Ruinart and art, Masterpiece Art Fair

Jul 03, 13 Ruinart and art, Masterpiece Art Fair
Ruinart as art

Ruinart as art

Masterpiece Art Fair was this past week and I was invited to a unique art and champagne matching tour of the event by the champagne house Ruinart.

Masterpiece Art Fair is an annual event that takes place on the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Every year they erect a temporary art gallery where you can find everything from Greek Sculptures to Maserati cars on display, all for sale. It’s nice to see how the other half lives now and then.

champagne trolley that followed us on the tour

champagne Ruinart trolley that followed us on the tour

Ruinart is one of the sponsors and holds masterclasses on their champagnes throughout the show. This year they decided to do something a big different and invited a group of journalists and writers to a blind tasting with a twist. We were to go on a tour of the show and stop and selected pieces of art where we would be given a short lecture and then a Ruinart champagne that was selected to accompany it. It was a bit like the whole matching wine with music exercise. As a matter of fact, we did have some music as well thrown into the tour!

Marchesa Luisa Casati as part of the blind tasting

Marchesa Luisa Casati as part of the blind tasting

We visited 6 artworks and at each were given a black tasting glass with the Ruinart to match. It was fun to try and match the champagne with the mood of the art while we were viewing it. As it was blind, it was hard to pick out which vintage or even blend we were tasting but it was fun to put down our observations, drinking in the art and the champagne at the same time.

Client - Caroline Addy at Phipps, for Ruinart

contemplating the art

What came as a surprise was that after the tour, we went back and sat down to find out what champagnes we had been drinking. Turns out, they had all been the Ruinart blanc de blanc in various bottle sizes! I had guessed the first one was a blanc de blanc but after that my guesses were all over the place.

Ruinart from half bottle to jeroboam

Ruinart from half bottle to jeroboam

Afterwards, we had a chat with Gerard Basset OBE, who had organised the tasting and even he said that although he knew that there were all the same champagne, it was an interesting experiment to taste them blind. Each one was very different. We tried them in 750 ml, magnum, a rose in 750 ml ( the rose being the one exception), half bottle, jeroboam and back to the 750ml bottle to finish.

Gerard Basset, OBE

Gerard Basset, OBE pic courtesy, This is Phipps

In his opinion, it was a very illogical tasting done in a logical way. We were all looking for how the champagne related to the art more then what was the differences in the champagne. They did taste differently though because of the format in which they were aged. Despite being all the same non-vintage, there were marked differences. The half bottle seemed to have aged the best and Gerard told us that it is a very popular format. Perhaps that is for the best that it ages so quickly and well, an indication of what you can expect from a regular sized bottle in a few years.

Did the art match the champagne? Well, as with anything to do with taste, it was a very subjective exercise and I think I’ll keep my results to myself….


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