thousand cases a year. They offer a large selection of award-winning wines.
The Blue Teal 2008 Shiraz is a brightly colored red dry wine. There's lots of dark berry up front. And it ends with a lot of pepper. Nice smooth finish. It's a whole lotta wine for an inexpensive $9.00 bottle. Very nice.
Anyway, 6 hours of plane rides there, and six hours back. It was an exhausting trip. But I had fun.