Wine: Gruet Chardonnay
Region: Truth or Consequences, N.M.
In the glass: Gruet Chardonnay is a light citrine-yellow color with slight hints of a greenish streak from the clean, clear core going out to a faint, almost glass-clear rim definition with medium viscosity.
On the nose: There is classic apple and pear juice, flinty minerals and crushed apricot pits at first, then lightly buttered dough, white currants and peach flesh with underlying hints of weiss-beer foam and white flowers.
On the palate: There is a nicely rounded fruit-inspired rush in the mouth, but then the acidity kicks in and starts the salivating glands with robust white fruit, apple cobbler and cucumber juice going into the midpalate, where you find serious classic pitch and minerality akin to wines made in the Meursault area of Burgundy, France. It finishes powerfully with bone-dry and quite chalky crushed stonelike white fruit and citrus zest.
Odds and ends: The French Gruet family from Champagne found success in New Mexico in the mid-’80s. The vineyards are at 4,300 feet, which makes them among the highest altitude plantings in the country. It is much more classic and impressive than California chardonnays at several times the price, so this is a bargain. Enjoy Gruet Chardonnay through 2010, and try it with a light chicken Caesar salad, which is a perfect match for the season.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.