"When we said we wanted to make a great sparkling wine in Albuquerque, the experts thought we might be crazy," says Laurent Gruet, president of Gruet Winery and scion of a Champagne-making family from France. "But we chose New Mexico because of its climate and altitude."
The winery's Pinot Noir grapes are grown on 180 acres near Elephant Butte, about 160 miles south, and then brought to the city for the winemaking process. While his stone castle-like winery may look a bit incongruous beside busy Interstate 25, the traditional pouring room makes an excellent starting point for a day of in-town wine tastings.
DRINKCelebrate at Gruet.
What: Savor méthode champenoise sparkling wines and fruity Pinot Noir. When: 10-5 Mon-Fri, noon-5 Sat. How much: $5 tasting fee. Where: 8400 Pan American Fwy. N.E. (I-25); www.gruetwinery.com or 505/821-0055.