The Most Seductive Chardonnay: 1998 Dom Ruinart

Posted by CrushWine

1998 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
The Most Seductive Side of Chardonnay...
at least north of Montrachet

"The 1998 Dom Ruinart is simply gorgeous."
- Wine Advocate

Dom Ruinart has a serious reputation for their Chardonnay - their Blanc de Blancs present one of the most suave and graceful expressions of the grape, at least north of Montrachet.

This is a bottling that is held in the highest esteem in Europe; it resides in force on the great wine lists of the continent, alongside elites such as Dom Pérignon, Krug, Cristal and Salon. Dom Ruinart has a reputation for aging that hangs with the big boys.

It's a curious fact that such an important house, with such a profound history within Champagne (see below), should be something of an "insider's secret" in the U.S.But that is certainly the case - at least for the moment. Their absence from the U.S. market has created a situation where the cult of Dom Ruinart has spread largely by word of mouth.

However, this low profile means the Champagnes are, at the moment, incredibly undervalued. This will change quickly, the wine is already gaining serious momentum and collector's praise thanks to the talented guiding hands of Chef de Caves, Frederic Panaiotis.

At the ~$100 price, the 1998 Dom Ruinart is the greatest value in tête de cuvée Champagne. It is a wine of immense richness and generosity and if I were put on the spot to name the most impressive Champagne under $120, this would no doubt be my pick.

The glowing critical reception of the 1998 Dom Ruinart reinforces my own sense of the wine's immense quality (see below). I have personally collected Dom Ruinart for 20 years - the 1969, 73, 79, 82, 88, 90 and 93 are just stunning Champagnes that continue to develop in the cellar. I have a personal affection for the wines and I have to say it's gratifying to read the review of the 1998 with phrases such as, "simply gorgeous."

While the 1996 we offered last year is a study in mineral, precision and tension, the 1998 is more generous with a decadent richness and beautifully ripe fruit. This is one hedonistic Dom Ruinart - the most seductive young Dom Ruinart I've tasted since the 1993, which is currently drinking unbelievably.While the 1998 has great focus, as the review below suggests, our multiple experiences with the bottle have shown it to be one with plush layers of deep fruit, ripe and ready to be picked, wound around a core of mineral - picture perfect balance and form.

At this price, there may not be a more impressive Champagne to enjoy this holiday season. Though with even more time on the cork, this wine will ooze sex appeal.

We are receiving our one and only parcel of this wine this month and as one of Dom Ruinart's most passionate fans, we have garnered a generous allocation and truly incredible pricing. We will try and honor all reasonable requests though all orders will be subject to confirmation.

Please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463 to order.

Robert Schagrin
Managing Partner
Crush Wine & Spirits

1998 Dom Ruinart

Wine Advocate: "The 1998 Dom Ruinart Brut Vintage is simply gorgeous. This taut, focused Champagne is currently quite shut down and appears to be holding back much of its potential. Still, the wine possesses plenty of density in its ripe Chardonnay fruit, smoke and minerals, with a long, subtle finish. All this wine needs is time in bottle. If past vintages are any indication, the 1998 should age beautifully. Readers who enjoy fresh wines will find plenty to admire in this wine now, but those who enjoy Champagnes with a little age on them will want to wait a few years before enjoying this fine effort."

Champagne History: Dom Ruinart & Dom Pérignon

Founded in 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart, this is the first Champagne house in existence. In fact, the house's famous deep chalk cellars (called the crayères), excavated by the Romans in 50BC, became a popular place to visit early on and are now considered a historical monument by the French government. This is a magical place and it was a true highlight of my first visit to Champagne years ago.

As the story goes, Dom Pérignon was a good old friend of Dom Thierry Ruinart who went on to pass the secrets he had learned to his nephew, Nicolas Ruinart, the founder of Ruinart.

Fans of Dom Pérignon will have a natural affinity for Dom Ruinart. The two houses show a similar style due to this shared, storied history.

Given this history and the importance of Dom Ruinart, it would make sense that the prestige cuvée of the house should honor him.

The first release of the Dom Ruinart prestige cuvée was the 1959. The wine is 100% Chardonnay all sourced from Grand Cru vineyards in the Côtes des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. Only the best Chardonnay grapes are used and it is only made in the best vintages.