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    04:42 AM
  • Wine average?

    92.2 Tb
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    146
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    13
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    5

History

Taittinger Since the very first days of prestige cuvées, two wines – Cristal and Dom Pérignon – have been left unchallenged in both prestige and pricing.

But behind them a number of prestige cuvées are each fighting for a place in the limelight. Despite the fact that the prestige cuvée of Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, has a long standing in history and a perfect track record of quality, neither the wine’s reputation nor price has ever quite risen to the level they could. The new management of Taittinger is now determined to claim the crown as the finest Blanc de Blancs prestige cuvée. The Taittinger House changed hands in 2005, when the American investing company Starwood Capital acquired the family-run company. Starwood purchased the entire Société du Louvre holding company of which Champagne Taittinger was a part. As Starwood’s main target was the hotel business they decided to put Taittinger for sale soon afterwards.

 

There were numerous bidders for the company, from Indian investors to rival Champagne Houses, who all had their eyes on Taittinger’s vineyard holdings. The deal was eventually done with a member of the Taittinger family, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, grandson of the original founder. He was able to make the purchase with the help of Crédit Agricole bank at the purchase price of 660 million euros. The family reacquisition in 2006 was a great accomplishment and a brave act from Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger and his descendants. Taittinger has gone back to being a core family company with both of Pierre-Emmanuel’s children, Clovis and Vitalid, working for the House. In these times of consolidation it is a refreshing change. The purchase has brought about winds of change.

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Vineyards

 A facelift of the prestige cuvée Comtes de Champagne was put on the list of things to-do.

Perfect atmosphere Great champagnes are traditionally named after people. Taittinger makes no exception, having chosen to honour the history of the house and the region by naming their prestige cuvée Comtes de Champagne (Counts of Champagne). To get to the bottom of the story of this great wine, I descend into the atmospheric underground cellars of St-Niçaise where Comtes de Champagne is born. Entering the oldest part, the St-Niçaise Abbey crypt, the ambiance of its 1,000 year history forces a complete silence on me. I gaze at the innumerable texts and pictures from different periods of time engraved on the soft, white chalk walls.

 

Surrounding me there rests millions of bottles of Comtes de Champagne, fermenting and maturing in perfect silence, temperature and humidity. Taittinger Cellar Master Loïc Dupont breaks the silence: “We only touch these bottles a dozen times during the years they spend in the cellar. But we talk to them every day…” The St-Niçaise abbey was destroyed in the French Revolution and the required funds for its reconstruction were never found. The Taittingers bought the ruins and built the cellars into these monumental historical surroundings. Today, the underground cellar network at St-Niçaise is used entirely for maturing Comtes de Champagne.

 

The rest of the production takes place at the modern winery facilities at Rue de la Justice. The abbey ruins and the interlinked Gallo-Roman cellar network make perfect surroundings for this sublime champagne to develop. After all, the house and the Counts of Champagne go far back in Champagne history. Great purchases Taittinger is the third oldest Champagne House. The Taittinger name, however, does not have an equally long standing in the area. The Champagne House, founded in 1732, was originally called Fourneaux. It was Pierre Taittinger who bought the estate in 1932 renaming it Taittinger. Simultaneously Pierre Taittinger, having worked as a champagne merchant earlier, acquired large plots of land in the best Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages. One of his purchases was also the historical property of Château de la Marquetterie.

 

The destructions of the First World War and the following depression enabled the purchases. He continued to take advantage of the financially challenging times after the Second World War and enlarged his empire even further. It is thanks to his wise purchases at the time that Taittinger owns today over half of the vineyards for its grape needs. The vineyard ownership has become an asset of the privileged as the prices for both the land and grapes have rocketed. Pierre Taittinger’s venture was a success from its early days. Soon, the company was moved from Mailly to the centre of Reims to an 11th century building that once belonged to the Counts of Champagne. Comtes de Champagne The origins of the Counts of Champagne lie in the 7th century feudal society. Prior to the 11th century, the Counts of Troyes had ruled but during the time of Thibault II the power shifted to the Champagne County, whose Count had his residence in Reims. Thibault II was a mighty man ranking only second to the king. However, it was during the times of Thibault IV that Champagne really flourished.

 

He arranged the famous 49-day festivities in the area that brought prosperity to the region. The reputation and export of the region’s products rose to new heights. The story of the Champagne Counts came to an end finally when the crown and the Champagne County were united as Louis X rose to power. Taittinger, owning the historical Comtes de Champagne residence named their prestige cuvée to honour this history. Birth of the Cuvée It was Pierre Taittinger who saw the great potential in Chardonnay as being the predominant grape variety in the blend. Following his instinct, he created the light and elegant Chardonnay-dominant floral and perfumed style as Taittinger’s trademark. Consistent with this vision, the Taittinger prestige cuvée was to be a 100 per cent Chardonnay wine from the best Côte de Blancs villages.

