Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blanc

I recently attended an evening sponsored by Ruinart Champagne at David Burke's newest venture, David Burke's Kitchen. More specifically, a dozen or so bloggers and I were invited upstairs to the bar, playfully named the Treehouse.
We were greeted with full glasses of the Champagne house's Blanc de Blanc. The name has everything to do with the color of the grapes used in the wine. Champagne traditionally is blend of wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and to a lesser degree, Pinot Meunier. The last two grapes are red grapes, and Chardonnay, of course we know as a white-wine grape.
However, at times Champagne makers choose to produce a sparkling wine from either all white, as in the case of Blanc de Blanc, or all red (also called "black") grapes, as in the case of Blanc de Noir.
And so I sipped the lovely Champagne that was distinctly more refreshing than the usual blend of white and red grapes. After chatting with the tall and charming head of Ruinart, Jean Marc Gallot, and mingling with my fellow bloggers, I headed to a formally-set table for some fun and games with scent.
Ruinart proposed that we wine and food bloggers consider the different aromas and flavors in their blanc de blanc Champagne. So, set before each of us was a small cylinder filled with seven tiny vials filled with liquid scent. We also each had a card of about 18 aromas and a sharpened pencil. And so it began. We unscrewed the top of each vial and sniffed. Was number 2 lemon and number 3 citron, or vice versa? The floral scent of jasmine was undeniable, and Jean Marc offered us a broad hint, "think of Sushi" that led us to ginger. Clues were hidden around the table decorations, and it turned out that one of the vials was pink peppercorns - look there was a glass bowl of them in front of us! We were not subject to the public scrutiny of reading our choices aloud (I was about 50% right), but the one who self-reported the most correctly identified scents did win a prize.
The better prize, however, was an evening full of Ruinart blanc de blanc and the daring cuisine of David Burke. After playing the scent game, the buttered toast, yellow apple of the Ruinart were clearer to me, along with hints of pineapple, and a nice lemon spritz on the back end. The fruit flavors were ripe, and the toasty flavors were delicious.
On to the dinner. The chef wowed us with a deep-friend grape filled with peanut butter appetizer, and a main course of crab cake lined with pretzel sticks - the salty crunch of the pretzels was a wonderful foil to the sweet crab. Lastly a delightul lollypop tree - orbs of different flavored cheesecakes dipped in white, milk, or dark chocolate and drizzled with flavors or dipped in crunchies.
At the end, we were delighted when celebrity Chef David Burke came upstairs and greeted us all. It was a stunning evening that was over too quickly. However, the ripe, layered fruit and toasty notes of the Ruinart were available to us any time we wanted a special champagne to savor.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a great time, I'm intrigued by the scent test. Was there any conclusion to it, did the previous scent affect the perception of the previous for example? I've found particularly when tasting wines that the previous scent, food orientated or otherwise significantly effected the tasters perception of the wine... You could say that a good wine is relative... :)