Vara releases two new sparkling wines - Albuquerque Journal

Vara releases two new sparkling wines

Vara Winery & Distillery’s sparkling winemaker, Laurent Gruet, has released two new sparkling wines. (Courtesy of Vara Winery & Distillery)

Effervescent selections created by renowned vintner Laurent Gruet are some of Vara Winery & Distillery’s new offerings.

Gruet, who joined the Vara team in December 2020 as partner and sparkling winemaker, has released Silverhead Brut NV and Silverhead Brut Rosado NV.

“Coming from Champagne, France, and making sparkling wine all my life, I believe in producing traditional method wines that are of the quality of Champagne,” Gruet stated in a news release. “The Silverhead Brut and Silverhead Brut Rosado exemplify what I prioritize in sparkling wines – high acidity and striking purity of fruit.”

The Silverhead Brut NV (Non-Vintage) is 72% chardonnay and 3% syrah from Ancient Lakes AVA (American Viticulture Area) of Washington state, and 25% xarel-lo/macabeo, from the Alt Penedès DO (denominación de origin) of Spain. The Silverhead Brut Rosado NV is 75% syrah and 25% chardonnay from the Ancient Lakes AVA of Washington. Both wines are produced in the classic Método Tradicional style, according to the release.

The Silverhead Brut and Silverhead Brut Rosado are available in the Vara tasting room, 315 Alameda Blvd. NE, as well as for purchase at varawines.com

Gruet has over 40 sparkling wine harvests under his belt. He is “creatively confounding expectations and traditional rules” to produce sparkling wines by blending grapes from Spain,Washington and California to create truly exceptional cuvées.

“At Vara, the sky’s the limit and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Spanish varieties for the first time to create the absolute best wine possible,” Gruet said in the news release.

Developing a good rapport with growers is crucial to producing great wine.

“The key to success in sourcing and blending high-quality grapes such as xarel-lo and macabeo from Spain and chardonnay from the United States is having incredibly strong relationships with growers,” according to Gruet. “We have nurtured relationships over many years with our growers in New Mexico, California, Washington and Spain, and they understand exactly what we want. Farming practices throughout the season, the timing of harvest and gentle hand-picking are crucial when producing sparkling wines that are as close to perfect as possible.”

Vara is inspired by the wine history in New Mexico, which started in 1629. The production of American wine began with Spanish missionaries who came through New Mexico heading to California.

“Vara wines are sourced from all three places and intentionally blended to create beyond standard cuvées using innovative techniques,” according to the news release. “… The goal at Vara is to embrace diversity and make wines and spirits that are delicious and greater than the sum of their parts.”

Wines, brandy, gin and rum are created by the Vara team comprised of sparkling winemaker Laurent Gruet; still winemakers Bob Lindquist and Louisa Sawyer Lindquist; head distiller Scott Feuille; and assistant winemaker and distiller Djuna Benjamin. Its wine and spirits are made at its full production facility on Alameda Boulevard NE. Soon Vara wines and spirits will also be available at its new tasting room Vara Vinoteca in Santa Fe. It is tentatively scheduled to open in late-October 2022.

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