On October 29th, I was delighted to be invited by Alessandra Esteves, the Florida Wine Academy and Maison Taittinger for the launch of the eagerly awaited Taittinger ‘Comtes de Champagne’ from 2008 at the SLS Brickell in Miami, Florida.
VINTAGE 2008 With the exceptional 2008 vintage, declared as one of the greatest vintages of a lifetime, and a miraculous one at that, you can only imagine how excited I was to be one of the first to taste this cuvée! With other prestige cuvées already released this year, and rave reviews claiming immense potential, I anticipated the 2008 ‘Comtes de Champagne’ to be rather intoxicating.
THE START We started the evening with a welcome toast of Taittinger’s nv ‘Brut’ by the founder of the Florida Wine Academy, Alessandra Esteves who addressed the intimate group of 16, and an introduction of Antoine Collet, Southeast US Ambassador of Taittinger.
PRÉLUDE A splash of the rosé and onto the ‘Prélude’, we were gradually introduced to the Taittinger House, history and style. Petrossian Caviar was brought out with the ‘Prélude’, and reminded me of how much I enjoy this Grand Cru 50% Pinot Noir 50% Chardonnay cuvée with food.
VINTAGE 2007 A little time after, we enjoyed the 2007 ‘Comtes de Champagne’, which I actually popped open for Global Champagne Day on October 23rd. I think this vintage is absolutely magnificent with its lemon zest, chalk, and pastry creme notes, and is completely enjoyable now.
Shortly after, came the star of the night, the 2008 ‘Comtes de Champagne’. Antoine poured the 2008 and I believe someone shouted “Zesty!” as the Champagne hit their palate. “Maison Taittinger’s exceptional cuvée, the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, is a reference point among cuvees. And the 2008 vintage has just come out of the cellar… A special moment. There is an over 10-year wait to enjoy a vintage, still made exclusively from Chardonnays that originate from the five villages in the Côte des Blancs with ‘Grands Crus’ classification: Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Mesnil-sûr-Oger and Oger. Which means over 10 years to wait until, 18 metres below the ground in chalk galleries carved during the Gallo-Roman period under the Saint-Nicaise Hill, a vintage wine can express its full depth. You can’t help but be bowled over by its character, style and elegance.”- Taittinger
GINA LYONS TASTING NOTE ‘I felt the 2008 had everything you are looking for – racy, yet elegant, energetic, full, and grandeur. It has this minerality, smokiness, and lemon on the nose. Energetic and full palate with mouthwatering ripe fruit and toast, and lingering acidity that makes crave another sip. Enjoyable now, but I can’t wait to try it in the future, as I think this one will be even better decades from now!’
Now, the evening didn’t end there as Antoine continued to surprise us throughout the night. We were entertained with a mini vertical tasting of the Comtes de Champagne!
VINATGE 1995 Antoine called for the attention of the room to reveal a special cuvée. “Here we have the 1995 ‘Comtes de Champagne’, a library wine. We want to make sure you have the special moment tonight to drinking some history of Champagne”. We all gasped with delight and rushed over to get a sample of the 25 year old bottle.
GINA LYONS TASTING NOTE ‘As this cuvée hit my nose, I was immediately impressed with the freshness, then, a sweet and savoury mix, making it hard to know its age blindly. Loved the floral, buttery, honeyed aspect of this one, yet really refreshing.’
VINTAGE 1979 And finally, Antoine brought out a star cuvée and oldest vintage Champagne that I have had the pleasure of tasting. “This is 1979, so you have to open your mind. It is definitely good, tiny effervescent. Our rosé is more meaty, it’s more old world, dates and fig, rusty colour.”
GINA LYONS TASTING NOTE ‘1979 ‘Comtes de Champagne Rosé’ was pure heaven to me with dried fruits, caramel, spice, and honey. Just pure WOW and so grateful to be amongst those enjoying it.’
Read post from Champagne Club’s last visit at Taittinger when we tasted Comtes’08 for the first time.