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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Chateau Margaux gets experimental

Mar 09, 12 Chateau Margaux gets experimental

Posted by in Biodynamic wine, France

If you are one of the 5 First Growths of Bordeaux (Ch. Margaux, Ch. Lafite Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Haut-Brion and lastly, Ch. Mouton Rothschild), you might think you could rest on your laurels, not give a fig for any new fangled advancements and just continue to produce wine the way it’s always been done. I mean, the first classification was done in 1855 and only one chateau has been added since then (Mouton Rothschild), and that was back in the 1970’s. You could do that but if you’re Chateau Margaux you won’t or rather, you don’t. That’s not to say the others are not also innovating but Ch. Margaux is the first to go public with their experimental findings.  Paul Pontallier, Managing Director and winemaker of Ch. Margaux was in town recently to give us a sneak peek into the inner workings of Ch. Margaux and how they are striving to maintain their reputation as one of the best wines of Bordeaux. He wants the world to know that Margaux is a forward thinking chateau and that they are looking to the wine business of the future, and the younger generation that will not only carry on the traditions but also build upon and improve what has gone before them. According to Paul, there is a plenty of experimentation and research going on in Bordeaux. He stressed however, that they themselves are not making anything new but rather in an organized way, they started these experiments because he does envisage change at some point in the future and his goal is to make the best possible wine and remain the best possible wine now and for future generations. So what are they up to? Pulling back the curtain of the great and mighty Oz (as in Wizard, not Clarke) we find, biodynamic wine! Let me explain first that the wines we tasted are not the ones that go into the first growth but are distinct plots that they are using on the estate...

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