The Wine Curmudgeon missed this last fall, which was quite a faux pas given how much I care about regional wine. New Mexico's Gruet Winery was named the best U.S. wine producer in 2010 in the quite prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition. Pretty impressive for a regional winery, no?
So what better way to mark the third annual DrinkLocalWine.com conference this weekend in St. Louis than with one of my all-time favorites, Gruet's rose sparkling wine? How a family of expatriate French can make such terrific bubbly in New Mexico, using pinot noir and chardonnay that they grow, is beyond me. I'm just glad they're able to do it.
The rose ($14, purchased) has a firm acidic backbone, as quality sparkling wine should, and is balanced by softer berry fruit (strawberry?). Meanwhile, there is just enough caramel, another sign of well-made bubbly, to show that the Gruets know what they are doing. Drink this chilled on its own or with any kind of spring dinner, salad or picnic. And if you have any cold fried chicken around, it would do quite nicely.