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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.
This warm year started with a cold winter and mild spring temperatures. Early summer was variable but August and September provided ample sunshine and warmth contributing to fine grape health. Pinot Noir especially excelled. Grape harvest, of generally high sugar content yet soft acidity, started on September 8th. 2009 is a year of generous wines that showed well early. An apt example of a vintage of the recent era, in which retaining freshness poses more problems than attaining ripeness. Good grape health contributed to the overall quality, and despite the richness of the wines, heaviness did not end up being an issue. There is quite some heterogenity amongst the year's produce but the best seem truly age-worthy. The vintage's finest include Louis Roederer Cristal and Cristal Rosé, Dom Pérignon and Philipponnat Clos des Goisses.