Stephan Reinhardt - 30/11/2014
If forced to choose a recent Comtes de Champagne for drinking today, I would gravitate towards the 2005. A beautiful wine, the 2005 has some of the openness of the 2002 mixed with a little of the energy of the 2004, but without the sheer personality of either. Instead, the 2005 impresses for its persistence, harmony and sheer drinkability. Best of all, unlike some recent prior vintages, the 2005 is not going to require any cellaring to offer its best drinking. I would cellar the 2002 and 2004, and drink the 2005 for the next decade-plus.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
Berry Bros. & Rudd wines featured in The Wall Street Journal by Will Lyons - 21 Nov 2013
Will Lyons writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal. His humorous, informed, down-to-earth writing has been recognized in both the Glenfiddich and Roederer wine writing Awards. He began his career in London, as a wine merchant in St. James’s where he developed a love for the classic wines of Europe. He has written for a variety of publications including The Scotsman, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator and Decanter. He is a past president of the Edinburgh University Wine Society, where in between wine tasting, he read History.
About this WINE
Taittinger is one of the few family-owned independent Champagne houses in Reims. It produces a very classy Non-Vintage blend and complex Vintage Champagnes as well.
Its top Champagne is Comtes De Champagne - first produced in 1952, it is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from 6 Grand Cru sites in the Côte de Blancs. This is finely aromatic, rich, creamy Blanc de Blancs at its best, though patience is required as the wine should not be approached for at least ten years.
Brut denotes a dry style of Champagne (less than 15 grams per litre). Most Champagne is non-vintage, produced from a blend from different years. The non-vintage blend is always based predominately on wines made from the current harvest, enriched with aged wines (their proportion and age varies by brand) from earlier harvests, which impart an additional level of complexity to the end wine. Champagnes from a single vintage are labelled with the year reference and with the description Millésimé.
Non-vintage Champagnes can improve with short-term ageing (typically two to three years), while vintages can develop over much longer periods (five to 30 years). The most exquisite and often top-priced expression of a house’s style is referred to as Prestige Cuvée. Famous examples include Louis Roederer's Cristal, Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, and Pol Roger's Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.