Hailed as the first established house of Champagne and inspired by a monk well ahead of his time, Maison Ruinart was founded in 1729.
Dom Thierry Ruinart was an intuitive, visionary, hardworking, and modest Benedictine monk who lived from 1657-1709 and was a contemporary of Louis XIV. A brilliant theologian and historian, at the age of 23 he left his home in Champagne to go to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the most influential centers of learning near Paris. While there, he was exposed to the city and court where he gained an awareness of a more worldly life and in-particular he learned of a new “wine with bubbles,” not yet known as champagne, which was already popular among young aristocrats.
Dom Ruinart was an author of scholarly works, but also had a taste for the contemporary and his inquiring mind went hand in hand with a keen business sense. Throughout his life, he would visit his brother and home in Champagne and these diverse observations instilled in him the conviction that “wine with bubbles” produced from the vines of his native soil – also known as “vin de mousse” or sparkling wine – had a promising future. He passed on this conviction to his brother and his nephew.
In 1729, twenty years after the death of Dom Ruinart, Nicolas Ruinart, Dom Ruinart’s nephew, founded the first Champagne House, Maison Ruinart, and forever ingrained his uncle’s name and the house in the history books. In 1735, Maison Ruinart abandoned the cloth trade to concentrate on the burgeoning champagne trade. This became Nicolas’s sole occupation and growth was exponential with 170 bottles sold in 1730, 3,000 bottles in 1731, 36,000 in 1761, and then in the mid 18th Century, Ruinart acquired the former Gallo-Roman chalk quarries outside of Reims to store their bottles.
On April 12, 1817, Louis XVIII granted nobility to François Irénée Ruinart. With the letters of nobility, the King also granted François the heraldic crest which has appeared on the labels of Ruinart bottles ever since. Mary Kate Charlotte Riboldi, Viscountess Ruinart de Brimont, was one of the most remarkable family members in this lineage. On the death of her husband, André Ruinart, this Englishwoman – orphaned at an early age and from a modest background – energetically took the helm of the House from 1919 to 1925, until her son was old enough to succeed her.
Elegantly, but firmly, she put the House back on its feet following the terrible destruction of the First World War.
- “R” De Ruinart
- Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV (Tasting Notes)
- Ruinart Rose
- Dom Ruinart 2004
- Dom Ruinart Rose 2002