Why hello, mini-bottle of celebration! Great for a party of two (or one…I don’t judge), with all the fancy flavors but no fancy price tag. Cheers to Gruet’s Blanc de Noirs half bottle!

About the Wine: The Gruet family established a successful, traditional line of Champagne in the motherland of France in the 1950s. In the 1980s, they purchased vineyards in the heart of New Mexico ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and producing American-style sparkling wines. This is still a family-owned and run business.

Blanc de Noirs, for those who may not know, is a sparkling white wine made from Pinot Noir grapes. Because it’s made from a traditionally red wine varietal, one will definitely get the essence of an elegant Pinot Noir when drinking this style of sparkling wine. This particular bottle is 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 12% ABV

Flavor Profile: The color of this wine is definitely a shade darker than a pure Blanc de Blanc (made with white wine — Gruet makes theirs with 100% Chardonnay). However, I wouldn’t say that it’s pink or blush by any account, just a firm champagne-yellow. On the nose, the wine emits beautiful bright berries (think white raspberries, cherries), and even subtle hints of soft stone fruits (like nectarine or apricot). What I like about Blanc de Noirs, especially this one, is that on the palate it’s actually off-dry. The fruit and berry notes are certainly there, and linger on the tongue just enough to make you take another sip — but the wine itself is not cloyingly sweet by any means. Perhaps they’ve left some tannins for the tongue to play with (I actually couldn’t find that information), or maybe it’s just the nature of the Pinot Noir grape, but this is a well-balanced sparkling wine that could easily be enjoyed on its own or paired with food.

Food Pairing: Because those fruit notes are stronger on the nose than on the palate, Gruet Blanc de Noirs could be paired with a beautiful fruit-based dessert that would bring out the hidden sweetness in the wine — if that’s what you want. If thinking of savory dishes, I would recommend a light fish dish, like sushi or oysters where the bubbles would play well with the natural sea salt and cut through the kind of chewy-meatiness. Of course, this would also go well with shellfish paired with a beurre blanc sauce, as (again) the dryness in the wine along with the bubbles would help break through the fat of the butter and saltiness of the lobster.

More Info: I purchased this half-bottle at Safeway (Sale Price: $14.99). For more information about the Gruet family and their wines, visit their website.


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