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Björnstierne was invited by Clovis Taittinger and Essi Avallan MW to taste the new release of the 2008 vintage from Champagne Taittinger. The tasting was held at Restaurant Ulla Winbladh at Djurgården on this beautiful spring day in Stockholm.

We tasted a mini-vertial of the vintage 2008 – 2007 – 2006 or ‘futurothèque’as Clovis Taittinger called them … All the Champagnes where tasted in the glas ‘Grande Champagne’ from Reims-based glass company Lehmann. This glass is developed by head sommelier Philippe Jamesse at Lés Crayères in Reims.

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RJ ON VINTAGE 2008  | 5 of 5 | a perfect vintage in style.

The weather gods were in their best mood this year, and the vines remained unusually fresh from the attack and gave a very good harvest- ing. An absolutely gorgeous vintage that has it all! Best vintage since 1996, and unlike the tart 1990s, there are wonderful wines directly with their delicious fruit intensity and match- less balance. All the ones I tasted from the vats are magical, and I have a hard time imagining nothing other than buying everything you see of this vintage. So far the leaders are Diebolt- Vallois fleur de Passion ahead of Vouette & Sorbée and Michel Turgy, but many giants will surely win over them.

RJ ON VINTAGE 2007 3 of 5 | a good champagne year with reliable wines.

An exceptional one in terms of the weather. The very mild winter and spring led to early flowering. The summer that followed was rainy, and several areas were hit by hail. The cold and wet weather caused a lot of mildew, but the harvest was still weak. It has far too much apple peel aroma in order to be properly assessed at the moment. Otherwise, it feels as if we are dealing with a satisfactory vintage but one that hardly will be able to create goosebumps. The grand ones will probably take several years before they begin to show themselves, but many of the ecologically oriented growers seem to have really good 2007s. Eccentric Jérôme Prévost has succeeded sensationally well with Bérèche et Fils, David Léclapart, and J-L Vergnon.

RJ ON VINTAGE 2006 4 of 5 | an extraordinary vintage.

The summer started well with plenty of sunshine and heat in June and July. August, however, came with low temperatures and twice as much rain. The harvest period was stretched over an unusually long time in the district. Here is a completely different balance from the one in 2005. The scent is grand and inviting but with an elevating element present and a completely different three-dimensional mouth-feel. The acidity lifts a mature and nice vintage very high. The next few years will make a series of cellar-friendly 2006s pop up. Vouette & Sorbée, GH Mumm, and Louis Roederer have already shown what to expect.

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TAITTINGER ‘BRUT MILLÉSIMÉ 2008 | Reims | Champagne | France | 250N 50CH | swedish importer: Fondberg  | TASTING NOTE ‘Shy start of the aroma-spectrum  with generous overnotes and reservedly sophisticated majesty. Notes of chocolate, freshly baked bread and creamy toffee are carried forth by a homogenous basic flavour of ripe strawberries and hazelnut cream. I like the tight structure. This is a beauty that will develop slowly. Not one of the most bold ’08:s, but a strikingly good wine. A baby-Comtes in the making? Well time will tell ….’’ BJpoints 88(93)

TAITTINGER ‘BRUT MILLÉSIMÉ 2007’ | Reims | Champagne | France | 250N 50CH | swedish importer: Fondberg  | TASTING NOTE ‘A soft, house-typical Champagne with a big dollop of happiness and charm. Aromas of vanilla and butterscotch. Round soft and likable from the start.’ BJpoints 84(89)

TAITTINGER ‘BRUT MILLÉSIMÉ 2006’ | Reims | Champagne | France | 50PN 50CH | swedish importer: Fondberg  | TASTING NOTE ‘Spot on from the start with a fine gunpowder and chocolate rounded bouquet. Creamy fruit and high stylish young acids and the promise of a long life.’ RJpoints 86(91)

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RJ ON TAITTINGER The house of Forneaux, as Taittinger’s predecessor was called, was among the first Champagne houses when founded in 1734. The company’s financial upturn came when the Taittinger family bought it in 1936. Pierre Taittinger purchased a palace called La Marquetterie and built up an impressive arsenal of vineyards. Claude Taittinger, took over in 1960 and Pierre-Emanuel and his son Clovis Taittinger and stylish doughter are following the same quality path. The company now has 288 hectares in 34 villages, which supply some 45 percent of its grape needs. Experiments with small numbers of new oak barrels began in 1988 with the prestige wine Comtes de Champagne otherwise all the wines are fermented in large steel tanks and put through malolactic fermentation. The firm is well known for its efforts to support major projects outside the local region. For example, the company owns one hotel chain, two wine companies in the Loire Valley, and one wine company in California. The artist-designed Collection bottles have become a huge success in sales terms, in spite of the exorbitant prices that will soon become even dearer. The nonvintage Champagne was a touch uneven earlier, but it often reflects the soft, flowery house-style well. The vintage wine is a real charmer, which sometimes sadly lacks storage potential. The real star is the Comtes de Champagne, an exemplary blanc de blancs from Cramant, Avize, Oger, Le Mesnil, Chouilly, and old vines in Pierry. The champagne is the best in its style, with its soft, exotic, and creamy taste. I imagine that the Comtes de Champagne is the champagne most appreciated by the broadest public. It contains no difficult aromas, but instead an abundance of charmingly sweet and soft tastes in an elegant and luxurious style. In any case, it contains an aromatic spectrum that is exciting enough for even the most fastidious expert to fall head over heels for its beauty. Even Comtes de Champagne Rosé can be a treat if you have patience. This champagne—made by contact with Pinot Noir grapeskins from Ambonnay and Bouzy—can appear sweet and clumsy when young, but it usually develops magically. Gentle Loïc Dupont is the man responsible for how these wines taste. Very close to five stars!

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