March 6th 2017
One always looks forward to the latest release from a venerable Champagne house and in Dom Ruinart, one finds a house that has been perfecting its art for nearly three hundred years. Since 1729 when Nicolas Ruinart’s ledger recorded the first sale of ‘vin de bulles’ to the most recent vintages, the house has pursued an unwavering dedication to producing the very best champagne.
So whilst the hour (09.30hrs) might have been construed as challenging for a champagne tasting, it was with great anticipation that we were ushered into one of Moet Hennessey’s fine reception rooms to taste the latest releases: 2006 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and 2004 Dom Ruinart Rosé with chef de caves, an ebullient Frédéric Panaiotis.
2006 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc
Limpid, pale straw in appearance, the light picks out hints of silvery green in the glass. The nose, at first reticent, requires some coaxing, the taught house style evident but then it unfolds fresh cut green apple, white peach and nectarine, notes of tangerine zest and hint of flint strike. The palate displays an extraordinary intensity, the citrus components competing for attention with broader brioche notes. The finish is long, complex and very satisfying. It is quite literally mouth-watering and without question another Dom Ruinart destined for greatness. Drink 2017 – 2027
2004 Dom Ruinart Rosé
Based on the 2004 Blanc de Blanc, the 2004 Dom Ruinart Rosé takes all the key notes of that great wine to another level. A deep, salmon pink, the light reflecting burnished copper in the glass. On the nose notes of wild strawberry, blood orange and pink grapefruit with the merest hint of spicy, white pepper. On the palate the ripe citrus notes are crystalline pure, the low dosage (4g/ltr) contributing a deep set zesty, minerality. Beyond that, the red fruits of the grand cru Pinot Noir provide density and structure that suggest this wine has many years ahead of it. The finish is long, precise and lasts for well over a minute. Drink 2018 – 2028
In the interests of context, we were treated to the 2002 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and 1998 Dom Ruinart Rosé, the latter from magnum. The former displayed a more honeyed richness than its younger sibling, though the citrus/white fruit profile was still very evident. The extra ageing adding weight whilst the wine retained its impeccable balance. The 1998 Rosé was, for me, the wine of the morning. Approaching its twentieth anniversary, the wine has coalesced into a perfectly balanced compote of fleshy red fruits, a buttery richness redolent of an early morning bakery, effortlessly carried on the shoulders of the smoky Pinot fruit.
A reminder of the extraordinary heights these wines can attain and, as it happens, an effective antidote to a mizzly, late morning in London.