'Tasted: American Sparkling Wine'

Wines of Note: Our 150th Post

Before We became so focused on Our United Slurps of America project, Our wine consumption was roughly 50% France, 45% California and 5% everywhere else. Over the past few weeks, France and California have been replaced with places like Kentucky and Iowa. While We have mostly enjoyed the wines We have tasted from these lesser known wine-producing states, We are both thirsty for Our go-tos.

While grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, She picked up several bottles of wine and some whiskey, vodka, and gin. The check-out chick asked Her if She was having a party or just stocking up. The question confused Her, as the answer was neither.

After having the Gruet for our NM post, We were curious to taste a California counterpart. Having lived in Yountville for years, She has consumed copious quantities of the local sparkler, Domaine Chandon, so We chose a Sonoma bubbly. And, oh to have some red Bordeaux…

Sonoma Brut, Gloria Ferrer NV ($19)

She said: Pale translucent yellow with fine bubbles. On the nose: yeast, golden delicious apples, hint of vanilla, hazelnuts. Has flavors of Granny Smith apple, lemon, pear, and a hint of lychee. The finish is long and creamy, like lemon curd. No overwhelming sensations of yeast or toast in the finish, but rather clean and citrusy fresh. Lovely and light, like a Spring day.

He said: Little bubbles give way to scents of Apple, pear and white grapes. Crisp, getting flavors of raisin. Long, tongue-numbing finish. Still not the best at articulating my sparkling wine notes. I’m able to note if I love or hate a Champagne or sparkling wine, and this one for me is neither of us. It’s a just-fine, drinkable bottle.

Médoc, Grand Vin de Bordeaux, Château Meric 2007 ($10)

She said: Very opaque purple garnet color. On the nose a hint of eucalyptus, tar, mushroom, and sour blackberries. The wine tastes very fresh and has obvious but unobtrusive acid. Fresh berries, licorice, long finish with vanilla, soft tannin, cassis. There is a slight sharpness that lingers in the mouth (burnt wood?) but other than this an elegant wine. Would be excellent with grilled meats. A terrific bargain and a very worthy everyday-whenever-right now table wine.

He said: Very dark and purpley. On the nose there is vanilla, cherry, toast, blackberry, maybe some butter and floral (almost soapy) notes. Light tannins and a creamy vanilla-tinged feel and taste in the mouth. Not a super heavy or full wine, but hints of fruit with a little too much heat in the finish. Yeah, it has a strange finish. Despite the finish, this is a very nice wine for 10 bucks.

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United Slurps of America: New Mexico

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? For 50 weeks We will do just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America. Week eight: it’s the land of enchantment, New Mexico.

Our search for a local co-blogger was more difficult than We anticipated. We put the word out on Twitter and Facebook:

We got a response from our Facebook “fan” Peg Lawrence. (Although the powers that be at Facebook just changed fans to “like”…well, We liked it better when they were fans–but happy to have people follow Us on Facebook either way.Thank you!) Peg lives in Texas, not New Mexico, but went to high school there. Close enough. Tex-Mex, err, Tex-NewMex. New Texican. Either way, we are very happy to have Peg along:

“I have a lot of fine memories in the “Land of Enchantment” having gone to high school there, my mother, stepdad, and grandmother moved back there, and also visiting frequently as it is my sales territory. My brother also lived there on 2 different stints so I thought since we share a food and wine blog, and that history, who better to do this with me than him. So to prepare for the tasting we talked about all things New Mexico as we knew or remembered them…I think now after all this reminiscing we are ready to open our sparklers.”

Note to New Mexicans who like wine: Start a wine blog, there’s a hole in the market.

Brut Methode Champenoise, Gruet NV ($14.99)

She said: On the nose the wine smells like fresh baked bread and mild yeast, similar to a light beer or pear cider. The bubbles are not obtrusively large, but not fine either. Citrus flavors, vanilla, mellow allspice, baked apple. Wish the sparkler was fresher and had more finesse, but enjoy the pear cider, pineapple elements. Also sense lychee syrup–there is a definite sweetness, reminiscent of Prosecco. A fine, casual wine to enjoy with friends as an aperitif to dinner or by the pool on a beautiful spring day.

