Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gruet Blanc de Noirs NV $13.99 ***

Styled and photographed by MEH
April 21, 2012 - Our first al fresco evening of the year!! Of course it called for bubbly. Gruet Blanc de Noirs is S. & JPH's "go to" bubbly - it is a surprising representation of their love for both classical Europe and the American South West in a bottle.  

Gruet is a family business: Gilbert Gruet and his wife Danielle had a dream of making Champagne.  At first in their native Bethon, France and then while touring the Southwest in the 1980's outside of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, they came across some transplanted French winemakers with vineyards.  This surprise discovery sparked an idea that consequently became Gruet Winery (run by son & winemaker Laurent and daughter Nathalie). Gruet winery is now firmly established in New Mexico, producing classic European wines that are sold throughout the "Lower 48".  (I have seen Gruet on the shelf at the Belfast, Maine Co-op Store). 

Gruet Blanc de Noirs is a gentle 12% ETOH blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay.  It's a classic Champagne sparkling wine.  Nice and toasty, with an effervescence that lasts but isn't too constrained.  The yeastiness is delicious and it has a creamy finish without being overpowering. 

This Blanc de Noirs is a subtle wine that worked really well with our patio "nibblies":  Cajun Peanuts, Truffled Mortadella, chunks of Parmesean, with slices of fresh, crusty French bread as a delivery system for pâté and JPH's homemade pork Rillette (quick thawed from the freezer).  Cheese sticks, sea salt bread sticks and homemade guacamole with tortilla chips rounded out the menu.  This was an impromptu night on the patio.  With an hour's notice, JPH ran out to shop and we were able to cobble together a feast.  What made all of these "nibblies" a feast?  Good, inexpensive, classic French sparkling wine from the American Southwest.

Another Southwestern treasure that S. & JPH have introduced me to:  Ed Samules, an artist that makes his home and studio near Santa Fe.  This canvas called "Distant Rain" now resides in the living room here in New York.  It is daily reminder of the colors, vibrancy and landscape of New Mexico.

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