Wine Of The Week: Ruinart Blanc Singulier
A unique new wine from one of the world’s top Champagne houses puts a spotlight on climate change.
Climate change has become more than just a buzzword in the wine world. Heat is pushing winemakers out of plots and up into higher-elevation vineyards, and this year alone, hailstorms have taken out some of the most important plots in Piemonte and Chianti.
Increasingly hot temperatures have also thrown a serious wrench in Champagne production. Vintages are hotter and weather is more drastic, making it difficult to meticulously coax grapes to perfect ripeness. To safeguard against unpredictable vintages, Ruinart has shifted away from releasing vintage-dated Champagnes and focusing on a new cuvee called Blanc Singulier, which the house describes as a “nature-led cuvée that tells the story of a singular year as impacted by environmental factors.”
Instead of being made from one wine over one year, Ruinart is making a 100% Chardonnay with low- to no-added dosage (or sugar). 80% comes from the 2018 vintage and the rest is pulled from back vintages Ruinart has stowed away. In 2017, Ruinart opened their “perpetual reserve”, so they save a portion of wines made each year as a way to protect the brand’s quality in less predictable years.
It’s straw-colored and shimmering, with lovely notes of lemon curd, vanilla, toast, and butterscotch closed out by a vanilla and lemon rind. The minimal dosage allows the more savory notes to shine, producing an excellent wine with an intriguing story. $124
Kate Dingwall is a SET-trained sommelier and spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Forbes.com, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.