You will not have to wait years to enjoy the 14th edition of the Taittinger Collection Brut Millésimé 2008 that has recently been released and will soon be available in Vancouver. It is drinking beautifully now, and will for years to come. With beautiful aromas of brioche, nuts, and citrus fruits, which also present gloriously on the tongue, you can taste the effort and time spent on producing this limited edition wine as layers of complexity with a very long finish. It really is quite beautiful, as is the limited edition bottle, graced with a striking leopard by Brazilian artist Sebastião Salgado.
The Taittinger Collection was started in 1983 by then head of the champagne house, Claude Taittinger, with the 1978 vintage. He commissioned Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely to create a distinctive look for a small number of bottles. Since then, a different artist’s work has decorated the bottle for each edition, produced when deemed worthy. For a look at the beautiful art on each of the editions, you can visit their website, where you might notice that this year’s release is actually the 13th Taittinger Collection wine. What happened to the 13th edition? I asked export director Mikael Falkman who was in Vancouver for its launch.
“There is no 13th edition,” he says, because of the superstitious back luck associated with the number 13.
The Taittinger Brut Millésimé 2008 is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (50/50) grapes, mostly from the Grand Cru vineyards of Montagne de Reims, and the borders of the Vallée de la Marne. The suggested retail price is $399 Canadian.
Taittinger Nocturne NV
The Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV also has a new look with this year’s sparkly bottle reminiscent of city lights. This non-vintage Sec (rather than Brut) champagne has a touch of sweetness with 17.5 grams per litre of residual sugar. Imagine it served at the start of a fabulous social gathering where everyone can also admire the bottle. Taittinger suggests serving this at the end of the evening as well. Flintstone and stone fruit on the nose. Delicious sipping that will feel like the epitome of roundness and smoothness on your tongue, balanced with acidity. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier (40/30/30) that has seen four years of ageing before disgorgement. $73.99 Canadian. +674770
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006
Comtes de Champagne is Taittinger’s flagship champagne made only with Chardonnay grapes, which contribute finesse, elegance, and ageability to a champagne, from the prestigious Côte des Blancs vineyards. But here we must, as always Dear Reader, be true to our palate and to you on this newest release. The 2006 was a little shy. Closed. Missing spark and personality. We tried it twice in two different glasses in the afternoon, then in the evening with dinner. Some might say it just needs some age, and certainly, others much more esteemed in wine than me have given it a very high rating. Perhaps I’ll eat my words, but I don’t think it has the acidity or concentration of flavours to really bloom into a truly beautiful champagne. At least not for $244.99 Canadian. Is it beautiful for less? Yes, of course. But if you are willing and able to drop $250 for a champagne, drop more for the Collection 2008. Or enjoy the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005, sooner rather than later, as it’s gorgeous right now with more developed characters of aged champagne. It is rounder and smoother in expression, but better balanced with personality so could age further depending on how you prefer your champagne. +269126
Or, depending on the style of champagne you prefer, drop a little less for the non-vintage Nocturne Sec as above (also available as a rosé in a gorgeous pink bottle) and splurge on fresh seafood, the non-vintage Prélude Grand Crus Brut in the navy blue bottle (prettier in taste and bottle than the Brut Réserve with 5 to 6 years on the lees made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Grand Crus grapes and my top of list non-vintage champagne), or the non-vintage Brut Réserve with three years of ageing and a blend of all three of the Champagne grapes (and try to get it in magnum because we found a difference in freshness and vivaciousness between the regular size and the magnum, which is double the size). See our Instagram for details on the difference that bottle size can make on a wine.
And since we’re on the subject of champagne bliss, we like a white wine glass rather than a skinny champagne flute to fully appreciate the layers of flavours and aromas from such a finely crafted wine. The skinnier the glass, the harder it is to take in the sensorial experience.
We’ll also throw in that for the 2000s, the best vintages for beautifully balanced champagnes are 2002 and likely 2008. If you have a champagne vertical party and compare the vintages of one wine, let us know what you think.