World-reknowned for its bubblies in all different styles, this beautiful region of rolling vineyards northeast of Paris hides its treasures well. But after lots of meticulous tastings, Vinotas Selections has found some deliciously affordable wines that will suit any winelover’s palate.
Champagne Yves Ruffin
Champagne Yves Ruffin is a tiny producer located to the northeast of Epernay, in a small town called Avenay Val d’Or, part of the Marne Valley. Their tiny holdings (2.72 hectares, or 6.72 acres) are planted 40% to Pinot Noir and 60% to Chardonnay, without any Pinot Meunier. The house has always wanted to emphasize delicacy and felt the Meunier grape was too masculine to achieve this goal.
The densely-planted vines (7500 vines/hectare, or 1.1m x 1.1m plantings) have been certified Organic since 1971, one of the oldest domaines to do so. In addition, all their holdings are rated Premier Cru. Everything is done by hand, from the harvesting to the winemaking. Grapes are pressed using a traditional vertical Coquard press, and fermentation takes place in old acacia and oak barrels. At bottling, the wine is unfined and slightly filtered.
The house is currently run by Sylvie Ruffin, widow to Thierry, who passed in 2008. With the help of friends and family, she has kept traditions alive and maintained the quality of the domaine’s wines.
WINESChampagne Yves Ruffin Brut, a blend of 50% Pinot Noir (of which 13% is from a Solera dating back to 2000) and 50% Chardonnay, is a gorgeously expressive wine, with the minimum amount of dosage legally allowed (6 grams), leading to a mineral-driven but perfumy bubbly that fills the mouth with elegance and ends with a long finish. This is from the 2010 and 2011 vintages and shows their quality.
Champagne Yves Ruffin Extra-Brut is 20% Pinot Noir and 80% Chardonnay, has a slight dosage of 2 grams, and is a blend of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages. Light yet crisp and with a beautiful mouthfeel, it’s a gorgeous bottle of bubbly.