My Visit to Celliers Ruinart, Reims
The Victim: Dad
The Background: Sometimes, you have no idea what you’re doing, and everything works out just right. So it was when my dad and I visited the cellars of Ruinart.
Because you know…It’s not like I sit around drinking champagne every day, and certainly not Ruinart.
But I had tried and failed to book all the other major champagne houses on Easter Saturday, and I was rejected by each in turn.
Except for Ruinart. They said yes. And in hindsight, I really can’t believe my luck.
The Trip: I have to give a shout out to the TGV that took us to Reims. The TGV rocks. It’s super-fast and super-quiet. Did I mention fast? We were in Reims from Paris in less than an hour. One other thing I learned: the Eurostar is technically a TGV.
Celliers Ruinart Tour
Back to the Champagne: Our tour guide at Celliers Ruinart was really really lovely. Half French, half Italian. (Napoli.) She’s had Puff Daddy on a tour before –when she used to work at Hennessy. She said he was very nice; she had no idea who he was. She also wore amazingly high heels during the ENTIRE tour. Stairs and all. Lots and lots of stairs.
The History: Ruinart is the oldest Champagne house and it now owned by my buddies over at LVMH. (God bless my father for actually pausing outside Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysées and asking me if I wanted to stop in.) During WWI, the cellars were used to escape the bombing, and a whole city operated underground. The Celliers Ruinart tour is part history and part Champagne. Being down in the Ruinart caves during the tour is really so fantastic.
The Champagnes: At the end of the tour, our tour guide brought us to a living-room-like room and offered up about six different champagnes for tasting. The only thing that would have made this tour better was a little sheet of paper that told me what I was tasting. I know I liked the NV R de Ruinart Brut and the NV Rose. And I know my dad, in particular, really liked the NV Rose, which I find interesting given that he’s not a champers kind-of-guy.
The Verdict: I’d visit again and do the Celliers Ruinart tour again. And I’d take copious notes. Because it was that good, I’m very sorry I didn’t take any notes. Because honestly, this was all very very fascinating.
Celliers Ruinart Tour Info
Ruinart does tours only, no tastings. The tours are small (max 10?), take around two hours, and often book up months in advance. Note that French laws around tastings have changed and apparently you are only allowed to have a max of two glasses during a tasting.
How to Book a Ruinart Tour
Ask your hotel to help you schedule a tour as online reports suggest that some Reims hotels can facilitate a small discount. Alternatively, try…
- Booking your tour online through the Ruinart website. (This is the direct link to the tour reservation page that no one online seems to be able to find! It is very well hidden.)
- Try contacting Ruinart directly to book a tour at [email protected].
- Try contacting Ruinart through the Reims Tourism website to arrange your visit.
2018 Ruinart Tour Prices
In 2018, the Ruinart tour is 70 euros per person. Please check with Ruinart directly though for latest tour prices!