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Winemaking

Comtes de Champagne’s inaugural vintage was 1952 and it is reputed to be the first prestige cuvée Blanc de Blancs.

'With its charm and success it was able to boost the popularity of the entire Blanc de Blancs style. Cellar Master Loïc Dupont comments on the construction of the wine: “The wine comes almost 100 per cent from the Grand Cru villages of Côte des Blancs. The emphasis is on Avize and Mesnil fruit. It is a peculiar prestige cuvée in the sense that only half of the raw material for the 200,000 bottles we produce originates in our own vineyards. The rest are sourced via long term contracts.” The wine is produced in a modern reductionist style by fermenting the must at a controlled temperature of 16 degrees celsius.

 

Since the 1989 vintage, a fraction of the wine has been aged in fairly new oak barrels for four months. Loïc Dupont explains: “We do not wish to add any oak flavour to the wine but oak maturation is beneficial for the wine’s structure. Also the toasty aroma of the Chardonnay we accomplish at youth is most welcome. 20 per cent of the oak barrels are new, 20 per cent one year old, 20 per cent two years old and so on. Amongst other French oaks, we use also local Champagne oak. We are constantly developing the winemaking with trials of different oaks and toasts as well as yeast lees stirring (battonage).”

 

After bottling, the wines are transported to the Gallo-Roman chalk cellars of Saint-Niçaise to ferment and mature. The House has a policy to keep the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs on the lees for close to 10 years, which makes it deliciously wide and rich when it is brought onto the market. The wine is dosed with 10 g/l residual sugar at disgorgement and left to settle for six months before its launch. To-do list Professionals and champagne lovers have always appreciated Comtes de Champagne for what it is and the wine’s quality has been high throughout its existence. Why is it not more famous or expensive then? There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, there is the quantity. Far less of Comtes is produced than its larger rivals. The status of Cristal or Dom Pérignon, therefore, is best left unchallenged, as there is simply not enough Comtes de Champagne around to cater for everybody. Instead, Taittinger should take a strong move to conquer the premium position of Blanc de Blancs category, now shared fairly evenly between Comtes, Salon and Dom Ruinart

 

A new page was turned in the Taittinger book after the family bought back the House in 2006.

The fresh management, marketing and sales teams are dusting off old habits and listening to the markets in order to lift Taittinger’s image up to the level of its wine quality. The first product the new team wanted to give a facelift to was the Comtes. Having always been appreciated as a wine, Comtes has so far not been marketed or perceived as a luxury good. Now, the packaging and advertising are being reworked with the help of Marketing Manager Dominique Garréta, who brought with her branding expertise from the cosmetics industry. As a part of the brand construction work, the company decided to make significant price increases at the beginning of 2008.

 

This took the market by surprise but the timing was in accordance with most Houses’ price increases. The increases were done to tame the accelerating demand for Comtes and to position its image at the right level compared to the competition. In contrast to its competition, Taittinger has not launched a line of older vintages or late-disgorged champagnes. Due to the old management’s views on champagne’s limited ageing capacity, there are no great reserves of older vintages.

 

The new management has also turned this habit around by keeping back larger stock of current vintages. All in all, it has been fascinating to see the change of course at this traditional Champagne House. I first visited it in 2005 and a lot has changed since then. The early signs are more than encouraging as the family seems to be nurturing the brand wholeheartedly. Their task is made easier by the existing top quality of the wines. It is a wonderful asset when a superb product is intact and one needs only to polish the image. 

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16 different wines with 116 vintages

1 official sellers in 1 countries

Show all Wine Moments

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Dominus Estate 1987 - "One of the best cabernet blends I had for some time. A fabulous bottle. Blackberry, plums, tannins still very present, will easily live for another five years." 97 points

13d 11h ago

 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  28 wines 

The weather gods were in their best mood in 2008 vintage, and the vines remained unusually fresh from the attack and gave a very good harvest- ing. An absolutely gorgeous vintage that has it all!


Best vintage since 1996, and unlike the tart 1990s, there are wonderful wines directly with their delicious fruit intensity and match- less balance. All the ones I tasted from the vats are magical, and I have a hard time imagining nothing other than buying everything you see of this vintage. So far the leaders are Diebolt- Vallois eur de Passion ahead of Vouette & Sorbée and Michel Turgy, but many giants will surely win over them.

