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Trenchcoat-Clad Figure Exhorts Passers-By “Bubbles Ain’t Free, Pal, But I Can Cut You One Heck of a Deal”

Posted by on February 15, 2012

This month’s theme for Wine Blogging Wednesday is value sparkling wines (i.e., wines with bubbles that cost less than $25).  I’m a fan of sparkling wines, so I knew I wanted to participate in this one.  As a VA wine lover and local wine advocate, you might expect that I’d talk about a local bottle of bubbly.  The going price point for most sparkling wines in Virginia seems to be $30, so that takes them out of this value category.  One exception is the Virginia Fizz from Thibaut-Jannison Winery.  I’ve blogged about this wine in the past, it came in tops in our VA blogger sparkling wine tasting last year, and it typically retails for between $22 and $28, so it does qualify.  While I really like this wine – and all of Claude Thibaut’s offerings – I don’t really consider $25 a budget wine.

When I’m looking for a solid, budget-friendly sparkler, I turn to New Mexico (yes, you read that correctly) and Gruet Winery.  My favorite Gruet offering is their non-vintage blanc de noirs, but they also offer a brut made from just chardonnay that’s really popular.  Both of these wines retail in my area for between $12 and $18 depending on the store and the season (e.g., sales around New Year’s Eve), so these are what I consider my budget bubbles.  In fact, given my particular preferences for dry, yeasty sparkling wines, I’d go so far as to say these are the best value for money I’ve found.

Given this, we decided to remove the cage and pop the cork on a bottle of the Gruet Brut and share our impressions with you.  After all, like me, you may not associate New Mexico with wine, but given this wine, maybe you should.  We also figured it was a good way to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a very busy for both of us Tuesday.

Dinner was a red curry braised tofu and veggie dish that, while yummy, wasn’t really intended to pair with any wine.  The bubbles were fine with it, but I appreciated this wine much more on its own.  The nose offered tons of green apple and yeast notes.  On teh palate, I got a lot more citrus, mostly lemon, along with some apple and toasted bread.

This isn’t the most complex bottle of sparkling wine I’ve ever had, and I still do prefer the blanc de noirs, but this wine is consistent and enjoyable.  At this price, there’s nothing to complain about.  If you’ve yet to check out a Gruet offering, do so soon – I doubt you’ll regret it.

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The Trenchcoat-Clad Figure Exhorts Passers-By “Bubbles Ain’t Free, Pal, But I Can Cut You One Heck of a Deal” by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

7 Responses to Trenchcoat-Clad Figure Exhorts Passers-By “Bubbles Ain’t Free, Pal, But I Can Cut You One Heck of a Deal”

  1. Tim Elliott

    Thanks for joining us this month! Gruet is a reliable value from my experience, too. Cheers.

  2. MEL810

    I had the Gruet for NY’s Eve and it was excellent; nice and yeasty with a bit of apple/citrus notes. It only cost $13.99 at my local Kroger.
    And I can’t diss New Mexico. My mother was born there.

  3. MEL810

    Oh, I might add: I got the Gruet on y’all’s advice! Thanks!
    This NY’s the VA bubblies were a bit of of my budgetary range.

  4. Jordan Harris

    I will start by saying I will never understand how Gruet is produced for the price it is sold for. Sometimes I guess I don’t want to second guess. It is some great bubbles at a super cheap (not just bagain) price.

    As for value bubbles being under $25.00, tough call. While yes there are some great expressions of good sparkling wine in this price range, sparkling needs to be addressed differently then regular table wine. To ever try wines with extended lees contact they will be more expensive. most great sparklings need extended lees contact which is no longer the norm. Most sub-$25.00 bottles are fruit driven and fresh which is great, but they miss the boat on so much of what sparkling was originally meant to be. I am not saying anyone needs to spend hundreds of dollars on the Salon’s or Krug’s of the world, but there are some incredible Grower Champagnes and yes the Thibault-Janissens wines that are awesome values in the $30-50 price range.

  5. VAWineDiva

    Mel – I’m glad we were able to help you find a bottle that fit your price range.

    Jordan – I definitely appreciate grower champagnes (so called “farmer fizz”) and have no trouble spending $30-$50 for a bottle of sparkling wine. That said, I don’t think of them as budget bottles and don’t keep a ton of those wines on hand. Of course, I’m as likely to open a $50 bottle as a $12 bottle on most nights. Once I’ve bought it, it’s all fair game unless it’s being saved for a particular food paring or to be enjoyed with a particular group of people. At the same time, it is good to know that there are wallet friendly options out there that taste good – and as for the Gruet price point…like you, I prefer not to ask too many questions.

  6. MEL810

    VWD, Once again, you have got to get over to your home winery and quaff that fresh baked bread in a bottle they were offering at Old House. If I remember correctly, it was $25.00.
    That bubbly had the nose of a bakery.

  7. VAWineDiva

    We did make it out there and got a taste – GEG is planning to write it up for either this week or next…

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