Ode to Dom Ruinart
290 years old and going strong
By Panos Kakaviatos at wine-chronicles.com
23 December 2019
Ever since dear wine loving pal Randall McFarlane organized an exciting vertical of Domaine Ruinart – here an older text about that – I discovered just how amazing the wines from this Champagne house can be. After tasting the 1996 for example, and the downright exciting 1979 rosé from magnum, I have been hooked to this estate.
It helps that Frederic Panaïotis is a great fellow and talented winemaker. And that the oldest Champagne house, established in 1729, includes some of the most impressive underground cellars you can imagine visiting. To wander into the chalk quarries that act as Maison Ruinart’s cellars amounts indeed to discovering the “beating heart of the Champagne region and its wines,” as the Dom Ruinart proclaims. Any visit to Champagne should include a visit here.
Like many Champagne houses, Dom Ruinart has several brands. My overall favorite? You guessed it: their Blanc de Blancs Vintage. Made entirely of Chardonnay grand cru from the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims vineyards, these prestige wines age slowly, an average of ten years, and increase in aromatic complexity over time.
2007 was a challenging vintage, as a warm and humid autumn led to some rot, although observers like Jancis Robinson say that Chardonnays were better than either of the Pinots. If this is the case, well good news here as we are dealing with a 100% Chardonnay wine that achieves lovely balance with 8.6 grams of acidity per liter and 5 grams per liter of residual sugar. Due to a difficult a growing season, less houses than average declared this vintage, but top producers like Dom Ruinart did well. Fermentation was completed in stainless steel vats, followed by malolactic fermentation.
How does it taste? It has such a classy profile, smooth, full bodied, yet bright. Aromas reveal those fine chalk aspects from excellent Champagne, with flint and oyster shell. With also get brioche, lime, acacia, and yellow to green citrus aspects, for example some yuzu. The palate is sap-driven and slightly creamy, yet chiseled, with more bright citrus and wet stone on the finish. Indeed the producers talk of 2007 as revealing “all the purity” of the great Chardonnays. Makes sense to me. And a fine choice take off in 2020. 😊
Panos, had the 2007 Dom Ruinart blanc de Blancs recently – I thought it was just spectacular. Enjoyed over an hour (no rushing this) with just a few people and no competition from other wines allowed it to really shine.