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Appeal for original Dom Ruinart

Champagne Ruinart is making an appeal for bottles in good condition of the original vintages of its leading cuvee Dom Ruinart.

Speaking to the drinks business, Ruinart’s cellarmaster, Frédéric Panaïotis, said the house has no bottles of either the inaugural 1959 Dom Ruinart blanc or the 1966 Dom Ruinart rosé.

The appeal follows the discovery in Alsace of 24 bottles of the 1929 vintage which belonged to a former member of the trade and which were acquired by him in the 1930s. They haven’t moved since and when they were offered to the house Panaïotis collected the wines himself.

Around half of the bottles are in good condition and the others will need to be properly assessed. As the house was founded in 1729 the bottles come from its bicentenary year and Panaïotis said the best of the bottles will probably be saved for the house’s tercentenary in 2029.

Ruinart did already own one bottle of the ’29 Panaïotis admitted but he added that it had not been in very good condition. At the end of the second world war the house was left with just 10,000 bottles in its cellar, mostly newer vintages with almost its entire store of historic wines having been taken by the Germans – and no doubt a few Allied soldiers too.

As such the house is keen to track down older wines whenever they appear, especially if they are in good condition.

As it was created post-1945 stocks of Dom Ruinart were spared the plundering but small production (the US received only 1,300 cases) among other factors has led to a crucial lack of these benchmark wines in the house’s cellars.

There may not even be much that still exists though Panaïotis did say a friend of his had heard of a bottle of the 1966 being bought in London recently.

Although he did not explicitly say the house would seek to buy back older vintages he did caution collectors that old Champagne did not automatically guarantee high value and stressed that only bottles in good condition would be considered.

Bordeaux Index has a bottle of the 1966 Dom Ruinart blanc which it is offering for US$600/£400.

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