Launch of the 2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de blanc

Jul 10, 14 Launch of the 2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de blanc

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Champagne just seems to be coming out of my ears at the moment (not a bad thing in my opinion). Earlier this week I attended an informal tasting with Frederic Panaiotis, cellar master of the house. It was the first tasting of the 2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de blanc in the UK so we all felt very priviledged. Fred came bounding into the room, slightly wet as he had walked from his hotel to meet us at the offices of LVMH. While we had been waiting for Fred, we had sipped on Ruinart’s NV Blanc de blanc, which is always a light and delightful champagne. It is one of my favourites. Once Fred had a glass of the 2004 in his hand, he told us a bit about Ruinart’s champagne making philosophy. He compared the NV Blanc de blanc as a wine of teamwork – he and his team make the champagne. The Dom Ruinart Blanc de blanc however, is a champagne that is made by nature. Fred remarked that it is the easiest but also the scariest as it is a true expression of the vintage. It is really the year that drives the champagne. The grapes used all come from Grand Cru vineyards which means grapes of a much better quality. As we tasted the 2004, Fred described it as a wine still evolving, changing developing every day. Fred joked that he’s lucky enough to be able to try it most days. Lucky him! As for me, I thought the 2004 was quite a substantial champagne, full of toasty, bready notes, quite vibrant on the palate with a long finish. I think this vintage has quite a bit of life to go and will be interesting to see how it develops.   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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250th anniversary of Ruinart Rose

Mar 07, 14 250th anniversary of Ruinart Rose

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Did you know that Ruinart were the first champagne house to ship rosé champagne back in 1764? That fact was only recently discovered by the house when the was doing a bit of research into their archives. Although Veuve Clicquot was the first to do an assemblage rosé back in 1880, Ruinart was the first to ship a rosé champagne in 1764. According to the House accounts books, on March 14th 1764 a shipment of ‘120 bottles, 60 of which were Oeil de Perdrix’ was sent off to the Baron de Welzel as well as to the Austrian Empress Marie-Thérèse. ‘Oeil de Perdrix’ refers to the colour of the eye of a dead Partridge. After the bird has been shot, its eyes take on a delicate pink coppery colour which perfectly describes the colour of Ruinart brut rosé. Throughout the years, the French had various terms to describe a rosé, roset, oeil de perdrix, rozet, paille, clairet and cerise. However, by the end of the 18th century, oeil de perdrix had disappeared and was replaced by rozet and finally with rosé. This year is the 250th anniversary of that first shipment of ‘Oeil de Perdrix’ and Ruinart has a variety of activities planned to mark the occasion. One of the first was the debut of edible pearls at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden this past February. The pearls are soft, slippery beads, reminiscent of the texture of caviar, that are filled with either a rose or raspberry gel, not too sweet, which complements the rosé. The edible pearls will be available at select venues with the purchase of a glass of Ruinart rose. Something different that’s for sure. It’s nice to see the Champagne Houses continually striving to expand and enhance the champagne drinking experience.     Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Ruinart and art, Masterpiece Art Fair

Jul 03, 13 Ruinart and art, Masterpiece Art Fair

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Masterpiece Art Fair was this past week and I was invited to a unique art and champagne matching tour of the event by the champagne house Ruinart. Masterpiece Art Fair is an annual event that takes place on the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Every year they erect a temporary art gallery where you can find everything from Greek Sculptures to Maserati cars on display, all for sale. It’s nice to see how the other half lives now and then. Ruinart is one of the sponsors and holds masterclasses on their champagnes throughout the show. This year they decided to do something a big different and invited a group of journalists and writers to a blind tasting with a twist. We were to go on a tour of the show and stop and selected pieces of art where we would be given a short lecture and then a Ruinart champagne that was selected to accompany it. It was a bit like the whole matching wine with music exercise. As a matter of fact, we did have some music as well thrown into the tour! We visited 6 artworks and at each were given a black tasting glass with the Ruinart to match. It was fun to try and match the champagne with the mood of the art while we were viewing it. As it was blind, it was hard to pick out which vintage or even blend we were tasting but it was fun to put down our observations, drinking in the art and the champagne at the same time. What came as a surprise was that after the tour, we went back and sat down to find out what champagnes we had been drinking. Turns out, they had all been the Ruinart blanc de blanc in various bottle sizes! I had guessed the first one was a blanc de blanc but after that my guesses were all over the place. Afterwards, we had a chat with Gerard Basset OBE, who had organised...

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Ruinart 2002 lunch

This week marked the beginning of Spring and I am so ready to say goodbye to winter! What better way to celebrate then with  the launch of the Dom Ruinart 2002. Oh, yeah! Ruinart have a very distinctive bottle shape and it’s easy to spot one across a crowded room. I am a sucker for design but what’s in the bottle is just as distinctively designed. One of the qualities I most admire about champagne is the concept of assemblage.  Having spent a fair amount of time around vineyards both in Champagne and in other wine producing regions, I think that to blend champagne must be one of the most difficult things to do (no disrespect to other wine makers as I know how hard producers work to coax wine from the vine).  The cellar master uses base wines (which are thin and acidic forerunners of the wine to come) from various vintages and is able to foresee how that wine is going to transform into champagne after going through not one but two fermentations and then spending a minimum of 3yrs in a cold dark cellar laying on a sediment of dead yeast cells. Incredible and yet, the Champenois manage to produce their amazing champagnes year in and year out. Ruinart Chef de Cave Frederic Panaiotis pointed out that for Ruinart, the quality they most desire is a refined timelessness and elegance while at the same time not becoming a boring champagne which never changes with the vintages. He said that when they work on blending the wine they pay particular attention to the mouthfeel, weight and softness in the mouth while at the same time ensuring that they are making a lively and flexible champagne. He likened their champagne to alpaca wool, instant luxury and quality combined which, although you don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate, does help. The complexity and depth of the champagne is a pleasure for experts but it also has an immediate appeal and he says...

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Ruinart Interpretation lunch

Apr 20, 11 Ruinart Interpretation lunch

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It’s a funny thing but now I’ve started to smell my food before I eat it. Granted, I don’t smell all my food but anytime I encounter a new dish or perhaps a new ingredient, I take a second before putting it into my mouth to think about it. I’ll take a deep whiff of it and  try and commit it to memory. It might seem a funny thing to do but it’s a habit that’s crossed over from my wine tasting duties. I’m probably not the only one who does that in the wine trade and it’s something that I find myself doing more and more. I went to a lunch the other day with the cellar master of the champagne house Ruinart, Frédéric Panaïotis who, although he didn’t mention he sniffed his food before eating it, is a man who very much lives by his nose. It’s up to Frederic to chose the wines that go into making the Ruinart champagnes and a big part of that, besides the taste, is the aromas of the wine. Frederic loves the aromas of his wines and he wanted to convey the exciting aromatic bouquet not only to connoisseurs but also the everyday champagne drinker. How to do that? What better way to explore the aromas of a wine then with a professional of the olfactory senses? Frederic teamed up with the internationally renowned aroma and flavour experts of International Flavours and Fragrances to pinpoint the aromas that make up Ruinart’s emblamatic cuvee, the blanc de blanc. Anne Flipo of IFF and Frederic got down to analyzing the aromas and came up with 8 distinct fragrances that make up the blanc de blanc. Ruinart wanted to share this experience with the world and developed the Ruinart Interpretation giftbox. The giftbox comprises 8 small bottles of one particular fragrance that is a component of the champagne. Our task before lunch was to sniff all 8 aromas individually (we dipped strips of paper into the bottles) and...

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