Changes Afoot in NM: Gruet/NoisyWater

Posted by: TomHill

Changes Afoot in NM: Gruet/NoisyWater - 05-27-2019 09:04:01

Some big changes afoot in the NM wine scene. No....my posts are not agonna come short/interesting or long/interesting. They'll always be boring. Goes w/ the poster.

NoisyWater Wnry, based in Ruidoso, NM (up in the Eastern Mtns of NM) has recently purchased the Gruet vnyds over in the high-desert of Engle, NM. Since farming a vnyd is a high-cost operation, I'm not surprised that Gruet has abandoned that part of their operation. When PreceptBrands bought out the Gruets about 4 yrs ago, they intended to triple the production of Gruet. No way would there be enough grapes in NM to do that feat. So they started bringing in juice/wine from Precept's home base of WashState. So now Gruet is only putting the bubbles in the wine down in Albq, NM. It is no longer a NM wine, all pretenses tossed aside. The front label says "Proudly Produced in NM" but on the back label, in tiny print, it says "American Sparkling Wine", reflective of its WashState origins. A bit deceptive, I would suggest. And the quality of their sparkling wine has decreased somewhat to my taste. But it is still a decent cheap sparkler...just not a NM wine.

NoisyWater is a wnry over in Rudiso (which translates as "noisy waters"). The owner/winemaker is one Jasper Riddle, whose credentials include running a T-Shirt shop in Rudioso. The wnry focuses on sweet & flavored wines and wines with cutsey names ("Tighty Whities" white, "Jo Mamma's Mango Tango", "Big Legs Red", "Unbearably Good"....loaded w/ berry/beary flavors). Those are mostly priced in the $20's. The "serious" wines (Chard/Aglianico/Montepulciano/PinotNoir/Malbec..) are all priced up in the $40-$50 price range, probably the most expensive wines made in NM. I tasted thru the complete range in their SantaFe tasting room about a yr ago. Most of the cheaper wines were waaaay too sweet to my taste. The "serious" wines were not very good, rather earthy & rustic & coarse, and overpriced by about a factor of two. Most of the wines are made from purchased grapes, mostly from Paola d'Andrea's vnyds down in Deming, an area too hot for growing premium wines. I gather the SF tasting room is doing fairly well...preying on the SF tourist trade I suppose.
So it will be interesting to what their Estate Pinot & Chard will be like. Probably the first NM wine to breech the $50/btl price range I suspect.

But there are some NM wines that are quite good. Vivac, up in Dixon, and Black Mesa, located in Velarde, both making wines from mostly Northern NM grapes, are easily the best. BlackMesa has recently hired a young lady, Kelsie Traynam, who has winemaking experience from around the World. I expect their quality to ratchet up more.
Tom