Champagne photo diary continues with Taittinger! I have been wanting to visit this champagne house since 2016, when I was in Napa. There, when I was driving from Napa to Sonoma, I was passing from Domaine Carneros, where Taittinger family produces delicious bubbles. After seeing that chateau, I knew that I had to visit them in Champagne.
Luckily, after all the dreaming and planning I got to visit Taittinger. The visit started with a small video that talked about the Taittinger heritage, the importance of the family work and introducing us this family company. The story behind Taittinger family is impressive for me, firstly because it is one of the few large houses that has remained family-owned.
After the video, our guide took us down to the caves. As we went down, the first thing that welcomed us was an art piece of stained glass. This was made in the memory of the visit of the Russian tsar, Peter the Great, in the caves in 1717. In this scenery on the stained glass, it is possible to see Dom Pierre de Bourge hosting the visit, showing him the wines.
Walking deeper in the caves, we passed from the galleries of Francois Taittinger, who was the general director, from 1945 until he passed away in 1960. This is the time when the house was based in the Saint-Nicaise Abbey cellars, built in the 13th century on Gallo-Roman chalk caves dating back to the 4th century (Source in French).
During the route in the caves, we passed through the historical stairs, doors, arches and sculptures. We passed through long corridors with stacked champagnes, and riddling tables of magnum champagne bottles.
Taittinger family are thinking beyond France, their passion of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir spread through continents. As I have mentioned in the beginning they have a partnership in Napa for Domaine Carneros. Moreover, by the time we were visiting this Champagne house, it was recently known that Taittinger had bought some land from Kent region of England, to plant vineyards for English sparkling wine production. The fruits of these vineyards are expected to be give their first wines in 2023!
After the visit in the cellars, we got chance to taste 2 of their Champagnes. Being a big group of tasters, we had this amazing view of glasses full of Brut Réserve. This Champagne is made with is made from 40 % Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier, and the result is an art work of blending the wines made from grapes over 35 vineyards in Champagne. The official requirements for on lees aging of non-vintage champagnes is 12 months, with a total of 15 months of aging before release, but Taittinger keeps this wine in their cellar minimum 3 years before releasing to the market. The result is an elegant and balanced champagne that keeps the quality in the same level over the years.
We made the final with the tasting of Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs the vintage 2016. Comtes de Champagne is the most prestigious cuvée of this house, it is made only in the best vintages from Chardonnay grapes which are selected from 5 Grand cru classified villages of Côte des Blancs. This Champagne ages during 10 years in the cellars that we just visited. All these efforts pay off with a final product of excellence, it literally slides down from the palate like silk.
It was a mind opener visit to me, made it possible to see understand how traditions can be carried over generations from generations, keeping the quality products as family legacy and spread it over beyond borders with success.
Champagne photo diary will continue…
All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.