Gruet, American (United States) “Sauvage” Sparkling Wine NV

($20):  Consumers are invariably surprised when they are told that this “Champagne” is from New Mexico.  To Gruet’s credit, in addition to stunningly good wines, they label them Sparkling Wine, not Champagne.  This one, a Blanc de Blancs, which means they used only Chardonnay, is also labeled “zero dosage,” which means no sugar was added just prior to bottling.  An alternative description is Extra-Brut because the wine is drier than a Brut bottling, which typically has a small amount of sugar added after the yeast have been removed. With no sugar to hide tiny defects, the wine that goes into a bottle labeled zero dosage must be the highest quality.  The firm, almost austere, aspect of Extra Brut bottlings is not for everyone.  But Gruet’s pulls it off beautifully because the inherent boost of fruitiness from New World-grown Chardonnay provides ideal balance to the firm, almost refreshingly bitter, finish.  With unusual power for a Blanc de Blancs, Gruet’s makes an excellent choice for charcuterie, patés, and other robust appetizers or first courses. 93 Michael Apstein Nov 14, 2017