There are a handful of famous Champagne houses that dominate the market and all too often, it is easy to lose sight of the small artisans. I love when I have the opportunity to taste Champagne from family estates because it feels like a breath of fresh air in a sea of mono-cultured wines. In this way, Champagne is a lot like Burgundy, because there is so much to discover in these unique bottlings—and I never get tired of the feeling that I have uncovered valuable buried treasure. Ruelle-Pertois is situated in the tiny village of Moussy in the Vallée de la Marne; it is home to less than a thousand people and dotted with vineyards of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for Champagne production. Only a few miles away is the village of Epernay—a name that is likely more familiar to you in the Champagne region. This area is full of rich winemaking history, small-town charm and passion for great Champagne production. In this region, the family owns and farms about fifteen acres of vines, from which roughly 3,500 cases of Champagne are made per year. Having originated in 1970, Ruelle-Pertois has clearly flown under the radar in the U.S. for far too long. I am so pleased that Charles Neal has introduced us to this wonderful producer. I know you will be pleased with the lovely floral bouquet, luscious texture and perfect freshness of this Champagne. This Champagne is produced from 50% Pinot Noir from the village of Pierry (1er cru) and 50% Chardonnay from Cramant, Chouilly, Oiry (Grand Crus). It spends four years on its lees before being disgorged and this particular bottling was disgorged 10 months ago (9/14) with a small 7 gram dosage. The production for this cuvee is only 6,000 bottles. For under $40 at this quality, the NV Duo Emotion is a steal. The only reason a top-quality Champagne of this kind can go for a price like this is because their small production operation has been a well-kept secret—and I hope it stays that way so we can all enjoy top quality like this at such an affordable price.
The NV Duo Emotion Champagne from Ruelle-Pertois has a pale golden yellow core that moves to yellow reflections on the rim. The bubbles bead through the center with precision and grace. Quintessential aromatics of yellow plum, white peach, yellow apple, acacia flowers, wet chalk and fresh hazelnut fill the nose with pleasure. The palate has freshness and purity with a seamless integration of bubbles; beautiful minerality comes to life on the tongue with flavors of green and yellow plums, tangerine, lemon peel and very fine, crushed-chalk minerality. As the Champagne sits in the open air and warms up ever so slightly, the complexity in the glass springs to life. For best results, serve in a white wine stem or a large Champagne flute; at all costs, avoid the traditionally-thin Champagne flute, because the aromatics will be nonexistent. With a mineral-driven, fresh Champagne like this, my favorite pairings always include delicate fish dishes. I suggest this blini with smoked salmon recipe
; there is a real synergy with this pairing that you will find irresistible—especially if enjoyed in the summer sunshine with close friends.