Or shall we call it ‘The Richards’ ?! Instead of ‘The Champagne Oscars’ ? We want to sum-up the year of 2023 from a Champagne perspective. In 20+ categories we hand out awards for this years most memorable Champagnes & Champagne related topics!
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
‘This ’76 was one of the Champagnes that sparked my obsession with the area and its wines. Never before have I tasted anything so exotic, fruity, and enjoyable. It still holds up very well, even if the character has changed a little. An enormous nose and taste of sweet lemons have now replaced the butteriness. These can be found in many mature Champagnes, but never as clearly as in the Comtes de Champagne ’76. A classic milestone, and absolutely one of the ten Champagnes I would pick out for someone who doubts that Champagne can be really good and big.
A champion in its class!’
|1976 Taittinger ’Comtes de Champagne ’
|2008 Krug ‘Clos du Mesnil’
|1959 Franck Bonville ‘Vinothèque’
|1998 Mumm ‘Mumm de Cramant Vinothèque’ magnum
Taittinger is one of my favorite houses. Wonderful champagnes, fantastic history and a beautiful family! 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 Vitalie 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 and later for the Folies de Marquetterie otherwise mainly 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 owned one hotel chain, two wine companies in the Loire Valley, and one wine company in California. Today full concentration on the champagne.
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 non-vintage Champagne can be a touch uneven, but it often reflects the soft, flowery house-style well. The vintage wine is a real charmer, which sometimes sadly lacks aging potential.
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 a bit sweet and clumsy when young, but it usually develops magically. Gentle Alexandre Ponnavoy is the man responsible for how these wines taste.