About Ruinart Champagne
Amongst a wealth of Champagne brands, with long and exalted histories, Ruinart has the unique accolade of being the oldest Champagne house, having been founded in 1792. With its very traditional bottle shape, which dates back to the original Champagne bottles used in the 18th century, Ruinart is a very traditional brand, which holds fast to its heritage and roots.
Another unique point about Ruinart Champagne, is that, unlike the majority of other Champagne houses, it bases the majority of its wines, and certainly its house Cuvee Prestige, on the Chardonnay grape, with Pinot Noir, playing only a minor supporting role. It is a wine loved by Champagne drinkers and connoisseurs, and it is very protective of its premium position and reputation. Ruinart Champagne will only ever be seen in high quality restaurants and fine wine shops with impeccable pedigree.
Ruinart has a loyal band of followers in the UK, and alongside Krug and Moet, is now part of the luxury brand stable of LVMH.
What's The Background To Ruinart?
The oldest Champagne house, Ruinart was established in 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart, an entrepreneur, in the region. He established the house, the year after the laws under Louis XV changed, and Champagne was allowed to be transported in bottle; previously it had only been permitted to be transported in barrel, which made distribution outside the immediate area impossible, and export would never have been considered. His uncle Dom Thierry Ruinart, was a friend of the famous monk Dom Perignon, and it was from him that the Ruinart desire to start a Champagne house was developed.
The first bottled wines left the cellar in 1730; Nicolas Ruinart, effectively pioneered the phenomenal export business, that Champagne houses opening up in the late 18th century, soon followed. As the first established house and cellar, Ruinart set the standard at that time; it also acquired, and still retains, some of the largest wine cellars in the region, Gallo-roman in origin, and stretching 38 metres deep, along a total length of 8 kilometres. The chalk cellars are now a historical monument, and are an integral part in the development and the ageing of Ruinart Champagne.
What is truly unique about Ruinart, is that its hallmark is the Chardonnay grape, and indeed, this grape is at the heart, of every blend, playing a dominant role in all, and providing the gentle, sophisticated elegance, for which Ruinart is known.
Many of the Champagne houses have strong associations with a variety of subjects, and in the case of Ruinart, it is a close association with the arts, which began back in the late 19th century. Today Ruinart is closely involved in a number of international art events, especially contemporary art, and has used many top designers to create unique and bespoke accessories, such as ornate bottle stoppers, to bespoke ice buckets.
What Styles Of Wine Does Ruinart Make?
Ruinart production is tiny, compared to many of the houses, with only 1.7 million bottles per annum; the house occupies a select, highly premium position within the Champagne hierarchy.
It produces 2 ranges of Champagnes, and is unique for championing Chardonnay at the heart of its entire range, at the expense of Pinot Noir.
The ‘R’ de Ruinart range produces both non-vintage and vintage wines, the latter, following the house style, but more intense, and complex in style.
R de Ruinart – this is the house cuvee, and is produced with a minimum 40% Chardonnay, largely from the Cotes de Blancs, and aged in the deep chalk cellars for 3-4 years. Supremely elegant, refined, and restrained in style, with a delicate creaminess.
R de Ruinart Blanc de Blancs – made entirely from the Chardonnay grape, this is a true embodiement of the heritage and tradition of Ruinart – soft, creamy, delicate, complex, with a floral edge, and an understated, deeply-lingering finish.
R de Ruinart Rose – even in the house rose, Chardonnay plays a strong role, accounting for a minimum 45% of the blend, with Pinot noir red wine, rather than ‘saignee’ being added; a rich, full-flavoured, and yet again, extremely elegant style.
Dom Ruinart is the prestige range, and offers 2 wines:
Dom Ruinart Blanc de blancs – the flagship of the house, a vintage Champagne, entirely Chardonnay, with over 70% from the Cote des Blancs, and all from Grand crus vineyards. This wine was first launched with the 1959 vintage.
Dom Ruinart Rose – launched in 1962, this wine is also predominantly Chardonnay, to which 15% of Pinot Noir wine has been added in the blend.