The 2013 Comtes de Champagne captures all the pedigree of this great vintage in its energy, depth and vibrancy. Lemon confit, dried flowers, chamomile, spice and crushed rocks all race across the palate. Passionfruit, ginger, marzipan and mint appear later, filling out the layers beautifully. Harvest took place in October in what has become the exception rather than the norm in Champagne.
Drink to 2043
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (May 2023)
Nervy and tight with notes of crushed almonds, chalk, white grapefruit, digestive biscuits, lemons and apricot stones. Hints of fennel and white pepper. Deep and mineral, with plenty of power. Very fine bubbles. Long drive at the end.
Try after 2024
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (August 2023)
Taittinger’s 2013 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs captures an abundance of finesse from Champagne’s cooler 2013 vintage. Mineral-rich and taut, it opens with honeyed notes of ripe citrus, poached nashi pear, butter wafers, and crème fraiche that gradually gain aromatic intensity as it unfurls.
Light to medium-bodied, it has well-heeled, vibrant acidity that lends an energetic tension and freshness to the long, toasty finish. This subtly assertive and refined Comtes de Champagne should evolve beautifully with bottle age for 15+ years.
Drink to 2040
Sarah Mayo, The Wine Independent (September 2023)
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 often seen as the king 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.