x
  • Country ranking ?

    801
  • Producer ranking ?

    6
  • Decanting time

    15min
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Shellfish with guacamole

The Story

The blend. Produced in the cellars of the former Saint-Nicaise abbey (13th century) in Reims, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs receives all the lavish care and attention it needs to reach its peak. Every bottle of Comtes de Champagne strictly adheres to all of the following to make it such a rare luxury and the connoisseurs choice :

• The Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs cuvée is made entirely from Chardonnays from only the best vines in the prestigious Côte des Blancs.
• It is only produced when the harvest is of exceptional quality worthy of a vintage year.

• Only the wine from the first press – the Cuvée – is used: a sure guarantee of finesse. • 5% of the wines used to make it have been aged for 4 months in new oak barrels (a third of which are renewed every year), enhancing the intrinsic qualities and complexities of the final blend.

• Only after slow and patient ageing for almost 10 years in the Saint-Nicaise chalk pits (Crayères) does this cuvée of exceptional quality come out into the light. 

 

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Vintage 1996

Consistently great but from time to time simply divine, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne has consecutively been an apt contender for the title of the best champagne on the market. All recent vintages have been successful; the intense 1996 being one of the finest of the vintage, the 1998 possessing classic Comtes elegance and the 1999 demonstrating a more softer side of Comtes. But in 2000 Taittinger and its reputed cellar master Loïc Dupont hit jackpot. This warm, overt vintage produced many heavy and overly ripe champagnes, but in Comtes the richness given by the year is bound to a velvet-smooth texture and a fine, fresh acidity that creates an exiting tension one wishes to marvel time and again.

 


Comtes de Champagne possesses a flawless track record all the way down to its inaugural vintage, 1952. It is reputed to be the first prestige cuvée blanc de blancs, if one does not count the then small mono-cru blanc de blancs Salon. Today it rivals for the title of the best blanc de blancs quite level-headedly with Dom Ruinart, Salon and Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires.
Why blanc de blancs then? It was already Pierre Taittinger who believed in Chardonnay. Following his instinct, he created the light and elegant Chardonnay-dominant floral and perfumed style as Taittinger’s trademark. Consistent with this vision, the house’s prestige cuvée was to be a 100 percent Chardonnay whose emphasis is on Avize and Mesnil fruit.

 


The wine is produced in a reductionist style in stainless steel vats but since the 1989 vintage a fraction of the wine has been aged in fairly new oak barrels for four months. This gives a boost to the wine’s creamy texture and enhances its hallmark toasty qualities.
After bottling the wines are transported to the ancient Gallo-Roman chalk cellars of Saint-Niçaise to ferment and mature. The St-Niçaise abbey was destroyed in the French Revolution and much later the Taittingers bought the ruins and built their 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 production takes place at the modern winery facilities at Rue de la Justice.
Great champagnes are traditionally named after people. Taittinger makes no exception having chosen to honour the region by naming their prestige cuvée Comtes de Champagne – Counts of Champagne. The origins of the Counts of Champagne lie in the 7th century feudal society. Originally, before the 11th century, the Counts of Troyes had had the ruling 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 especially during the times of Thibault IV Champagne flourished. He arranged famous 49-day festivities that brought prosperity to the region. The story of the Champagne Counts came to an end finally when the crown and the Champagne County were unites as Louis X rose to power. Taittinger, still owning the historical Comtes de Champagne residence today, named their prestige cuvée to honour this history.


Complex story but complex is the wine, too. The champagne’s smooth, layered character develops over 10 years’ ageing period in the cellars. This, the wine’s attractive 10 g/l dosage and sufficient post-disgorgement rest make Comtes de Champagne such an attractive champagne already upon release.
We toast to congratulate Taittinger. This house that has recently returned back to family hands, has quickly built a strong spirit with Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger at the helm supported by both of his children Clovis and Vitalie.

By Champagne magazine

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

22 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

Of course, far too young, and as surely far too tempting to drink right now because the wine is already mighty tasty. More width than length so far. More nuttiness and breadiness than exoticism in the current state. Is sure to be another classic. Starting to get there as early as autumn 2007. Clear as a bell and stunningly beautiful! 2011 perhaps the most drinkable and best of all 96's. Close to full maturity with lot of roasted and toffee richness.
  • 96p

This is a beautiful blend of toasty aromas, coffee beans and flowers. The taste showcases perfectly the creaminess of the Chardonnay, while the superb acid structure of a truly great vintage supports the wine perfectly. Lingers delightfully long, has a rich and light nature of excellence.

