In 1734, Jacques Fourneaux, a merchant of champagne wines, established the company that would some day become Taittinger.
In that early part of the XVIIIth century, the Benedictine abbeys of Hautvillers, Pierry, Verzy, and Saint-Nicaise in Reims, owned the best vineyards in the Champagne region. They cultivated the vines and pressed the harvest to produce the first sparkling wines which they either sold themselves, or through agents in Epernay or Reims.
Jacques Fourneaux therefore joined the great adventure of the champagne trade...cautiously at first.
The company prospered throughout the XIXth century and after the First World War moved to the fine XIIIth century historical residence located on rue de Tambour: "The House of the Counts of Champagne". This was the home of Thibaud IV, known as the Singer, who brought back from Cyprus the vines which are the ancestors of today's Chardonnay.
It is at this time that the merger occurred between the company, which had come to be known as Fourneaux-Forest, and the Taittinger family, which would ultimately take control.
Fourneaux-Forest label, 1839 vintage The Taittinger family had its roots in Lorraine, but left its native province in 1870 following the Treaty of Frankfurt and settled in the Paris area in order to retain its French nationality
In around 1912, Pierre-Charles Taittinger was running a business involved in the distribution and export of champagne with one of his brothers-in-law. A young cavalry officer during the First World War he made his first visit to the Château de la Marquetterie near Epernay, at that time the headquarters of General de Castelnau and Marshal Joffre. He instantly fell in love with this magnificent property in the purest XVIIIth century style, anchored to the slope of one of the finest Champagne hillsides; its vineyards, unusually, planted partly with white "Chardonnay" grapes and partly with red "Pinot", giving the vineyards the appearance of a huge chessboard in the weeks leading up to the harvest. The vineyards of la Marquetterie had been run by Friar Oudart, one of the founding fathers of champagne.
In 1932 Pierre Taittinger succeeded in acquiring the great residence, which had formerly been home to the philosopher Cazotte, who was sent to the guillotine during the French Revolution for his loyalty to King Louis XVI.
Something of an innovator and visionary, Pierre Taittinger decided that Chardonnay was to be the dominant grape for the brand. This has been a wise choice since the modern consumer enjoys the lightness, finesse and elegance afforded by this variety. From 1945, François, the third son of Pierre Taittinger, along with his two brothers Jean and Claude, oversaw a period of remarkable growth for the champagne house which for a number of years had carried their family name and began operation in the cellars of the Saint-Nicaise monastery, built in the XIIIth century on magnificent Gallo-Roman chalk cellars dating from the second century. A tragic car accident in 1960 cut short his brief but prolific career. Since then Claude Taittinger has presided over the destiny of one of the last great champagne houses to bear the name of the family that runs it, himself overseeing the quality of its products in line with tradition.
Taittinger Champagne Prélude Grands Crus
A Grands Crus Champagne comes exclusively from vineyards in the 100% category of Champagne classification system. It is made entirely from cuvée (first pressing). The blend comprises 50% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs (Avize, Le Mesnil sur Oger) and 50% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims area (Bouzy, Ambonnay), thus obtaining the finesse and structure which a great champagne requires if it is to be laid down for any length of time. Cellar ageing on its lees has enabled the fine, delicate aromas of this wine to open up and develop.
The colour is brilliant, pale yellow with silvery highlights, evidence of the high proportion of Chardonnay. The bubbles are fine and form a lasting and delicately creamy ring of mousse. The nose is subtle and fresh. The initial mineral aromas quickly develop into green, floral scents with hints of elderflower and spicy cinnamon overtones. On the palate, its flavours are dominated by intensive fresh citrus fruit. These then give way to a much fuller, well-bodied and mellow taste with flavours reminiscent of white peaches in syrup. The finish is long, rich and extremely expressive. To conclude, Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus is a joyous blend of finesse and complexity, striking a perfect balance between freshness and aromatic expression.
Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve
Taittinger Brut Réserve is a blend of some 40 Chardonnay wines (40%) and Pinot wines (60%), from a number of different vineyards and matured to perfection. Such a high proportion of Chardonnay is seldom found among the great champagnes.
The colour is brilliant, golden straw yellow. The bubbles are fine. The mousse is both discreet and persistent. The nose, very expressive and open, is both fruity and bready. It exudes aromas of peach, white flowers (may blossom, acacia) and vanilla pod. On the palate, this lively fresh wine is at once in harmony. This is a delicate wine with flavours of fresh fruit and honey. In all a wine blessed with a well-developed aromatic potential. It is aged for three to four years in the cellars where it achieves perfect maturity.
Taittinger Champagne Brut Prestige Rosé
A blend of various Champagne wines from several harvests. A small quantity of red wine from our own vineyards is added before bottling to give this wine its delightful pink hue.
The colour, brilliant pink, is shimmering and intense. The bubbles are fine and the mousse persistent. The nose, satisfyingly intense, is both fresh and young. It gives off aromas of red fruit (freshly crushed wild raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant). On the palate, this is a velvety wine of fine balance, and body - a subtle wine with flavours of fresh fruit. In all, a very pleasing wine of balance and youth.
Taittinger Champagne Brut Millésimé
Taittinger only makes a vintage champagne when the harvest has been of such outstanding quality that it deserves to be fully vinified. The wine is then only marketed after several years of ageing in the cellars, allowing the aromas to mature slowly and the length and complexity of the wine to develop. Taittinger Brut Millésimé is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay grapes are mostly from the grands crus of the Côte des Blancs and the Pinot Noir grapes are from the crus of the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne. These origins combined with the exclusive use of first pressing juices are necessary elements for great aromatic finesse and a long storage time.
Taittinger Brut Millésimé is pale gold in colour and has a rich effervescence which forms a very dense necklace of mousse. It has a very fine nose and a good intensity of fragrance. The initial perfumes of white flowers give way to a fruity dominance with a subtle mineral touch. The scent of citrus fruits can also be discerned, with sugared grapefruit and a hint of baked crusty bread. The first sip is sharp, delicate and complex, with the taste of fresh citrus fruit. It is well-rounded, full and richly constituted with an attractive effervescence. The finish is long and fresh. In conclusion, it is a champagne of extreme freshness, fine balance, keen intensity and consummate aromatic harmony. A wine of charm and passion.