lottery of where they were established.
In the case of Veuve Clicquot's familiar
Yellow Label NV, both those things
played a part in its characteristic fullbodied
flavour profile - the 'four pillars' of
power, intensity of flavour, freshness and a
silky texture, as cellar master Dominique
Demarville describes them, reinforced by
the dominance (52 to 54 per cent) of Pinot
Noir in the blend.
Meanwhile, Ruinart's signature
Blanc de Blancs NV cuvée is, as the
name suggests, made from 100 per cent
Chardonnay - a grape variety that has
been "the soul of the house", to quote
chef de cave Frédéric Panaïotis, since its
foundation in 1729. To this day, the Blanc
de Blancs - and its distinctive curved clear
bottle - remains emblematic of the house
as a whole.
�e roots of the Drappier style lie deep
in the soils of the vineyards surrounding
its base in the village of Urville. �is is the
Aube, in the deep south of Champagne,
where Pinot Noir reigns and the calcareous
soils and Kimmeridgian hills have
more in common with Chablis than
with the Montagne de Reims or the
Côte des Blancs.
While Ruinart is all about delicacy,
freshness and typical Chardonnay poise,
Drappier's Carte d'Or NV is a vinous,
full wine, comprising 80 per cent Pinot
Noir, 15 per cent Chardonnay and five
per cent Pinot Meunier.
IN THE BALANCE
Once you have a clearer fix on the style
of NV in your glass, it's easier to decide
how and when to drink it. Aperitif on
a hot summer's day? Ruinart Blanc de
Blancs has lightness
and poise. A more
versatile food wine?
Drappier's NV loves
classic fish dishes,
but has the requisite
weight to match
poultry and pork.
But Ruinart and
Drappier are relatively extreme examples.
Once you know a bit about them, it's
relatively easy to see where they sit in
flavour terms, and how you might best
enjoy them. With most NVs, it's not so
Moët & Chandon's flagship Impérial
NV, the best-selling Champagne in the
world, has a blend (30 to 40 per cent Pinot
Noir, 30 to 40 per cent Pinot Meunier,
20 to 30 per cent Chardonnay) that
reflects the make-up of the vineyards of
Champagne as a whole. For cellar master
RUINART'S BLANC DE BLANCS NV
IS 100 PER CENT CHARDONNAY A
GRAPE THAT HAS BEEN "THE SOUL
OF THE HOUSE" SINCE 1729