Ruinart — a luxury worthy the winners
Marvellous are your Deeds, Lord
Monks from the province of Champagne, which is in the north of France, were tormented by the sinful envy of the brothers from Burgundy. From the sweat of their faces, they cultivated monastic vineyards and the wine turned sour and cloudy. In the winter, the fermentation died down half way and, waking in the spring, a cannonade thundered in the cellars — bubbles of carbon dioxide mercilessly blasted thinwalled bottles. In Burgundy, on the contrary, there was plenty of sun and heat and black grapes managed to gain sweetness, ferment and turn into a wonderful wine.
Winemakers struggled with the injustice of hateful bubbles, until the Almighty rewarded them for their labours. The ‘‘foam’’ was liked by the Duke of Philip of Orleans — Prince Regent, who succeeded, in 1715, the King of France, Louis XIV. Following the Duke, the wine with bubbles was appreciated by the court nobility and, soon, there was not a single reception without it.
For Champagne, the hour of glory had come — the sour, white grapes of Chardonnay were ideal for the now sparkling royal drink. The chief taster of the Otwiller Abbey, the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon, turned from a furious enemy of the bubbles into a fan, engaged in blending work and created a technology for obtaining white wines from black grapes, also using the first cork bark to block bottles.
On a Grand Scale
Experiments by Perignon interested Thierry Ruinart. As a servant of God and a scientist, he dedicated his life to the history of Christianity and was a versatile man, as well as wellversed in winemaking. When the popularity of champagne in France was no longer in doubt and Louis XV authorised the sale of bottled wine for export (1728), the wise Thierry convinced his brother’s son to organise a promising business.
In 1729 (now, these figures adorn each bottle of Ruinart), nephew Nicolas opened the first commercial production of foaming wine in Champagne. Nicholas, at that time, was selling cloth and, as an experienced entrepreneur, knew that a new business started with advertising. Buyers of fabrics received a bottle of newfashioned champagne as a gift. In ship’s holds stuffed with soft bales, these souvenirs felt safe and made their way to their destination intact.
Do not Drink, Gertrude, Ruinart!
The Council of the Queen, from the mouth of a treacherous husband, would sound off; a story about Prince Hamlet written a century and a half later. In the port of the Danish city of Elsinore, on the island of Zealand, where the passions of the Shakespearean drama once boiled, in 1730, the first shipment of export products was unloaded.
It was not long before all the kings and queens of Europe could not live without champagne. The intoxicating bubbles became so popular that, in 1735, the young owner of the wine house decided to abandon the trade of manufacturing and focus exclusively on sparkling wines.
Right off the Bat
Business, gaining speed, became crowded. In 1768, the son of the founder, Claude Ruinart, bought eight kilometres of Gallo-Roman quarries, specially excavated under Rheims and especially for the wine stores. Labyrinths of chalky cellars, up to 38 meters deep, in 1931, became historical landmarks of France. To this day, wine is stored and kept here. Unfortunately, everything that was produced before 1945 was lost irrevocably. At the end of World War II, the Germans discovered the entrance to the cellars and completely destroyed rare collections.
A Novel with the Romanovs’ House
In the cold Russia, a cheerful drink in the full sense fell to the court. Prince Repnin, being an ambassador in France, spoiled the empress with presents from Paris. In 1765, the Field Marshal General presented the Empress with several bottles of Ruinart. Catherine II was so excited that she started a court fashion for champagne and everything associated with it — wide glasses that reveal the taste and the custom to serve a drink with ice.
The successor of the dynasty, the grandson of Nicolas Edmond Ruinart, at the invitation of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II, arrived in St. Petersburg in 1827, where he was awarded a personal audience and was invited by His Majesty to become the supplier of the Imperial Court, which remained until 1840. The first billboards with electric lighting, which appeared in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the XX century, represented the Ruinart champagne, as well as the fashionable polka, which was then danced at balls. Until 1914, Ruinart champagne was sold and widely advertised in all major cities of Russia, from the western to the eastern borders.
Art or Craft
The Champagne House, which has turned wine into a high art, finds and supports talented people who, each in their own way, have said something about Ruinart. Work, accumulated over many years, is enough for a solid museum exhibition.
Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, in 1895, wrote several advertising posters in the Art Nouveau style. One of the rarities of the famous series adorns the hall in the Maison Ruinart, in Reims
A representative of creative bohemia, a symbolist, portrayed the luxury of a redhaired lady, raising a wine glass with wine sparkling, with a scattering of stars.