26d 12h ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  11 wines 

Memorable dinner at Teppanyaki Restaurant Sazanka, the first and only Teppanyaki restaurant in Europe awarded with a Michelin star with wines like Bouchard Montrachet 2014,  Dom Perignon P2 Rosé 1996 etc..highly recommend!

1m 10d ago

 Edward Cuvée, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  10 wines 

some weekend wines

2m 21d ago

 Edward Cuvée, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  14 wines 

nice peeps good wines. really enjoyed DP Rosé and P2 :P 

4m 4h ago

 Philip Tuck / Master of Wine, MW (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Louis Roederer Cristal 1996 (Magnum) Absolutely stunning nose of great complexity, enticement and elegance which evolved beautifully in the glass.  Still lean and elegant as you would expect from the vintage. Immensely satisfying with plenty of time to go although it is difficult to imagine how it can continue to improve.  For once a Cristal that exceeds expectations!. Impressive.  The bottles tasted were also excellent.  19.5

4m 9d ago

 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Many prestige champagnes debuted in 1959 vintage, for example, Dom Ruinart and Pol Roger Blanc de Chardonnay. A large harvest of champagnes, that often ended up above 13 percent alcohol because of the extremely hot summer. The wines have proven to be very sustainable, despite the low acid. Power and concentration are great regardless if the wines are dominated by Chardonnay or pinot noir. A wonderful champagne year in its style!

5m 12d ago

 Paulius Gruodis, Pro (Lithuania)  tasted  1 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  14 wines 

This is not very frequent that in a single champagne tasting you are being offered some rare and old champagnes many of which score some bold 97-99 points. Certainly, it will not be surprising for anyone to assume this is due to the fact that these particular bottles were either oenothèque versions (late-disgorged having spent many years extra in the cellar) or with a perfect provenance. Otherwise I do not have any other explanation for huge scores I gave last weekend, especially, given that I had tried many of them on different occasions from bottles with original disgorgement. And what a difference if compared! This was a special tasting not only because of the above-mentioned features but also the content of the line-up itself. Top performers of the night were 1979 Pierre Peters Les Chétillons, 1990 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises, 1973 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Selosse trio from 1990 (50%), 1989 (25%) and 1988 (25%) as well as another trio by Anselme from 1998 (50%), 1997 (25%) and 1996 (25%), 1988 Franck Bonville Avize Grand Cru, 1985 Magnum Pommery Flacon d'Exception. To capture the great moment we have finished with 1870 Ingham Whitaker & Co. Marsala Superiore Riserva. Delicious indeed.

5m 21d ago

 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  26 wines 

KRUG CLOS DU MESNIL 1995 / The toasty nose, with a suggestion of oak, is both subtle and layered. The structure is exceptional; the rich fruitiness of the vintage is combined charmingly with the stylish acidity of the Chardonnay. The concentration is perfect and the length of the taste does not leave any room for improvement. The wines of the 1995 vintage can usually be enjoyed at a young age but the rather unattached aroma of oak should be allowed to integrate into the fruitiness of the wine over time.

6m 19d ago

 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  4 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  20 wines 

The 1983 vintage was a challenging one at Latour. The flowering period in June was unproblematic and July was very hot, with a temperature 4° C above the seasonal average. But the weather was stormy and humidity remained high causing problems with cryptogamic diseases and black rot. The unpredictable and humid weather continued in August, lowering expectations for the harvest. But in September the  fine weather finally set in for a period of three months: the spread of rot was halted and even regressed. From then on, ripening progressed perfectly. The vintage started on 22 September and continued until 11 October.


            Moderately rich purple colour. Mature nose of cassis, undergrowth and attractive spiciness. Despite the difficult conditions and attractive elegance and harmony was captured in the 1983 vintage. Less concentration that in most Latours but the wine has charm and moderate tannin and refreshing acidity. Touches of oak and spiciness on the long aftertaste. A delicate wine at a perfect age for drinking. Will not benefit much from further maturation but will keep for another decade.

7m 25d ago

 Luciano Cesare, Wine Dealer (Italy)  tasted  1 wines  from  Taittinger . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Dom Ruinart 1982 / Good looking normal size bottle, in an excellent condition with 2 cm level ullage below the cork. Colour is straw, and looking bright, healthy and medium. On the nose it is intense, fresh, seductive and round. The taste is fresh, rich, fruity, medium-bodied, with balanced, complex, concentrated structure and youthful. The finish is medium long, round, gentle and vibrant. This wine is sophisticated and fine. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 15min before tasting. Good value for money.

8m 7d ago

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