Ruinart

"Fréderic Panaïotis grew up between his grandparents’ chardonnay vines in Champagne, and the variety remains close to his heart, making him very much at home as chef de cave at Ruinart since 2007.

The longest-established champagne house of all has an affinity with chardonnay’s freshness, finesse and elegance, and all of its finest cuvées lead with this variety, even its prestige rosé. Without the might of Moët & Chandon, the brand impact of Veuve Clicquot or the cachet of Krug, Ruinart lurks as the low-profile member of the Louis Vuitton–Moët Hennessy family.

On Reims’ famed Rue de Crayères, its premises hide behind the grand street presence of Pommery and Veuve Clicquot. This is just as Panaïotis would have it. ‘In France we have a saying, if you live underground, you live happy!’ he says. But on its performance, Ruinart has no need to lie low. Its cuvées are pure and pitch-perfect, singing with the crystalline precision of chardonnay."  Tyson Stelzer - The Champagne Guide 2018-2019

Ruinart Champagne: a rare and special treat

It's not incredibly often that a great champagne manages to slip under the radar, but while it is a dominant player at home, few have heard of Dom Ruinart champagne in Australia.

Which is fantastic, because it'll give you something to talk about when you share it with anyone. There are four treasured varieties you can sample when you decide to buy Ruinart champagne in Australia. To unlock the other mysteries behind the label, you'll need to get yourself to Europe (like you needed an excuse for that anyway!).

But before you rush off to get your plane ticket, let me tell you for a moment about each of these four irresistible Ruinart champagne styles you can get right here at home. First up is the lowest priced member of the range, a straight-up 100% Chardonnay – or Blanc de Blancs, if you prefer the technically correct term – in true Brut style.

The first thing you'll notice about it is the clear glass bottle, which presents an image of virgin purity. It looks suspiciously like an ordinary bottle of white wine until you pop the cork and unleash the vigorous energy this deceptively simple bottle contains within it.

This champagne is a delight on its own, but pair it with grilled fish or light seafood, and it's a match made in Heaven. Or maybe France. Is there a difference? The 2004 reserve of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs was very special and it's getting even harder to get hold of. Another reserve that requires a mention is the 2007 edition, and you really couldn't go wrong with either one. It is not typical. It's a very dry and intense champagne.

The tastes of the region come through in so many ways, and there's even an odd suggestion of tobacco leaves in the aromatics of it. When it comes to Ruinart champagne, Brut blanc de blancs is getting all the attention, but as good as that champagne is, it may even be eclipsed by the impressively special Ruinart Champagne Rosé Brut, which is far lighter in colour than most rosé champagne. This one comes in a very dark bottle and is made from a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. This gives it a very dry and crisp profile for a Rosé style champagne. If you'd prefer something a little less dry, you need to switch the word order on the label when you make your selection.

The Ruinart Brut Rosé is a smoother blend of 55% Pinot Noir to 45% Chardonnay. You can tell the difference by looking at the bottle. The Rosé Brut has a charming pink label, while the label Brut Rosé could only be described as "budget orange". But when you taste it, you'll know there's nothing cheap about it. It's a complex and indulgent rosé champagne, with a deeper flavour than you'd normally expect from any champagne style. You get an intense strawberry, mingling with cherry and peaches. Marvellous stuff, and considerably different.

The backstory of Ruinart Champagne

I'll tell you a few things about what makes this incredible champagne so intriguing, along with the fact that but for a twist of fate you may have missed out on the chance of trying it altogether. The thing is, Ruinart almost lived up to its name. Once teetering on the brink of ruin (a trait it shares with the much more internationally famous Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin), it was saved by sheer force of will of the owners. That's probably something they learned from Madame Clicquot, also.

The shocking truth is that Dom Ruinart is the oldest of all champagne houses. Ruinart was founded in 1729 by Dom Thierry Ruinart, and he sold his first batch in 1730, just a few months later. No long fermentation process, because it was still a new technique and nobody knew what the possibilities were. It certainly wasn't called "champagne" in those days but was known by the somewhat less inspiring title of Vin Avec des Bulles ("wine with bubbles"). It could not, of course, be known as champagne wine, because it would take a considerable time for that style of winemaking to be associated with the region that it originated in.

Competitors were not far behind in copying the style, but it was a style that took some time to get going. The champagne house that changed all that was Veuve Clicquot, the most daring and bold of them all. Madame Cliquot had recognized that France had an overabundance of champagne, while many other European countries did not.

Her vision was to make her business primarily an export business, but it was a vision hampered by the fact that France was at war. Napoleon's enemies refused any legal import of French products, while England's naval resources made smuggling a risky business. Seizing a small window of opportunity, the now famous widow staked everything on a huge gamble, defying the law of three countries to bring her small business back from the brink.

War, too, was almost the ruin of Ruinart. In this case, it was the effects of two world wars, which robbed the estate of much of its usable territory. Ruinart had never been a quantity producer, always focused on making a very small batches of high quality. Even so, they would not have expected that by 1946 they'd have only two significant customers left (and just to make the whole situation even more scandalous, one of those customers was Le Sphinx, one of the bawdiest brothels in the nation).

The owners of Ruinart solved their problem by adopting the exact opposite strategy to that employed by Clicquot. Instead of aggressively chasing the export market, they instead put their effort into selling within France. This is why the brand is not well known outside its country of origin, despite the notoriety of being the oldest.

Now is your chance to buy Ruinart champagne online

If you haven't tried Dom Ruinart champagne yet, you can get it online from Emperor Champagne. We're champagne distributors specialising in direct delivery, so you can order from us and get your champagne delivered right to your door, quickly and conveniently.

 Dom Ruinart is a difficult champagne to get hold of. It's rare, and not widely stocked outside France. We have done our part to make it easier for you to try this very special champagne. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts because there's no way to know how much will be available for import in the years ahead. 

There are many quite lovely champagnes that are better known for you to try, but if you want the experience of a less common champagne, this is your chance.

Vintage

Region

Price

Ruinart Blanc De Blancs Brut Champagne

Ruinart

Ruinart Brut Blanc de blancs


Brut Blanc de Blancs

NV

Club Price $99.75 (?)

Ruinart 'R de Ruinart'

Ruinart

Ruinart 'R de Ruinart'


Brut

NV

Club Price $75.05 (?)

Ruinart Brut Rosé

Ruinart

Ruinart Brut Rosé


Rosé

NV

Club Price $103.55 (?)

Ruinart Dom Ruinart '06

Ruinart

Ruinart Dom Ruinart '06


Vintage Blanc de Blancs

2006

Club Price $265.05 (?)

Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé '04

Ruinart

Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé '04


Vintage Rosé

2004

Club Price $436.05 (?)