On our recent visit to the Champagne region in France, we had the great pleasure of visiting the Champagne house, Taittinger. While I was planning my trip to Champagne, Taittinger was at the top of my list for multiple reasons. I’ve always enjoyed their Champagnes, because they are elegant, consistent, and great for everyday or special occasions. They are also one of the only few remaining independent, family owned Champagne Houses. While their actual caves and production facility were undergoing some renovations during our visit in April 2023, we were still able to experience an educational tasting with them in the heart of the city of Reims.
Champagne Taittinger was founded in 1931 by Pierre Taittinger after the first world war. Since Pierre founded and established the brand, it has, since been passed down through multiple generations in the family. With each passing decade, the family members focused on expanding their vineyards and the quality of production. Today, the company is lead by female President, Vitale Taittinger, daughter of Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger.
Today, Taittinger has 752 hectares of vineyard holdings located in Côte des Blancs’, the ‘Vallée de la Marne’ and the ‘Montagne de Reims’, making it the third largest domaine in Champagne. All together they grow 37% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier.
Champagne Taittinger focuses on advanced techniques and responsible viticulture practices. Instead of using herbicides, they opt for cultivation techniques such as horse-drawn ploughing and grassing the vineyards. Taittinger has been using sustainable approaches for the last 10 years. They use eco friendly practices such as responsible management of water and fertilizers to preserve the biodiversity of vineyards sites.
Champagne Taittinger makes a range of styles, focusing on quality and exceeding minimum aging requirements on all cuvées. The Brut is their most popular house blend, but they also make a variety of other styles. They have a Brut Rosé, the ‘Nocturne’ which has a higher dosage, the Prelude Grande Crus, and a Demi-Sec. The house style at Taittinger is to use a higher proportion of Chardonnay grapes in its blends than other larger houses. Of course, the most famous and outstanding wine that uses 100% Chardonnay is the ‘Comtes de Champagne’.
Only in the very best years, Champagne Taittinger makes the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. This wine comes from exceptional vineyard conditions in the Côte des Blancs region. In 1952, the first Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs was created to honor the counts of Champagne, and Thibaud IV in particular. Today, you will find his seal on every bottle of Taittinger. This wine only uses first press juice, with a small percentage aged in oak for subtle toast notes. The cuvée is aged for up to 10 years underground in the famous Chalk caves before release. At our tasting, we tasted the latest vintage, 2012.
The ‘Comtes de Champagne’ or the ‘Counts of Champagne’ used to stay at La Dameure located in the heart of Reims. During the Medieval times, this was a place where Kings had their coronations, celebrations, receptions, and where other special events took place. Today, this location is owned by Champagne Taittinger and is the current location of their unique, immersive tasting.
The experience, “At the Table of Thibaud IV” was a fun, immersive tasting located at La Demeure des Comtes de Champagne. The Medieval architecture and history of the building is a fascinating setting, as you are transported back through the sounds and story of a medieval gathering. During the tasting we tried the famous Taittinger Brut Champagne and the outstanding Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. We loved our knowledgable tour guides and it was fun to be transported back through the setting and tasting the wine.
The experience “At the Table of Thibaud IV” is available in Reims with tastings daily. You visit Champagne Taittinger here. Currently the Champagne Taittinger caves and production facility are undergoing renovations with plans to be complete in 2024. We will definitely have to plan a trip back once the renovations are finished! To find Taittinger at a retailer near you, click here.