11 Mar 2006

Dom Ruinart

Blanc de Blancs '96
[Approx £65-£70, Harvey Nicholls, Fortnum & Mason]

I TASTED Ruinart's flagship fizz at the Specialist Importers’ Trade Tastings (SITT). Disarmingly subtle (a Ruinart characteristic), it suggested an almost Burgundian dry straw, barn floor edge on the nose which wasn't in any way unappealing but separated it from others in the range. Lightly coloured with tiny bubbles, good, suave bead almost impercebtible on the tongue and gentle autolytic (brioche) flavours. I would love to revisit this wine in a few years to see how it develops.
Just a thought, but considering Ruinart's parent company, 'LVMH' (Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessey - note the bags go first) own so many other Champagne houses, notably Moet, Veuve Cliquot, Krug and Mercier, surely some in-fighting goes on to secure the best fruit inter-house?

Champagne being such a fashion business, and brand recognition being critically important, it's always intriguing for me to see just how far producers will go to get their product connected with the right image, hence Ruinart, the oldest Champagne house was also the first to fly it's wine on Concorde in the inaugural take-off. An altogether more civilised act when compared to the wine-wasting sloppy act of Formula One spraying.