Overview of the Wine
Taittinger is one of just five Champagne houses to cellar its wines in the famous ‘Crayeres’ of Reims – chalk caves originally dug by the Romans. The house owns four kilometres of Crayeres, nowadays used to age their prestige cuvees.
Taittinger’s history can be traced back to 1734, when it was originally known as Forest-Fourneaux, founded by Jacques Fourneaux who worked closely with local Benedictine monks to learn how to produce wine. As such, the house is the third oldest Champagne producer in history.
The estate was bought by the Taittingers – a family of wine merchants – in 1932, and thanks to the great depression and subsequent low land prices, the family also picked up huge swathes of vineyard. From 1945-1960, Francois Taittinger established the cellars in the Abbey of Saint-Nicaise, and after his death in 1960 his brother Claude took over, pushing the estate into a Champagne house of world renown. Such was the status of the label that the Taittinger family soon expanded its business into other luxury goods. However, this eventually led to financial difficulties, and in 2005 the Taittinger brand – including the Champagne house – was sold to the American owned Starwood Hotel Group. The sale was badly received by the Champagne industry, with many fearing the new owners – unfamiliar with the culture of Champagne – would put profit ahead of quality.
Just one year later, Claude’s nephew, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, who had always been opposed to the sale, negotiated a €660m deal with the Starwood Group, and the Taittinger family resumed ownership of the company. Taittinger is therefore one of the few remaining independently owned Champagne Houses.
Grape / Blend
Champagne, FranceWinemaker's Tasting Notes
The Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is the finest example of the Taittinger House style and is always a vintage cuvée. It is made with 100% white grapes from the 5 villages with a Grands Crus classification for the Chardonnay grape (Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Oger, Mesnil-sur-Oger).
This cuvée is created using juice from the first press only. A small percentage (5 %) of the blend is aged in fresh oak barrels to create the very delicate balance of toasted notes in the final wine. Taittinger knows it must be patient with these great Chardonnays, which are the crowning glory of its terroir; the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs remains for up to 10 years in the chalk quarries beneath Saint-Nicaise, before emerging to ignite and delight the palates of wine-lovers.
A firm, fresh Comtes with a tight and composed palate. It’s full-bodied with a racy mid-palate. Long and persistent. Very structured with phenolics and acidity. Minerally. Floral, too. Refreshing and energetic.
After the tightly coiled, hyper-concentrated 2008, Taittinger's 2011 Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne represents a more immediate, charming rendition of this cuvée. Bursting from the glass with aromas of orchard and stone fruit mingled with notions of pastry cream, blanched almonds and mandarin, it's medium to full-bodied, pillowy and fleshy, with a soft and enveloping profile, lively acids and a pretty pinpoint mousse. Readers might think of the 2011 as a somewhat less reductive and less intense stylistic sibling of the 2006, and as it takes on more toasty complexity with bottle age, it will make for immensely seductive drinking.
93 Points - Wine Spectator
A minerally version, with smoke and saline notes deftly meshed with flavors of glazed apple, lemon-infused pastry cream and marzipan. This is fine and softly creamy in texture, with lemony acidity providing good definition through to the lightly toasty finish. Elegant. Drink now through 2030.
Product size: 750ml