Ruinart Interpretation lunch

Apr 20, 11 Ruinart Interpretation lunch

It’s a funny thing but now I’ve started to smell my food before I eat it. Granted, I don’t smell all my food but anytime I encounter a new dish or perhaps a new ingredient, I take a second before putting it into my mouth to think about it. I’ll take a deep whiff of it and  try and commit it to memory. It might seem a funny thing to do but it’s a habit that’s crossed over from my wine tasting duties.


I’m probably not the only one who does that in the wine trade and it’s something that I find myself doing more and more. I went to a lunch the other day with the cellar master of the champagne house Ruinart, Frédéric Panaïotis who, although he didn’t mention he sniffed his food before eating it, is a man who very much lives by his nose. It’s up to Frederic to chose the wines that go into making the Ruinart champagnes and a big part of that, besides the taste, is the aromas of the wine. Frederic loves the aromas of his wines and he wanted to convey the exciting aromatic bouquet not only to connoisseurs but also the everyday champagne drinker. How to do that?

What better way to explore the aromas of a wine then with a professional of the olfactory senses? Frederic teamed up with the internationally renowned aroma and flavour experts of International Flavours and Fragrances to pinpoint the aromas that make up Ruinart’s emblamatic cuvee, the blanc de blanc.

Anne Flipo of IFF and Frederic got down to analyzing the aromas and came up with 8 distinct fragrances that make up the blanc de blanc. Ruinart wanted to share this experience with the world and developed the Ruinart Interpretation giftbox. The giftbox comprises 8 small bottles of one particular fragrance that is a component of the champagne. Our task before lunch was to sniff all 8 aromas individually (we dipped strips of paper into the bottles) and decide what they were. Ruinart had kindly provided us with a list of 16 possible candidates and it was up to us to figure it out. It was actually a lot of fun! Me and my smelling partner, Alan, managed to pick out all 8 from the list. What was most fun was just smelling each aroma on it’s own. This is where my all those hours of winetasting come into play, or so I like to think 😉

At the end we combined all the strips of paper and compared it to the champagne in our glasses. Amazing! The aromas were almost identical and thanks to the exercise of smelling each aroma individually, I was able to pick out each one within the bouquet of the wine. First the white flowers, then the fruit, followed by the spices and finally the citrus notes coming thought. I wish all wine tasting could be like this!

Afterwards, at lunch we did more smell comparisons with each dish and the food really was enhanced by the champagne. Each dish was matched to go with a particular aroma and really, it was a most fantastic lunch – for the olfactory, gustatory and optical senses.

The gift boxes come complete with all eight aromas, a ninth bottle which is a compilation of the 8 aromas, a bottle of Ruinart blanc de blanc and a tip sheet as well as a fun game to play around with the aromas. The gift boxes will be available from Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols from April at the suggested retail price of £85. A great gift for anyone who has an interest in champagne (or even just likes to drink it) and a fun way to learn how to spot the aromas.


  1. What an amazing tasting! I did Ruinart with my dad in 2009 and it was so hard to get him to leave. Our favorite tasting of the day. Great product!

  2. kate carlisle /

    Do you know if they ship to Italy? I love the idea.

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