The Dom Ruinart Rose might be the best tete de cuvee that American connoisseurs don’t know about. While no brand is more famous in France, it is only recently that Ruinart has had good distribution in the USA. Steadily, their non-vintage blanc de blancs and rose have gained more appreciation from Champagne lovers here, and even their excellent Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Blanc de Blancs is getting good traction. It is doubtful that the Dom Ruinart rose will be a household word anytime soon- the entire US only received 198 bottles, and I just drank one of them.
This Champagne is composed of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, all from Grand Cru sites. The Chardonnay is sourced both from the Cote des Blancs and the Mountain or Reims, and it is this Mountain of Reims Chardonnay that gives the subtle exoticism that is the signature of the house style. The Pinot Noir in the blend is vinified red, and sourced from north facing vineyards in Sillery and Verzenay, giving the Champagne plenty of authority without sacrificing its energy. Ruinart is a proponent of stainless steel fermentation, and in the case of this rose, very long sur-lee ageing, perhaps the longest in the category of tete de cuvee roses. The 2002 was just released.
We enjoyed the 2002 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Rosé Champagne ($299) with banh mi sandwiches and pork buns. We used door dash for the first time, and it was very luxurious for us to drink tete de cuvee and not even have to pick up our take-out! The food was from Spice Kit in Palo Alto, and very good. The steamed pork buns were the biggest hit with the Champagne- it is something special to have rich Kurobuta pork with top quality rose from Champagne!
The Dom Ruinart Rose is beautiful to look at in the Lehmann "Jamesse Reference" Grand Champagne glass, and has a pale pink color and the kind of streamers that you only get with very long ageing on the lees. When we first opened the bottle it was very yeasty and leesy, so much so that it put me off. The bouquet developed really nicely over the course of the meal, offering up chalk and Rainier cherry fruit as well as toast. In the mouth, this wine is so elegant and subtle that it wouldn’t be hard to miss its depth in a quick tasting. Like Cristal and Salon, it is a treat for the jaded palate, with lots of depth to offer, but no obvious, showy flash. It is ethereal, weightless and haunting stuff- and I would guess that the Sillery rouge has a lot to do with its delicacy. The Dom Ruinart Rose is the most elegant Champagne that I have drunk this year, and will no doubt prove to be one of my top Champagne experiences this year.
If you have an occasion to spoil yourself with a very special bottle, this would be a great choice.
A toast to you!