Taittinger

The Champagne houses that today, still bear the name of their owner and head are few and far between. In the case of Taittinger, the name represents not just one man but an entire family. A passionate family that holds high standards and never compromises on quality. As Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger himself once said: “We prefer to produce fewer bottles of Champagne so that each one, the moment the cork is popped, delights, enchants and demonstrates that excellence is not myth but reality”.

This reality is brought to life through their wine growers. Patient and irreplaceable, their dedicated tasting and blending teams and their enthusiastic and highly experienced family work as one. Together they share the same vision: to keep the wonderful story of Champagne Taittinger alive for years to come.

HISTORY OF THE HOUSE

1240: Thibaud IV, Count of Champagne, King of Navarre and poet deeply in love with his aunt, the White Queen of Castile, returned from the crusade bearing two treasures from Cyprus. The first was one of the world’s most beautiful roses, the Damask. The second, a vine, an ancestor of the Chardonnay variety, which would become the mark of Maison Taittinger – the sign of the family’s elegant wines.

1734: Jacques Fourneaux, a Champagne wine merchant, entered the Champagne adventure at a time when the Benedictine abbeys of Hautvillers, Pierry, Verzy and Saint-Nicaise in Reims owned the finest vineyards and made their first sparkling wines. His son, advisor to the king, frequently travelled abroad and contributed to the company’s growth.

Jacques Fourneaux, founded the company that would later become Taittinger.

1870: The Taittinger family left the Lorraine region after the Treaty of Frankfurt and moved to Paris.

1915: General de Castelnau set up his headquarters at Château de la Marquetterie during the Battle of Champagne. A young officer at the time, Pierre Taittinger fell in love with the property and swore to return after the war.

The company Forest & Fourneaux prospered and in 1918 moved to the Demeure des Comtes de Champagne (the former residence of Thibaud IV).

1932: Pierre Taittinger bought Château de la Marquetterie, whose vines were planted in the 18th century by Brother Oudart, a Benedictine monk and one of the founding fathers of Champagne.

1945: François Taittinger, son of Pierre and an innovative man with great foresight, defined the style and signature of Taittinger. He decided that Chardonnay would be the brand’s dominant grape variety. A perfect match for the 20th century when men and women appreciated the qualities of finesse, lightness and elegance. This signature style has earned Champagne Taittinger a worldwide reputation of excellence.

François Taittinger died in 1960 following an accident while the Champagne house was prospering.

1960: His younger brother Claude Taittinger took over the company until 2006.

1988:Together with the Kopf family who distributed the brand in the United States, Champagne Taittinger founded the Domaine Carneros winery (Napa Valley).http://www.champagnebible.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=161

2006 – Present: Supported by his brothers and sisters and father Jean Taittinger, presently Honorary President, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger bought and is managing the Champagne that bears his family name.

THE VINEYARD

Placed end to end, the vine plants would extend for 1,790 miles, the distance of a very long walk that Vincent Collard, Director of the Taittinger vineyard, takes regularly. Composed of Chardonnay (35% compared to only 27% in the Champagne region), Pinot Noir (50%) and Pinot Meunier (15%), the vineyard faithfully reflects the Taittinger style.

Located in the finest regions of the Champagne winegrowing country, from the Côte des Blancs to the Vallée de la Marne and the Montagne de Reims, the vines cover 712 acres distributed among some of the best 34 villages in the Champagne appellation area. They are entirely grown using the latest cutting-edge sustainable farming techniques. Some plots are tended using organic viticultural methods.

In the heart of their cellars, time does its work. Even if they “feel” that the vintage is excellent from the beginning of harvest, only time will confirm that intuition.

Their wines demand patience and this has a cost. But what a reward, what a pleasure it is for them when the blends, the raison d’être of the greatest names in Champagne, deliver their treasures. And what patience. It takes three to four years for the Brut Réserve to age and nearly ten for the Comtes de Champagne.

Behind these pledges lie many secrets. One is this: nearly all of the Champagne produced by Taittinger is made exclusively from the first pressing.

To learn more about Taittinger read BestChampagne exclusive interview with its President Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger.


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