He said: Even though I feel like I have tasted plenty of Champagne/sparkling Wine, it’s difficult for me to articulate. This one is so crisp that it’s hard for me to say much more than that. There is apple fritter in both the nose and mouth along with bread. Smells and tastes like a French Bakery, a boulangerie up in my domepiece. How do you like that? Getting both French and hip-hop languages in a wine review. I’m a highly cultured gentleman. Umm, yeasty, dry, hints of tropical fruit. I really dig it.

Peg said: Brilliant tiny, fine little bubbles, aromas of citrus and green apple bloom up on the nose. There is a faint mild buttery crust/toast, creamy taste with an extended pleasurable finish of citrus and apple that wraps around the mouth, very nice. This would be a great one to have on hand for the every event! Dale said: This one had a nice balanced flavor, and although I do not normally like Champagnes or sparkling wines, this had an enjoyable taste. The taste was balanced with hints of a citrus and green apple taste, but not overwhelming. The flavors swirled around the entire mouth and was filled with tiny bubbles.

Brut Rosé Methode Champenoise, Gruet NV ($14.99)

She said: The color is deep strawberry and smoked salmon pink with largish bubbles. The nose is much more mild and restrained than the Brut. Thinking We probably should have tasted this one first. On the nose: citrus, strawberry, green pear. The wine is fresh and lively with a nice crisp, Granny Smith apple finish. Prefer this one over the Brut for its zest and zing. Imagine it would go quite well with a variety of foods, given the acid and crispness. Very nice.

He said: In my memory, which does seem to scale inversely with age, I have never had a sparkling rosé. Consistently bubbling beautiful pink color with strawberry and apple on the nose. In the mouth it is crisp with quite a bit and flavors of sour apple. The next afternoon garden party We host I will recommend We serve this. Very, very nice. I am not likely to forget this one. 

Peg said: Great color with a bright nose, blooming with a strawberry and cream and wildflowers scent. In the mouth it is dry with crisp cherry, strawberry and green apple. Starts out fruity and finishes tart, but still very good and zesty. Would suggest this one would be more suitable for drinking with cheese and possibly a smoked salmon. Dale said: Nice strawberry color with a fruity aroma. Initially, it hit the palate with hints of green apple and cherry like flavors, then becomes like a tart cranberry like finish. I tested it with a few medium to sharp cheeses and it blended well.

8 down, 42 to go…


Peg said: I had done a show at the Gruet tasting room in Albuquerque years ago but did not get to partake of the wines, so I thank Swirl Smell Slurp for giving us the opportunity. You can find further musings from my brother and I at Foodie Fitness. New Mexico is a beautiful state, if you haven’t driven around in it you should. The places I would suggest you try and see to name a few would be Santa Fe, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Ruidoso, Sandia Mountains. While in Albuquerque I have had some great meals at Garduno’s, Dion’s, Blake’s and if you’re flying through the best chicken and green chile soup and breakfast burritos bigger than your head are at Comida Buena at Albuquerque International airport. You just can’t be in New Mexico without trying the green chile, it’s a food staple! And the last place I have yet to mention is Roswell, UFO Mecca. I never saw a UFO there but having driven at night across the state is a little eerie what with the ghosts of Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, and countless other native lore said to be roaming in various towns and in the desert.

We said: Like Peg, We too, had a great time driving through the state of New Mexico. On Our month-long trip through the Southwest earlier this year, We had the delight of driving both the northern and southern routes of the state. We stopped at Gruet Winery, though we only used their restroom and didn’t taste any wine. Later, in the incredible city of Santa Fe We enjoyed a Gruet chardonnay with dinner at Cafe Pasqual’s. We visited Billy the Kid’s grave. We soaked, nakedly (and maybe even had sex, shh!) in the mineral waters in the very strange town of Truth or Consequences. We even took a 5 hour detour to drive through the snow-capped mountains. We loved every minute of it.

A big thanks to Peg and Dale for joining us in our New Mexico tasting, and to Facebook for facilitating this collaboration. Feel free to sell our profile information to anyone you please, you cute little corporate giant, you.

Previously on USA: Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington

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