The year 2010 wasn’t a great one for Ruinart. The winter was extremely cold, the spring and early summer were dry, August was rainy and then a rot arrived at the end of ripening. Somehow, though, the Champagne house was able to create a wonderful vintage.
The new Dom Ruinart 2010, which is selling for $295 a pop, is an extra brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes. According to Ruinart, it has the aromatic freshness of Chardonnay, with the nose moving from floral notes that recall perfumery, through spicy notes of nutmeg and roasted almond, all the way to zesty citrus notes. The taste is described as rich and complex, while the finish is said to be fresh and slightly bitter.
“It takes time, vision and a little audacity for us to produce a great vintage,” cellar master Frédéric Panaiotis said in a statement. “This 2010 vintage marks a turning point. It celebrates the imprint of a year through a great Blanc de Blancs now aged under cork.”
That process of using cork stoppers for aging on lees helps give the Champagne a distinctive flavor. The practice was once common, but crown caps became more popular over time. In the late 1990s, though, Ruinart’s cellar master decided to age some of the 1998 Dom Ruinart vintage under cork. The material is porous but remains quite stable, while metal caps let small amounts of oxygen enter the bottles. The result? A significantly tenser wine with more complexity.
Along with the reintroduction of cork stoppers for this vintage, Ruinart also brought back the practice of manual disgorging. After opening each bottle by hand and removing the sediment, the winemakers also added a tiny amount of liqueur for roundness. The bubbly was then fitted with an expedition cork and topped with a capsule marking the vintage, before being left to rest for another year.
The Dom Ruinart 2010 is perhaps best enjoyed on its own. If you’re interested in pairing the Champagne with food, however, the house recommends dishes that also undergo a slightly lengthened preparation process, such as salted, fermented or smoked foods. Sounds like quite the combo.