The prestigious Taittinger Champagne house produces exceptional bottles - sought-after by regular wine enthusiasts and discerning wine collectors alike. The exciting lineup of fine Champagne styles ranges from very expensive to affordable, and from brut to sweet.
So, which are Taittinger’s best Champagnes, and what makes them unique?
Let’s look into the colorful background of this venerable Champagne house, its vineyards, and the best wines to buy in 2021. We’ll also find out its investment potential and the simplest way to invest in them.
This Article Contains
(Click on a link below to jump to a specific section)
- The Taittinger Champagne House
- A Brief History of the Illustrious Taittinger Champagne House
- Taittinger Champagne Vineyards and Winemaking
- The Finest Champagne Taittinger Cuvées for Your Collection
- 1990 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut
- 1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut
- 1983 Taittinger Collection Victor Vasarely (for the 1978 vintage)
- 2003 Taittinger Collection Zao Wou-Ki (for the 1998 vintage)
- 1998 Taittinger Collection Roberto Matta (for the 1990 vintage)
The Taittinger Champagne House
Known for its Chardonnay-focused cuvées, Taittinger (pronounced “Tet-ahn-zhay”) is among the largest Champagne producers and is located in Reims in the Champagne region of France.
Of the 300 million+ Champagne wine bottles that are made annually, about 5 million bottles come from the Taittinger wine house.
Of Taittinger’s many beloved cuvées, the most precious is undoubtedly the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, which easily commands a few hundred dollars today.
A Brief History of the Illustrious Taittinger Champagne House
In 1734, textile merchant Jacques Fourneaux founded the Champagne house Forest-Fourneaux. While business soared in the 1800s, its fortunes sagged by the 1930s.
In 1932, Pierre Taittinger acquired the estate inspired by the Château de la Marquetterie, where he stayed briefly as a young liaison officer during the First World War.
Alongside Forest-Fourneaux, he also bought the handsome 18th-century Chateau de la Marquetterie.
The name of the Champagne House wasn’t changed to Taittinger until Francois Taittinger (Pierre’s son) relaunched it under the Taittinger family name in the 1940s.
Francois also increased the estate’s vineyard ownership, acquiring 110 hectares of vines in 1955, mostly Chardonnay.
The Chardonnay grape is the main grape used in the blend, and this defined the Taittinger style, apparent in the first Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs vintage (1952.) It continues to be a Taittinger hallmark recognized to this day.
In 2005, the estate was sold to US investment group Starwood but was repurchased a year later by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, returning ownership to the Taittinger family.
Today, Champagne Taittinger is run by Vitalie Taittinger as President, with her brother Clovis as Managing Director.
Taittinger Champagne Vineyards and Winemaking
In Champagne, it’s a common practice for the Champagne houses to buy (instead of grow) grapes for their sparkling wine production.
However, Champagne Taittinger cultivates almost 50% of its own grapes.
Taittinger’s 288 hectares worth of valuable vineyard real estate is spread across 37 cru vineyards in Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, and the Montagne de Reims. This includes prestigious Grand Cru vineyards like Ambonnay and Mesnil-sur-Oger.
The vine distribution in these vineyards is 37% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier. The vast holdings allow Taittinger a wide grape selection for their Champagne.
In 1987, Taittinger extended its vineyard ownership overseas with the addition of Domaine Carneros in Napa Valley, California. Domaine Carneros produces a light, delicately aromatic sparkling wine.
2015 saw Taittinger adding Saint Evremond in Kent to their vineyard portfolio, becoming the first Champagne House to cultivate a vineyard in the United Kingdom. The chalky subsoil of Saint Evremond is similar to Champagne’s Côte des Blancs, and the wine from this new region is slated for release in 2024.
Let’s take a look at Taittinger winemaking and the exquisite Comtes de Champagne.
Winemaking at Taittinger
For the Comtes de Champagne, grapes from each terroir are pressed separately to retain their unique characteristics. Only juice from the first pressing is used.
About 5% of the wine is aged in new oak barrels four months before the final blend. A third of these barrels are renewed annually from cooperages in Cognac and Rousseau in Burgundy.
