New Mexico represents some of the most exciting and successful high-elevation vineyards in the country—many of their best are above 4,000 feet.
New Mexico’s modern wine industry is based on traditional European varieties and claims over 30 successful wineries throughout the state. In fact, New Mexico and Texas were the first US states to produce wine from the Vitis vinifera species, beginning around 1626. They made wine with the Mission grape, which was also prolific among California missionaries.
Today New Mexico produces good reds, whites and can attest to the value of high elevation vineyards, especially with the success of its sparkling wines. In fact the New Mexico sparkling wine producer, Gruet, boasts some of the strongest nationwide distribution among smaller-producing states.
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A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.