California and New Mexico can always deliver the goods when it comes to sparkling wine at a fair price. Exhibit No. 1: this week’s collection of newly released wines.
When you’re looking for value in bubbly, always think non-vintage (NV). The entry-level wine for most producers, “non-vintage” actually means the wine includes a range of vintages. One vintage—typically a three- or four-year-old wine—dominates, but producers blend in older wines to fill out weak spots and, more importantly, to maintain a house style.
Leading the pack this week is the Roederer Estate Brut Rosé NV, a rich and lively pink bubbly from Mendocino County. Roederer’s sister winery, Scharffenberger, offers two of the best value bubblies of the year with its NV Brut and Brut Rosé.
Gruet shines again this year with its Blanc de Noirs New Mexico NV, a crisp and focused sparkler. Its NV Blanc de Blancs and Brut Rosé are solid values at $14. Gruet, for the uninitiated, may be located in toasty New Mexico, but its vineyards are located at a brisk 4,300 feet up.
GRUET Blanc de Noirs New Mexico NV Score: 90 | $14
Elegant and focused, with creamy vanilla and apple aromas and rich yet crisp flavors of baked pear and cinnamon bread. Drink now through 2014. 20,000 cases made. —T.F.