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A Mountain Top Tasting


Dominating the skyline east of Albuquerque are the Sandia Mountains. It is possible to take the Sandia Peak Tramway, recently the world’s second longest, up to the peak. The 15 minute ride takes one from 6,559 feet in elevation up to 10,378 feet. With temperatures averaging 20 F cooler than the city it is an ideal location to escape the summer’s heat for a wine tasting. While my record-breaking wine tasting occurred at 30,400 feet it was of a generic wine in cramped quarters. This time I tried a local wine in a relaxing, wooded setting.

I first drank the 2007 Gruet Pinot last summer and found it surprisingly good. Through my own ignorance I had not realized that Gruet Winery produced still wines. In my limited experience with New Mexican wine it is probably the best, most universally appealing wine I have tasted. If you are traveling to New Mexico it is certainly worth purchasing a bottle. You may find a selection of Gruet wines at local wine stores and Whole Foods Market. And if you are staying in Albuquerque you may visit the winery just north of downtown.

2007 Gruet Winery, Cuvee Gilbert Gruet, Pinot Noir, New Mexico – (375 mL) $13
The color was a light garnet rose. The light+ nose revealed dry aromas with a ripe, red fruit core. The light+ flavors are of dry cherry, dusty, mature notes, and wood box. There was a lipsticky finish followed by an aftertaste of ripe tannins which leave sweet spices on the lips and tongue. At its peak. ** Now-2013.

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