There are several good reasons why today’s launch of the 2007 Dom Ruinart Rosé is a special occasion. Firstly, this year is the 290th anniversary of Ruinart’s foundation by Nicolas Ruinart in 1729. Ruinart was also the first house ever to make a rosé champagne in 1764 – long before it became a favourite of the Bourbon king Charles X and the American president Andrew Jackson, and took the Russian market by storm in the 1860s. A family firm until it was acquired by LVMH in 1963, Ruinart’s champagnes are under the skilful thumb of chef de cave Frédéric Panaïotis, whose first harvest was 2007.
Now that rosé champagne has become a serious style in its own right, many champagne houses are making their pink fizz from a majority of Pinot Noir grapes fermented for a short time to create the necessary pink blush, before their secondary fermentation in bottle and ageing on the lees. Not Ruinart. For one thing, four-fifths of this coppery bronze, top-of-the-range rosé champagne is a blanc de blancs, with 80 per cent of the blend made up of Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs’ grands crus of Avize, Chouilly, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Sillery and Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims.
The balance is made up of 20 per cent Pinot Noir vinified as a red wine from the grand cru of Aÿ and blended with the Chardonnay. It has then spent 10 years on its lees in bottle in Ruinart’s chalk subterranean crayères to gain in complexity, and it has a relatively low dosage of just 4.5g of sugar per litre. Perhaps it’s for this reason that the Ruinart style has been called a “great burgundy with bubbles”.
Deriving from a year whose cool summer was key to the vintage’s freshness, this pink fizz sets out with a subtle floral rosehip aroma. On tasting, there is an immediate strawberry sorbet freshness and orange citrus-like tang with an underlying toasty note, and an intensity that makes it at once both a serious wine and gastronomic champagne with the potential to age for a good 10 years or longer. It can be drunk as an aperitif, but equally will make a mouthwatering partner for smoked salmon, ceviche, tuna tartare or grilled white fish such as halibut or turbot. The 2007 Dom Ruinart Rosé (£230) is stocked by Clos19 and Hedonism Wines.