  • 96p
På pappret borde detta vara ett vin för vinkällaren. Men som jag uttryckt det många gånger förut, skönt åldrande i champagne bygger inte enbart på syra utan måste även ha rikedom och substans för att detta skall lyckas. Doften drar mot en riktigt bra Chablis Grand Cru från någon av de stora kanonerna. I smakpektrat finner jag idag mineral och omisskännlig klass. Ljuvlig perfektion senast!
  • 97p

1 official sellers in 1 countries

Show all Wine Moments

Information

Origin

Reims, Champagne

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Drinking Temperature

6

Other wines from this producer

Brut Prestige Rosé

Brut Réserve

Brut Réserve FIFA 2014

Collection

Comtes de Champagne Rosé

Comtes de Champagne Rosé Vinothèque

Comtes de Champagne Vinothèque

Cuvée Prestige

Demi-Sec

Future version of Comtes de Champagne

Les Folies de la Marquetterie

Nocturne

Nocturne Rosé

Prelude

Vintage

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

96p
 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

This is a beautiful blend of toasty aromas, coffee beans and flowers. The taste showcases perfectly the creaminess of the Chardonnay, while the superb acid structure of a truly great vintage supports the wine perfectly. Lingers delightfully long, has a rich and light nature of excellence.

2m 19d ago

96p
 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

"Of course, far too young, and as surely far too tempting to drink right now because the wine is already mighty tasty. More width than length so far. More nuttiness and breadiness than exoticism in the current state. Is sure to be another classic. Starting to get there as early as autumn 2007. Clear as a bell and stunningly beautiful! 2011 perhaps the most drinkable and best of all 96's. Close to full maturity with lot of roasted and toffee richness."

1y 23d ago

97p
 Björnstierne Antonson / sommelier, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

"På pappret borde detta vara ett vin för vinkällaren. Men som jag uttryckt det många gånger förut, skönt åldrande i champagne bygger inte enbart på syra utan måste även ha rikedom och substans för att detta skall lyckas. Doften drar mot en riktigt bra Chablis Grand Cru från någon av de stora kanonerna. I smakpektrat finner jag idag mineral och omisskännlig klass. Ljuvlig perfektion senast!
"

1y 2m ago

93p
 Juha Jormanainen, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

"Small intense bubbles, interesting nose with aromas of rhubarb, green apple, lime and marmalade. Very nice mousse and on palate brioche, buttery toast and date. Very nice finish. Best with food, like slightly salted salmon or cold smoked trout."

2y 3m ago

96p
 Björnstierne Antonson / sommelier, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

"Non Dosage & à la Volée.
Förvåndnade liten skillnad från den vanliga upplagan trots nydegorgering a la minute och utan socker. Fin rostad karaktär och sagolik spänst.
"

4y 4m ago

96p
 Björnstierne Antonson / sommelier, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

"Förstås alldeles för ung och lika säkert alldeles för frestande att dricka redan nu eftersom vinet redan är mäkta gott. Mer bredd än längd än så länge. Mer nötighet och brödighet än exotism i dagsläget. Kommer säkert att bli ännu en klassiker. Börjar att bli det redan hösten 2007. Klockren och sagolikt vacker! 2011 den kanske mest drickbara och goda av alla 96:or. Nära full mognad med massa rostad och knäckig rikedom. Klockren och sagolikt vacker!"

4y 4m ago

93p
 Totte Steneby, Sommelier (Sweden)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

"A nose that opens up with lots of toasty and roasted aromas, minerals and just hints of luxurious tropical fruits, citrus and honey. Could this be anything else than Comtes de Champagne?
Still young and very tight palate with tropical fruit, citrus, green and yellow apples, roasted brioche, fine grip and long but slightly hollow and tart, bitter finish.
Exceptional wine but the least inspiring bottle of Comtes de Champagne 1996 I’ve had.
Today only 93 points but I’ve scored this higher in the past.
Tasted 8 times.
Drink 2014-2026
93p"

4y 4m ago

95p
 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Comtes de Champagne 1996  ( Taittinger )

"Medium-deep lemon colour. Overt, elegnt nose, lemon, vanoilla, brulee, taost, charming, wuite restained not overtly toasty nor giving. Gunflint, more expressive on the wonderfully toasty palate, young."

4y 5m ago

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