Once they are bottled, the wines are aged in the chalk cellars of Saint Nicaise. Taittinger also owns 4km of the famed Gallo-Roman “Crayeres” chalk pits under Reims but uses it to age their prestige cuvées instead. It is one of five Champagne houses to cellar wines in the Crayeres.
Back at Saint Nicaise, the Comtes de Champagne wine is kept on its lees for nearly 10 years, dosed with 10 g/l of residual sugar at disgorgement, then left to settle for six months before release. Most Taittinger wines have a typical Alcohol by Volume (ABV) of 12%.
The Finest Champagne Taittinger Cuvées for Your Collection
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs
The flagship Comtes de Champagne is produced only in exceptional years. It is reputed to be the first and the most consistent Blanc de Blancs from the Champagne region.
The Comtes de Champagne is composed entirely of the Chardonnay grape, sourced from the grand cru vineyards of Côte des Blancs. Oak is used sparingly to impart the flavor of brioche and grilled almonds in this exquisite Grand Cru wine.
Two bottles of Les Comtes for you:
A. 1990 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut
The distinctive 1990 Comtes de Champagne is sweet on the nose with the aroma of apricot, and aromatic and toasty apples, straw, honey and citrus. A refined flavor palate displays maturity, depth, and power, with citrus, apricots, and almonds.
Price of 1990 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut: $510+
B. 1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut
This remarkable wine has a complex nose with toasty notes and hints of wax and herbs. The powerful palate has high acidity, displaying savory, toasty characters, as well as fresh, juicy citrus and pear fruit, and a hint of coffee.
Price of 1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut: $500+
2. Comtes de Champagne Rosé
The Comtes de Champagne Rosé is produced only in exceptional vintages, and is Champagne Taittinger’s most rare cuvée.
This exceptional wine is composed entirely of Grand Cru grapes, with 30% Chardonnay from Côte des Blancs, and 70% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims region.
Only the juice from the first pressing is used to ensure structure and long aging potential, and 15% Pinot Noir blended in as a still red wine.
Don’t miss out on these splendid Rosés:
A. 1979 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rosé
The 1979 vintage Champagne is a profusion of earth, ash, strawberry and orange peel aromas. There is a richness on the palate with acidity that drives to a medium-length finish.
Price of 1979 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rosé: $830+
B. 1985 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rosé
The 1985 Comtes de Champagne Rosé is a rich wine built on pure texture. Smoke, leather and tobacco are some of the nuances that open up before the intense fruit takes over the senses.
Price of 1985 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rosé: $520+
3. Taittinger Collection
Since 1983, the Taittinger Champagne House has collaborated with several contemporary artists to create the bottles of its greatest vintage wines.
Here are three precious art pieces for your collection:
A. 1983 Taittinger Collection Victor Vasarely (for the 1978 vintage)
This was the first artistic collaboration in the Taittinger Collection — created by Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely for the 1978 Brut Millésimé vintage Champagne and released in 1983. What makes this cuvée even rarer is that the 1978 harvest was one of the smallest in the Champagne region history since the post-war period.
Price of 1983 Taittinger Collection Victor Vasarely: $810+
B. 2003 Taittinger Collection Zao Wou-Ki (for the 1998 vintage)
Beijing-based artist Zao Wou-Ki created the artwork for the 1998 vintage Taittinger Brut Millésimé. His work is a mysterious blend of abysses and sea beds, grottos and skies, depicting a sense of freedom and weightlessness. Like his art, the wine has a freshness and harmony to it.
Price of 2003 Taittinger Collection Zao Wou-Ki: $390+
C. 1998 Taittinger Collection Roberto Matta (for the 1990 vintage)
Chilean artist Roberto Matta created the packaging for the Taittinger Collection 1998 release - the 1990 vintage Taittinger Brut Millésimé. The artwork is a design of poppies, a symbol of war remembrance, on an ochre background with calligraphic marks running across it.
Price of 1998 Taittinger Collection Roberto Matta: $340+
4. Brut Réserve
The non-vintage Taittinger Brut Reserve is known as Taittinger Brut La Francaise in some markets. This brut Champagne is a blend of 35% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Meunier.
The grapes for the Brut Reserve come from 35 different vineyards and vintages. Typically 20% of the blend is composed of reserve wine, and it is aged on the lees at least three years before release.
