This superb Champagne house owes its creation to a monk, Dom Thierry Ruinart, who, noticing a new fashion among aristocrats for sparkling wine, encouraged his family in the region to master its art. In 1729 his nephew Nicolas founded the cellar, the very first Champagne house. Timing was all, with Ruinart able to take advantage of Louis XV’s recent decree allowing sparkling wine to be shipped abroad in quantity for the first time. By 1761 Ruinart was selling 36,000 bottles a year and a byword for quality and luxury. Among lighter Champagnes Ruinart is rated ‘excellent’ by Robert Parker and ‘extremely stylish’ by Hugh Johnson. This wine is a tribute to Chardonnay’s elegance and finesse. Fabulous solo or as partner to hors d’oeuvres or fish.