This is a good year for Ruinart fans, as the champagne house is launching not one, but two new Dom Ruinart vintages: the Blanc de Blancs 2006 and Rosé 2004.
At a preview tasting in London, Ruinart cellar master Frederic Panaiotis was in an ebullient mood. 'They spend so much time in the cellar, that it's really exciting when they get out,' he enthused.
Having joined the winery in 2007, neither of these wines were made on his watch, but both are excellent. 'Dom Ruinart is the easiest wine to make,' Panaiotis shared. 'You only make it in the best years, and then you're only using 2% of the wine. So you've got to do something really wrong to make a bad wine.
'The Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is made in the same way as Ruinart's Blanc de Blancs NV – in stainless steel, full malolactic fermentation, no oak. It's merely a selection of Grand Crus grapes, which requires more time in the cellar [than the non-vintage Blanc de Blancs].'
This latest release is a textured, structured wine full of fleshy fruit – melons and peaches specifically, with a crumble topping and an almost saline or briny character underpinning it before a green hint comes in at the end. It's good to drink now, or can be laid down for a few years.
The forthcoming Dom Ruinart Rosé 2004 – due to be released in a few months – was made using 81% Grand Cru Chardonnay and 19% Pinot Noir made into red wine.
The salmon-pink wine opens with a juicy clementine note edged with some spicy yellow capsicum, a hint of potpourri and a touch of grapefruit bitterness on the finish. With a light tannic grip, it shares the same pleasing savoury character as the Blanc de Blancs. While it's drinking well now, it will be interesting to see how it's developed in a few years' time.
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2006, RRP £140; Dom Ruinart Rosé 2004, RRP £200; Moët Hennessy UK, 020 7808 4400