Dec 05, 2016
“Champagne is French,
just as the Eiffel Tower is Parisian.”
While, Jean-Pierre Redont is entirely correct in his statement, there is little doubt the rest of the world also enjoys reveling in France’s splendid fizz.
Redont is the Hospitality Ambassador for the largest of only a few remaining family-owned Champagne houses, which Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, his son Clovis and daughter Vitalie, now govern.
In 1932, former military officer Pierre Taittinger returned to Champagne with a goal to purchase vineyards. It was a troubled time as Champagne and the city of Reims were still rebuilding after much of their destruction during World War I.
Its devastation forced the appellation of Champagne to be reduced to 34 thousand hectares in 1927 - a fraction of its former size.
His timing was good. Along with vineyards, Taittinger was able to purchase the remains of a historic 13th century abbey in Reims to make his wine. The abbey, named Saint~Nicaise, had been destroyed during the French Revolution.
The monks who had maintained the abbey for centuries prior,
had a long history of winemaking and wisely developed an underground labyrinth of cellars for the storage of wine. Initially the cellars were merely mines to extract chalk for the construction of buildings during the Gallo-Roman era. However, centuries later the monks were able to construct an unparalleled network of environmentally perfect (90 percent humidity and 10 degrees Celsius) tunnels for storing their wine.
Today those cellars house three million bottles of Taittinger Champagne, and the family owns 288-hectares of vineyard.
Taittinger’s Tête du cuvee (top tier) is the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. It is made entirely from the six Grand Cru Chardonnay sites within the prestigious Côte de Blancs. This rare luxury Champagne is made only in exceptional years and since its inception in 1952,
has seen only 30 vintages released.
The Comtes de Champagne epitomizes the house style, which developed early in Taittinger’s existence – one, which unlike other Champagne producers, focused on Chardonnay.
After blending, the cuvee is aged in bottle for 10 years prior to release.
Incredibly complex, this Champagne is all about precision and focus; it is pretty close to perfection in a glass.
Golden in colour it offers aromas of buttered brioche, hazelnut praline, succulent pears and yellow apples swimming in lemon and butter sauce. It hits all the notes; it is harmonious and sensorial. The palate is rich and creamy yet gossamer on the tongue due to its acidity, which gives wonderful lift. A fine and persistent bead ascends the glass and the finish is nearly endless.
Comtes is truly an epiphany, with a price reflective of that, at $250.
~Daenna Van Mulligen