We tasted: Ruinart Brut Rosé 1978

tasted in November 2020, Maspalomas (Gran Canaria)
the banner from Alfons Mucha (1896)

Based in Reims, Ruinart is the oldest and one of the most prestigious Champagne houses. We have to go back in time to 1728 when Louis XV (le Bien-Aimé) authorized by law the transport of wine in bottles instead of wood barrels. Until then, the Champagne wine producers could not properly sell their sparkling wines as the wood barrels were not able to keep the carbonic gas pressure. With this new law, the champagne was finally able to be sold and transported long distances. Under the guidance of his uncle — Dom Thierry Ruinart, a visionary Benedictine monk, friend and collaborator of Dom Pierre Pérignon, that was aware of the success the sparkling wine had between the young Parisian aristocracy— Nicolas Irénée Ruinart, son of a cloth merchant, founded the very first champagne house on 1 September 1729. One and a half year later, he issued the first champagne delivery (January 1730), then the first rosé champagne shipping across Europe (1764). Not longer after that, in 1768, Nicolas´ successor, Claude Ruinart, has acquired around 8km of old Gallo-Romanic chalk mining galleries (les crayères, classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2015) and convert them in the house cellars (at 38m below the ground level). This cellar will save the house later during the Champagne ryots and 1st World War.

Since the beginning, in the 18th century (Siècle des Lumières), la maison Ruinart has been associated with art, fine living, elegance, fashion and sophisticated simplicity, known as à la française, wich later was exported to the entire Europe. This very close relationship with arts is kept in the 19th century, when André Ruinart, hired the greatest illustrator of his time, Alfons Mucha, to create a poster for the house. The initiative and the quality of the poster proved to be a real sensation and success (for its novelty and modernity). Today, even the house is no longer under the family ownership (has been bought by Moët&Chandon in 1963, part of the famous luxury brand LVMH), Ruinart´s spirit is still alive and the style has been maintained.

Today the house is still closely involved with contemporary art and plays a role in numerous international events including ARCO, the Foire de Bale, the Carre Rive Gauche, London Design, and Miami Art Basel. India Mahdavi created the “Champagne Spoon” bottle stopper in 2006, Christian Biecher, created the “Flower” bottle stopper in 2007, Patricia Urqiola, designed the “Fil d’Or” bottle stopper in 2010 and Maarten Baas, named “Designer of the Year” at Art Basel Miami 2009, created the “Bouquet de Champagne” in 2008 and the “Melting” ice bucket in 2010. Since 2020 and until 2029 when the house will celebrate 300 years of existence, Ruinart plans to intensify its involvement in many more art projects (these 9 years are called “The Countdown”). We’ve already enjoyed one art&champagne à la française event in Madrid in October 2019 and it was an amazing experience.

Now, let’s try this exquisite champagne, Ruinart Brut Rosé millésime 1978. We were unsure whether it was still drinkable as we were unable to check its history (traceability), but guiding ourselves by its ullage and colour, we took the chance and… wow, what a diamond! Not only the nose and palate were fabulous, but the mousse was still present to entertain our feelings and the taste was nothing dull. We’ve already tasted some old champagnes previously, and from our experience, those champagnes tend to equalize their qualities dragging down the most specific notes of a house. On the contrary, this Ruinart vintage 1978 was still complex and original. On the nose we have got a symphony of mature notes: red apples compote, vanilla, honey, pastry, raisins, dry peaches and blackberries; some hints of black pepper and mushrooms. On the palate, it felt round, vinous and elegant with entering notes of dry red berries, red apples, peaches, caramelized pineapples, followed by notes of brioche, chocolate, almonds, dry plums and raisins. An absolute feast! The aftertaste was superb, dominated by finesse and personality. From what it transmitted us, we were sure the bottle could have been kept even more time (assuming optimal storage conditions) which says a lot about the quality of the Ruinart cuvées.

CLB score

96

*take a look at our CLB scoring

Type of champagneBrut Rosé
Vintage1978
Grapes55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay
MaisonRuinart
Village/terroir Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims (Chardonnay); Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne (Pinot Noir)
DegorgementN/A
Agedon lees for 9 years
DosageBrut (6-12g/L)
Sizebottle (75cl)
Number of bottlesN/A
Price range (euro)N/A
Chef de CavesFrédéric Panaïotis (since 2007)
Other considerents20-25% reserve wines, no malolactic fermentation

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