Ruinart has launched a limited edition gift box made from recycled wood and will introduce its own glassware range in January next year.
Ruinart’s non-vintage Blanc de Blancs in the new gift box designed by Dutch artist Piet Hien Eek
The new packaging was unveiled this week at the Masterpiece art and antiques fair in London, where Ruinart has taken a stand as part of its position as official Champagne supplier for the show.
Comprising a trapezoid box, the new package houses Ruinart’s non-vintage Blanc de Blancs, and has been designed by Dutch artist Piet Hien Eek, who is renowned for his creations using discarded wood.
Explaining the decision to enlist the artist, Sonia Herschtel, Ruinart’s brand manager for the UK told the drinks business that Ruinart was the first house to ship Champagne in wood cases in 1769, when others were using baskets.
She also said that there was a limited run of 2500 wooden boxes for housing 75cl bottles and a further 300 just for Jeroboams of the Champagne.
Each package is handmade and individually numbered, and the UK has been given an allocation of 120 boxes for the standard bottle and a further 30 for the Jeroboam.
Ruinart’s Champagne trolley for the Masterpiece art fair
Currently the gift boxes are on sale exclusively at Masterpiece for £90 for the bottle and £550 for the Jeroboam, although Herschtel said the package would be available to buy online through the Ruinart website following the fair, as well as in a handful of selected retailers, such as Selfridges.
Herschtel also told db that Ruinart were developing a range of two Champagne glasses for the Champagne house.
Manufactured by Lehmann Glass in France, she explained that the house wanted a Champagne glass that was wider and more bulbous than a flute because Ruinart didn’t like to use straight-sided stemware for serving the Champagne.
A range of two glasses, one just for tasting Ruinart Champagnes and another for restaurants and events, will be launched in January 2014 according to Herschtel.
Ruinart also used its tie-up with Masterpiece to highlight the influence of bottle size on the evolution of Champagne.
A display of Ruinart’s new gift box at Masterpiece
Following a blind tasting in black ISO glasses, it was revealed that four of the six Champagnes shown were all Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, but in different formats, from half-bottles to Jeroboams.
The half-bottle showed significantly more developed aromas and flavours, with notes of bruised apple and a slightly savoury note, while the Jeroboam appeared the most youthful, even showing a delicate sulphidic note from reduction.
Gerard Basset MS, MW, OBE who oversaw the tasting, explained that the Champagne spends more or less time on its yeast lees depending on the format, with the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs in half bottles resting for 18 months on its lees, the bottle for 30 months, the magnum for 42 months, and yet more time for the Jeroboam.
Basset said that the Champagne in magnum was his preferred, based on the blind tasting yesterday.