Magnificent chaos of table decorations, candlesticks, flutes and bottles was created by a chandelier that had collapsed onto the table. Either a roaming giant ruined everything or the crystal treasure fell from the heavens and crashed into the table. Only the wine glasses filled with this sparkling wine kept an icy calmness. The composition ‘‘Bouquet of Champagne’’ (Bouquet de Champagne) was created by the Dutch designer Maarten Baas. The ‘‘Melting Ice’’ bucket is also his creation. A silver attribute to this sparkling miracle from Ruinart came from 50 such souvenirs that were issued for the 50th anniversary of the brand Dom Ruinart.
The fantasy calendar ‘‘The Seasons’’ is the story of the transformation of a vine from a green sprout into a spray of champagne, told by the glassblower Hubert Gall. Twelve glass forms (by the number of months) are lined up in a chain of yellow-green bubbles. The artist from Scotland, Georgia Russell, in a desire to preserve the energy of old books, buys them in flea markets, cuts with a scalpel, literally, ‘‘in words’’ and creates incredible shapes. The result of this reincarnation was the gift boxes for Ruinart Blanc de Blanc. The bottle shines with gold through a carved lampshade, as white as the famous chalky cellars. The work of the Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola was appreciated by buyers of vintage wines in 2010. The bottles were decorated with elegance, using a noble metal, and called ‘‘Golden Lace Ruinart Blanc de Blancs’’, reminiscent of an openwork mantilla, wrapped around the neck and sloping shoulders of a beautiful lady.
In Memory of Uncle Thierry
In October 2017, at the annual Frieze Art Fair in London, the Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa introduced the audience to the new work, ‘‘In Memory of Thierry Ruinart’’. The transparent figure of a man looking into the distance is woven from metal letters. The particles, which consisted of the books written once by Thierry, formed into a silhouette of the soul, a clot of energy and strength of the spirit of the scientist, researcher and ideologist of winemaking. At the base of the sculpture are two dates: 1729 and 2016 — the time code from the foundation of Ruinart to the birth of a work of art. The collection cuvée Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Millesime Brut, which saw the light in 1959, is also a tribute to a man with whom, 230 years ago, the history of champagne at home began. The elite brand is made exclusively from harvests from the vineyards of Grand Cru Chardonnay and is aged for at least 10 years.
Luxury for Luxury
Today, no one from the Ruinart family participates in the business that is part of an international holding. An old brand of champagne lives in the environment of other famous brands. LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE) — cosmopolitan in the subject of luxury. The guru of the alcohol market — the Moet & Chandon champagne house, bought Ruinart in 1963, and the Hennessy brandy kingdom, in 1971, joined together in a cocktail called Moet Hennessy, to which, after 15 years, the fashion house, Louis Vuitton, elegantly joined. In the same company, the brilliant creator of beauty, Christian Dior, can be found.
The team promotes a sophisticated lifestyle, for which champagne is an indispensable attribute. Ruinart is served in prestigious restaurants, five-star hotels, diplomatic receptions and events in the White House, the Kremlin, Buckingham Palace and the Élysée Palace.
‘‘In victory, you deserve champagne. I defeat, you need It’’ — so said Napoleon. So, drink Ruinart and stay victorious!
“Three sketches of Lucian Freud” by Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon was an English expressionist painter and a master of figurative painting. His triptych, in 2013, became the most expensive work of art in the world. “Three sketches of Lucian Freud” was sold at Christie’s auction for a record sum of 142 million dollars.
The triptych, created by the artist in 1969, was auctioned for the first time at a pre-sale estimate of 85 million dollars. Bidding lasted only six minutes and the auction house did not disclose the identity of the buyer. Each part of the triptych has the same size of 198×147.5 cm. Each canvas depicts Lucien Freud in different poses, while seated on a chair is the artist Lucien Freud. The background is orange-brown, which is brighter than normal for the works of Bacon.
“Number 5” by Jackson Pollock
“Number 5” was completed in 1948 and utilised the technique of spraying, which is the corporate style of the artist. The picture size is 243.8×121.9 cm and is mounted on fibreboard (hardboard).
In 2006, at an auction organised by the auction house Sotheby’s, it was sold for 140 million dollars. It is believed that the hype surrounding this painting was created artificially. All of the paintings of Jackson Pollock were presented in museums and sold freely. Yet, “Number 5” was hidden and shown only when all of the other artworks were sold.
Consequently, the price of the painting went up to the heavens and broke many records. The original painting was in a private collection and was then exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It then became the property of producer David Geffen. Who sold it for $ 140 million? According to unconfirmed reports, it was a famous Mexican billionaire.