AT A GLANCE:
Name of wine estate: Champagne Taittinger
Wine region: Champagne
Standout points: UNESCO-recognised fourth-century crayères chalk cellars; Taittinger’s prestige Comtes de Champagne cuvée
Winemaker: Alexandre Ponnavoy
Wine style: Chardonnay-dominant Champagnes
Looking for the quintessential Champagne experience? Well look no further. One of a perishing few family-run Champagne houses (now under the presidency of Vitalie Taittinger, who succeeded her father, Pierre-Emmanuel, in January 2020), Champagne Taittinger has long been a symbol of excellence both for the quality of its wines and the heritage by which it is defined. The house’s Chateau de la Marquetterie, just 3km south of Epernay, is a gem of Louis XV style dating back to 1734, while its fourth-century Gallo-Roman chalk cellars are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historic crayères
Throughout the 4th century, these crayères chalk quarries, 18m below ground level, were painstakingly carved out to extract chalk blocks for building work. Nine hundred years later, they became the cellars for the Saint-Nicaise Abbey, their network of galleries, crypts and vaults used for storing wines first made by Champagne’s Benedictine monks. Taittinger is one of only a handful of Champagne houses to occupy these cellars and no visit to the region would be complete without a descent into them.
Taste the range
Taittinger opens its doors to its cellars throughout the year, revealing to wonderstruck visitors the secrets and history behind the Champagne house. Naturally, tailor-made tasting sessions are included as part of every tour. These sommelier-led tailored tastings give Champagne lovers the chance to learn about the production of each Taittinger cuvée: enjoy the crisp red fruit character of the Prestige Rosé, the full-bodiedness of Nocturne and the sophistication of Taittinger’s prestige cuvée, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. Matured for over 10 years in the depths of Saint-Nicaise, Comtes de Champagne is made from 100% Chardonnay from six Grand Cru sites in the Côte de Blancs and is among the finest, most ageworthy Champagnes of any of the Grands Marques.