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While it is most recognised for its Blanc de Blancs, this is a blend of 54% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay and 6% pinot meunier. It is a fascinating exercise in balance, for while its dosage is 8g/l , its elevage is as precisely controlled as Billecart-Salmon, oxygen (no casks here) being excluded at all stages, leaving the wine with bright, crisp mouthfeel. Top aperitif style. Price: $90.00; Rating: 94 Points & Top 100 Wines; James Halliday

This is the best R de Ruinart of recent times, personifying Panaiotis' vision that purity is the key. 'I joined Ruinart in 2007, it took a couple of years to figure out what was going on, and 2009 was the first year when I said, "Right, we can now start to do things! I don't think there is much I can do with the blanc de blancs or the rose, but I can do things with the R de Ruinart!"' Ruinart's only cuvee to be led by pinot noir kicks off with refined strawberry and red apple fruit, contrasting refreshingly with the lemon pith, pear and finely structured minerality of chardonnay. A suggestion of gunpowder and a hint of balsamic declare its reductive style, with a note of flintiness reinforcing its mineral presence. A youthful and lively apertif, and as fresh as R de Ruinart has ever been. Rating 94 Points; Tyson Stelzer, The Champagne Guide 2015    

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