The year was 1999 and I was attending culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, SC. I was working part-time waiting tables at a historic restaurant to make quick cash. One night as I was standing in the “Bubble Room”, I noticed a bottle of sparkling wine from a producer named Gruet. I had never heard of them before. I picked up the bottle, turned it over to read the backside, and lo and behold it was produced in New Mexico. I scoffed..”New Mexico? Seriously? What in the world is a winemaker in New Mexico doing producing sparkling wine?” Ah, naivety. I went to the liquor store and purchased a bottle. Guess what I discovered. Quite simply, that Gruet was producing world-class sparkling wine. I have been a fan of their sparkling wines ever since.
Fast forward 17 years, my dear friend and fellow Sommelier Heather Ezell had made a trip to New Mexico to visit one of her favorite wineries, Gruet. She texted me and asked if I would like some wine, which I promptly answered, “Hell Yes!” I thought she was bringing me some sparkling, but instead, she hands me this delicious find, Gruet Cabernet Sauvignon.
One night as I was cooking dinner, Grilled Greek Seasoned Lamb finished with a rosemary and thyme infused olive oil, I decided to open a bottle of the Gruet Cabernet. I could not have choreographed a better pairing. It was ridiculously good. The Cab starts with dark cherries and baking spices and beautiful purple flowers on the nose, the flavors are accentuated by more savory herbs on the palate with rosemary, vanilla, caramel and cedar notes on the finish. All of these nuances are wrapped in velvet-like tannins…so smooth….As I sat and pondered this wine, I couldn’t help but think of the aromas that abound in New Mexico. This of course make me think of the terroir that would be associated with the vineyards. I think this wine really speaks New Mexico. Earthy, spicy, ripe fruits wrapped in a woodsy wrapper, and delivered beautifully. Rustic and charming.
I’ll be making a purchase of many of these bottles for my enjoyment, I recommend you do the same.