Ruinart Champagne Tour: Full Review on What to Expect
Look up top Champagne houses, and you’ll find almost every blog post will list Maison Ruinart. My husband and I are not wine experts, but we are avid wine travelers and have visited quite a few wine regions around the world. The Champagne region was one of our favorites, and the Ruinart Champagne Tour was one of the best tours we have done. Here is what to expect.
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Ruinart Champagne Tour Itinerary
2:30 PM: OVERVIEW OF TOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE PARLOR
Reception and tasting area at Ruinart Champagne House
Maison Ruinart holds the distinction of being the first Champagne House, established in 1729. The same family has been running it for over two centuries. That’s a lot of history! We were very excited to do this tour and actually reserved almost 2 months in advance. They do book quickly.
Once we completed the check-in process at the security gate, my husband and I were guided to the reception area. The Champagne glasses were already arranged, poised to be filled for our upcoming tasting experience.
Patience … not yet though.
Following an introduction, our tour guide led us to explore the fascinating historic chalk cellars first.
3 PM: EXPLORE THE FAMOUS WHITE CHALK CELLARS
Walking downstairs into the chalk cellars at Ruinart Champagne House
One of the highlights of the Ruinart Champagne Tour is the guided exploration of their historic chalk cellars, which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Classic Ruinart Champagne poster see on the steps leading into the chalk cellars
After you walk down the many steps (maybe that’s why you don’t start with the tasting, lol), don’t forget to turn around and see the classic Champagne Ruinart image painted on to the steps. It depicts an elegantly dressed lady proudly holding up a glass of Champagne like it’s a trophy.
Ruinart is well known for its fusion of art and Champagne that started in 1896 with this classic poster image by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha.
Bottling process at Maison Ruinart
As we walked around the corner, we could see the bottling process in action. The Ruinart Champagne bottle has a unique shape thanks to inspiration from a famous painting called “Luncheon with Oysters.” Maison Ruinart mimicked the exact same shape of the bottle seen in the painting.
We then walked deeper into the coolness of the 40-meter-deep chalk cave. I am amazed these cellars cover 2 floors and close to 5 miles beneath the town of Reims. The sheer size is incredible!
Ruinart Champagne bottles are all perfectly stacked
Our expert guide showed us how all the bottles are perfectly stacked to allow the wine to develop their richness, which is known as entreillage. This process takes at least 8 years.
Ruinart Champagne bottles ready to be “riddled.”
Then it’s time to move the sediment of the wine into the bottle’s neck through a technique called riddling.
Each bottle is slowly turned by a piece of equipment called a gyropalette. The really exceptional Champagnes though are turned by hand.
Contemporary art show at Ruinart Champagne House
At the conclusion of the chalk cellar tour, we witnessed a cool contemporary light show with accompanying music.
4 PM: THE CHAMPAGNE TASTING
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2010
Of course, the highlight of the Ruinart Champagne tour is the Champagne tasting!
You have the option to choose a tasting of their Blanc de Blancs (both nonvintage and vintage known as Dom Ruinart) or their Rosé (both nonvintage and vintage).
If you are doing the tour with a partner, you can select both and try all four. Our fantastic guide walked us through the tasting, helping us to appreciate the nuances and craftsmanship that make Ruinart Champagne a true masterpiece.
The experience was very relaxed, allowing plenty of time to ask questions while sipping.
Ruinart Champagne Rosé and Dom Ruinart Rosé 2007
4:30 PM: BROWSE THROUGH THE ART + GIFT SHOP
This was one of my favorite pieces by Chinese artist Liu Bolin.
After the Ruinart Champagne tour, you have the option to browse through the cool art pieces in the gallery, visit the Ruinart wine shop to purchase bottles to take back home, or relax in the beautiful courtyard with your favorite glass of Champagne.
Ruinart wine shop
Ruinart Champagne Tour Cost
75 € per person. Is it more expensive than other tours? Absolutely, but the cost aligns with the exceptional quality of the experience.
Ruinart Champagne Tour Tips
You are navigating a fair amount of steps. The last thing you want is to go flying head first in those stilettos. Love my pointed-toe Rothy’s for wine tours.
BRING A LIGHT JACKET OR SWEATER
Bring a light jacket or sweater. The caves stay at a constant natural temperature of 10-12°C (50-53.6°F). Be prepared.
EAT A NICE LUNCH AND BOOK THE AFTERNOON TOUR
It’s always advisable to have a bit of food in your stomach before embarking on a tasting experience. We enjoyed lunch on the beautiful outdoor terrace of Le Jardin Les Crayères before our afternoon tour. Exceptional lunch at a bargain price.
THERE IS A BRUNCH EXPERIENCE
Ruinart offers a brunch experience on the weekends, but they book up super fast. 2023 is fully booked. 2024 reservations will open at the beginning of the year. Note, it does not include a tour of the chalk cellars.
We booked close to 2 months in advance, and there were not many slots left. Reserve early.
There are several big Champagne houses in Reims including Pommery and Veuve Clicquot. We did not do them all, but I can tell you Maison Ruinart runs an exceptional, well-organized 2-hour Champagne tour. Book it without hesitation.
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