Taittinger’s Australian distributor, McWilliam’s Wines, recently hosted a dinner to showcase the Taittinger Champagne range in the splendid dining room of the Sydney’s Pullman Quay Grand overlooking the Harbour Bridge. Champagne expert Tyson Stelzer was on hand to talk about the historic Champagne House – the 6th largest in Champagne and one of the few remaining independent, family-owned and managed estates.
Apart from the excellent selection of Taittinger non-vintage and vintage Champagnes, matched beautifully to a four course menu, Stelzer’s superb commentary on Taittinger and Champagne, in general, made for a truly memorable evening.
Stelzer’s most recent edition of The Champagne Guide 2014 – 2015 has been winning rave reviews. The Sydney Morning Herald’s wine critic Huon Hooke described it as perhaps “the most useful book ever written on France’s prestige sparkling wine, Champagne.” (Champagne tour de force: The best guide to Champagne ever written turns out to be the work of an Aussie from Brissie, Good Food, SMH, 15 October 2013.)
- Taittinger’s flagship wine, the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs may not have the profile of illustrious peers like Moet et Chandon’s Dom Perignon or Veuve Cliquot’s La Grande Dame, but Champagne connoisseurs generally regard this 100% chardonnay wine as one of the best and most age worthy wines in Champagne. We were extremely fortunate to enjoy the spectacular 2002 vintage, sourced from the best grand crus vineyards in the Côte des Blanc and disgorged in February 2012 after more than a decade under lees in Taittinger’s vast cold Roman built chalk caves in Reims.
- The excellent value Taittinger Brut Reserve NV is essentially a vintage wine, and is only made in years when the vintage is deemed to be of sufficient quality. The most recent release, disgorged in December 2011, is a blend of chardonnay (40%), pinot noir (35%) and pinot meunier (25%). Seventy percent of the blend is from the bright and lively 2008 vintage with the balance from 2007, 2006 and 2005 in diminishing proportions.
- With Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger now at the helm of the family business after a fierce takeover battle in 2005, the House has renewed its focus on quality and according to Stelzer, “its non-vintage wines have never looked more refined.” In the vineyards Taittinger is committed to reducing the use of chemicals and using natural treatments whenever possible. Yields are limited to insure quality, and at the time of the family buy-back a decision was made to only work with the finest juices.
Photo Credit: Taittinger 4 kms of chalk caves, tripadvisor.com.au
The Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2002 and the Taittinger Brut Reserve are available on the Cellarit Wine Market.