The extra time in the cellars allows this house style to reach its full aromatic maturity, resulting in a beautifully balanced Champagne tasting of fresh fruit and honey.
Get this terrific crowd-pleaser:
A. Taittinger Brut Reserve (Taittinger Brut La Francaise)
The Brut Reserve displays the aroma of poached pear, peach, orange, white flowers and vanilla pod. The lively palate is harmonious, with juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors, stone fruit, subtle ginger and toasted grain nuances.
The clear, persistent finish is well-structured with refreshing lemon flavors and notes of peach and ginger.
Price of Taittinger Brut Reserve: $50+
5. Prestige Rosé
The unique, intense color and sweetness of the Prestige Rosé come from 15% still red Pinot Noir wine from Montagne de Reims and Les Riceys. A high proportion of Chardonnay (30%) completes the cuvée, giving this wine elegance and delicacy.
An elegant pink bubbly for your glass:
A. Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé
The Prestige Rosé is a brut Champagne characterized by delicate bubbles, vibrancy, freshness, and acidity. Experience an expressive nose of strawberries, cherries and blackcurrants. The palate is a delicate balance of full-bodied taste and velvety texture.
Price of Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé: $60+
6. Other Taittinger Champagnes
Here are some other fantastic Taittinger cuvées you may consider adding to your sparkling wine collection:
- Prelude Grand Crus: This wine is 50/50 Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and aged for five years. It has mild hints of elderflower and cinnamon with fresh fruit flavors dominated by white peach.
- Brut Millesime: The Taittinger Brut Millesime is only created in exceptional years and spends several years in the cellar to develop complexity and aromatic maturity. The resulting long-lasting character is a Taittinger hallmark much appreciated by the wine enthusiast. Find the flavor of pear and cherries, hints of subtle ginger and spice.
- Folies de la Marquetterie: This brut Champagne is a tribute to the Château de la Marquetterie, made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that grows on the hillsides around the chateau. Tasting notes regularly note hints of brioche and vanilla pod, and the flavor of peach on the palate.
- Nocturne: The Nocturne is a sweet “sec” Champagne, with four years of aging before disgorgement. This is a smooth, creamy sparkling wine with a refined flavor palette of raisins and syrupy fruit notes. Also, expect stone fruit flavors like peach and apricot.
- Nocturne Rosé: This “sec” Champagne reflects the Prestige Rosé style. 17.5g/l dosage of sugar cane and four years of aging creates a well-rounded and smooth drink in this Taittinger style. Experience fruit flavors like pear and raspberry with some brioche.
- Demi Sec: The Demi Sec is similar to the Brut Reserve. The difference lies in the dosage of 33g/l sugar, giving this Champagne a specific sweetness best paired with desserts. This is a zesty Champagne with refreshing lemon flavors, apple and pear.
Now let’s look at the investment potential of Taittinger wines.
Investing in Taittinger Champagne
The top cuvées - Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs and Comtes de Champagne Rosé - are the most collectible Taittinger wines. These are wines capable of aging at least for 10-20 years.
A bottle of Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs can cost around $130-$150 at release and possibly triple in value after two decades.
Older vintages, especially, can draw high prices at auctions - like the bottle of 1976, which was sold at $1,100+ in 2019, or a magnum of 1983 that was sold at $600+.
The Comtes de Champagne Rosé is a rarer buy and costs a bit more at release (around $200+) but can be worth close to $1000 after some decades of storage.
If you want to invest in Taittinger, look for recent vintages that have scored well among critics - like the 2002, 2006 or 2008. These garnered around 95 points and are likely to age beautifully and increase in value over time.
The best Taittinger Champagnes are highly sought-after at release, and older vintages are even harder to come by.
So how will you secure one of these coveted bottles without having to go through middlemen and auction houses?
There’s a simple solution.
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Time to Buy an Exotic Taittinger Champagne
If you’ve never experienced the lightness and aromatic character of Taittinger Champagne, grab a bottle of the Brut Réserve or Prestige Rosé, and you’ll understand why this fine Champagne has captured the hearts of many!
And when you’re ready to splurge a little more, the Comtes de Champagne is an option you shouldn’t pass on — whether for drinking or investing.
With Vinovest, you’ll have access to these incredible wines and much more. So sign up today, and start reaping the benefits of investing in wine.