I applied for a job selling Ruinart in 1998. I think I got a second interview but blew it. Thinking about the lifestyle of the man who currently sells me Ruinart I think I should have tried harder, maybe.
For a taste of what Ruinart is all about then the NV Blanc de Blancs is very hard to beat. Rather good kit, and all about delicacy. The daddy of the range is Dom Ruinart, the 2004 vintage of which is the latest release and the point of this tasting.
Wine merchants are always looking for the easy sell, and the easy Champagne sell is the 2002 vintage. Though the more I taste 2004s, the more I like them. They’re a bit edgier than the 2002s and isn’t Champagne more about edge than sodastream Meursault?
So: a spot of Dom Ruinart:
2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
“Creamy mousse. Very pale. A touch of green. Very gentle bubbles. Very citrussy on the nose followed by a touch of biscuit. Very inviting, and there is both depth and precision here. Disgorged a year ago; there is a second batch disgorged more recently. Creamy in mouth, where the mousse initially explodes then settles down into something more delicate. Very racy and very lacey. The detail is fine. Silk petticoats. And as tight as a drum. Steely. And long. This is wound up very tight… … coming back to it there is much more here. A touch of smoke – not quite struck match. Lots of restrained, smoky fruit. Very elegant, very classy. And a touch of salty spice at the end. Real mouthfeel.”
Which I reckon translates to 96+ or 97.
2002 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
“A tad darker and seemingly bigger bubbles. More punch on the nose here: more forward, more open. Something citrussy and this is positively grapey. Vinous. Some toast coming out. And punchier and more muscular in the mouth with a steely edge coming through in the finish. Bigger and more of a crowd pleaser. A touch Burgundian at the end.”
Which comes in at about the same, I think. It’s about liking skinny women or plump women (or – fair enough – men).
1993 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
“Some development in terms of colour but this is by no means dark. And some bread and fresh croissant on the nose. Boulangerie. And some cool steel and a touch of caramel and even a bit of nougat. Rich and toasty and more croissant in the mouth. Creamy and buttery in the finish. Fully mature. All here, and whilst it’s not totally clean I like the dirtiness. Very good, and a touch of saltiness in the finish again.”
Which is about 93+, I think.
2002 Dom Ruinart Rose
“Proper Provence pink. Lovely round and plump nose. Gentle and pillow-soft. A touch of cream. Cool. And some weight. Mouthfeel here too. This carries on. 20% red wine from Verzenay and Sillery. Spice and dried flowers. This is rather good and maintains its delicacy despite the structure. Already getting a bit gamey though still fresh.”
Erm. 94? Maybe 94+. Aren’t numbers for accountants? Should I count the bubbles?
Summary: this is rather good stuff. There is no shortage of average Champagne; serious Champagne is seriously under-rated. And whilst the market may follow the 2002s, 2004s are more my bag. Cistercian.