Yesterday the very lovely Susan Harper came into the office to show us her range of Taittinger Champagnes. Taittinger is a Champagne house that I have never been very familiar with so it was an exciting and eye opening session.
Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger runs the show. He is involved in every step of the wine making, up to blending and finally bottling. His passion to ensure the finest quality Champagne coupled with his market/commercially driven focus has resulted in well priced, well packaged, very delicious Champagnes.
Chardonnay is the mainstay of the Taittinger Champagnes, resulting in a more elegant style of Champagne. A style so well liked it seems that it won Taittinger five Gold medals in the 2010 Champagne awards!
We kicked off with the Non Vintage, aged for 3-4 years on its lees, it is a lovely finesse driven Champagne, with citrus notes, lightly toasted and a delicious creamy palate, it is lovely. The wine has lift, it is exciting and I am amazed I haven’t sampled more…..but this will be remedied!
What is interesting about the next Champagne, the Prestige Rose is the fact that it is made using the l’addition method. This means that 85% of the fruit is vinified as a white wine to which 15% of red Pinot Noir is added. Aged for 3 years, the colour is a delicate salmon pink, and the palate is lively, fruity, fresh and elegant. The perfect aperitif?
The final 3 Champagnes are a triumph. The 1st is the Taittinger Prélude des Grand Crus, a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir from solely Grand Cru vineyards. It is stunning. The sheer depth of concentration and perfect balance on the palate made sampling this Champagne a total pleasure. It is unbelievably well priced and will be drunk on Christmas day Chez Low, it has been decided!
The 2004 vintage, a different animal, just as exciting but it had more focus, excellent definition (am not talking about Scarlet Johansson, maybe I should be..) and had a very uplifting quality about it. I think this is a truly exciting Champagne.
We ended with the grand Vin, 1999 Comtes de Champagne. A Blanc de Blanc, so 100% Chardonnay, 5% of which is matured in new oak barrels.
Is this Champagne’s best kept secret? It is a Champagne that is loved by sommeliers world wide for its sheer elegance. 100% Grand Cru vineyards from the Cote de Blancs, this Champagne is so incredibly well balanced. It has an ethereal creaminess on the palate and is, as one would expect, not as powerful as the 2004. Its lightness of touch gliding over the palate is something to experience.
If Blancs de Blancs Champagnes make you tick, then this will be the one for you.