Excellent bubbles in Belgium!
By Pasquale Charland
The adventure started 15 years ago, in 2002; at first, 2 ha and now… 28 ha. Built on the association of a wine negotiator, a farmer, a winemaker from Champagne (Thierry Gobillard) and two entrepreneurs from the region, Ruffus established its domain in Belgium, but close to France to benefit from the same favorable conditions and climate found in Champagne.
It was natural to have vines of Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier in their vineyard, located in Haulchin, near Binche, in the “Les Agaises” lieu-dit, a terroir rich in limestone where the Ruffus Lord reigned in the 12th century. The domain is, currently, the biggest producer of wine in Belgium.
This domain produces only sparkling wines, all elaborated while following the traditional method, which means a second aging phase in the bottle and slatted for a minimal duration of twelve months.
All the cuvées have won the highest distinctions in the most famous international contests, and the vineyard was honored with the “Chevalier du Mérite Wallon” reward in 2015. The latest results have shown that the Ruffus domain managed to win the prestigious trophy in Valladolid, which is certainly the most important competition where 9000 samples (crémants, champagnes, cavas, etc.) from 50 countries are tasted by a jury of 320 specialists. Also, in 2017, the silver medal was earned by the Ruffus Chardonnay Brut in the Chardonnay du monde contest held in France. In their small kingdom, Ruffus produces wines that can withstand competition with wines originating from all the famous wine countries around the world, a proof of their consistency and their very high quality sparkling wines.
Although, it is important to note the production is sold two years in advance; it has already been a few years since they have expressed their inability to withstand the high demand for their products. Developing a vineyard is something that takes time (5-6 years, from the planting of the vines to the production of bottles), costs a lot of money (buying land, material, hiring staff, etc.) and all of it… with no immediate return on these investments. Through all that, the domain was able to maintain its family business aspect and keeps expanding gradually. Ruffus is a name that needs to be remembered and closely followed, as the Belgian wine era has started and their production is now on par with the biggest names in the wine world!