An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

Apr 22, 15 An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

“Champagne is best drunk between 9 am and 9 am the next day…” according to Ruinart Chef de Cave, Frédéric Panaïotis. I couldn’t agree more, which is how I found myself one Friday morning in Mayfair ready for a tasting of Ruinart’s rosés going  back to the 1980’s.

Chef de Cave, Frederic Panaiotis

Chef de Cave, Frederic Panaiotis

The morning was dedicated to an exploration of Ruinart’s rosés. According the tasting notes, …”Ruinart is recognised by many as a reference for Blanc de Blanc Champagne and the Rosé wines in its portfolio contain a high percentage of Chardonnay grapes.  Frédéric describes the Ruinart Rosé as “A harmonious blending of two grape varieties, that gives a silky generous feeling on the palate.  The Chardonnay provides exceptional aromatic freshness while the Pinot Noir offers intense colour and delicate red fruits with an unexpected hint of exotic fruits…”

I enjoy vertical tastings very much because it’s a chance to see how wines evolve and champagne is no different. We started with their NV rosé as a benchmark to see how the wines evolve over the years. This NV is full of berries and even has a few tropical notes to it. Fred noted that they are hoping to achieve an aromatic style of champagne, bursting with raspberry and strawberry. Fred says this is a rosé for jacuzzis, I’ll have to take his word for it!

roses in row, NV, 2002, 1998

roses in row, NV, 2002, 1998

As we went through the wines, we went from Dom Ruinart 2002, 1998, 1996, 1990 and finished off with the Dom Ruinart 1988. The 2002 was still vibrant and pale pink in colour, still very aromatic on the nose. It was when we got to the 1990’s that the rosés began to turn darker in hue, almost onion skin in colour. The champagnes were also spicer and full of candied fruits on the nose and palate.

By the time we go to the Dom Ruinart 1990, we were getting into Christmas pudding territory on the nose, with hints of dates, mushrooms and figs. This is definitely a food wine. Fred recommended this with Middle Eastern cuisine or even duck. Interestingly, the dosage was 10.5 gr/litre but it’s not apparent on the palate, this was a seriously savoury champagne.

We finished with the 1988 which surprisingly tasted much younger then the 1990. This is one of Fred’s favourite vintages, a ripe vintage but still very fresh coming out of the bottle. It only had 8 gr/ltr and was 80% Chardonnay. A gorgeous champagne, spicy on the nose and palate, less evolved then the 1990, a leaner wine showing that rosé champagnes can age very well.

2015-04-10 12.20.35An interesting  Friday morning and a great way to start the weekend. The Ruinart Brut Rosé, Dom Ruinart 2002, 1998 and 1996 are all currently available from fine wine merchants. As for the 1990 and the 1988, I suppose they are available on special order.


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