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With 288 hectares of vines, the Taittinger family are one of the largest vineyard owners in Champagne. Their holdings provide half of their needs for their annual Champagne production. Such extensive vineyard ownership is viewed as a way to control quality, but the company also concentrates on workforce management.
A system of task-related employee contracts has been adopted over the last 20 years at Taittinger, replacing hourly contracts. Today, each employee has sole responsibility for about three hectares of vines, including a requirement to meet specified yields. In other words, they work in a similar way to independent growers and are paid by the task rather than by the hour.
An unusually warm spring led to early flowering and initial optimism, which soon gave way to disappointment following one of the murkiest summers on record. Overall, 2007 was a difficult vintage saved by last-minute sunshine in late-August. Mildew and rot were the main culprits of the harvest, and the level of gluconic acid rocketed. The harvest began early, on August 24th, and was abundant in volume averaging 14,242 kg/ha. Pinot Meunier posed the biggest problems and Chardonnay clearly outperformed the rest. Many of the iconic prestige cuvée blanc de blancs were successfully produced, such as Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Ruinart Dom Ruinart, Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Louis and Salon Le Mesnil. Some blended prestige cuvées such as Louis Roederer Cristal and Philipponnat Clos des Goisses were also made. Champagnes from 2007 are typically high in acidity and restrainedly classic in style, but lack the spine and strength of the greatest harvest years. Even if the vintage only receives three stars, its best Chardonnays are well worth seeking and storing.