Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose 2004
Rosé Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Champagne Taittinger created Comtes de Champagne Rosé with the 1966 vintage, released in 1972, as the companion cuvée to Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. The cuvée is a blend of red and white wines obtained from the first pressing of grapes grown in the villages of the Champagne region most highly-rated for Pinot Noir grapes, and predominantly from the villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay, where Champagne Taittinger's holdings assure the supply of fruit of the highest quality from year to year. Taittinger's extensive vineyard properties, totaling 752 acres in several of Champagne's most highly-rated vineyards, are third in importance among those of the great champagne houses, allowing the firm to rely primarily on its own grapes for the production of its portfolio of cuvées.
Comtes de Champagne Rosé is elaborated and brought to maturity in the l3th century chalk cellars once belonging to the Abbey of St. Nicaise, where each step of the méthode champenoise is performed traditionally. Following harvest, the grapes are pressed immediately in press houses located among the vineyards, yielding a first pressing, referred to as the "cuvée," which is followed by two more pressings, referred to as the first and second "tailles." The greater part of the juice, and that of the finest quality, is extracted in the "cuvée;" neither of the "tailles" are used in Comtes de Champagne Rosé.
In all, no more than 100 litres (approximately 26 gallons) of juice per 160 kilograms (approximately 350 pounds) of fruit may be extracted from the combined three pressings. The juice is transported to the vinification facility, and a cool fermentation of the must takes place under temperature controlled conditions, after which the wine rests until the end of the winter. Blending for color occurs after the primary fermentation, and thereafter the final cuvée undergoes the secondary fermentation in the bottle at 45 to 50 F in Taittinger's cool cellars, during which the wine acquires complexity and the fine, pinpoint bubbles characteristic of its sparkle. Prior to dégorgement, Comtes de Champagne Rosé is aged five to seven years to fully capture the elegant complexity and full body of the Pinot Noir grape.
This sublime rosé Champagne, produced from Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay grapes in years exceptional enough to declare a vintage, is appropriately presented in an antique-style bottle of XVIIIth century design. Typical of the Taittinger style, Comtes Champagne Rosé is a wine of exquisite refinement; its brilliant salmon pink color is punctuated by fine, lasting pinpoint bubbles. The sweet, red berry fragrance of the variety is offset by very subtle notes of earth and minerals. Clean, vibrant red fruit flavors are confirmed on the generous palate, balanced by a crisp, refined acidity which carries into an elegant, complex finish of considerable persistence.
The Wine Advocate - "Taittinger's 2004 Brut Rose Comtes de Champagne is a delicate, perfumed wine. In 2004, the Rose shows quite a bit of Chardonnay character in its precise, chiseled fruit and long, minerally finish. After several hours the wine continued to dazzle with its crystalline purity and fabulous balance. This is a jewel of a wine from Taittinger. This is Lot L8357WA04300, disgorged November, 2008 (not indicated on label). Anticipated maturity: 2014-2034."
International Wine Cellar - "Vivid pink. Red berries, orange peel, cinnamon and fresh flowers on the high-pitched nose. Juicy, precise and very pure, offering intense, spice-accented red fruit flavors with hints of exotic spices and candied rose. Aeration brings out notes of cherry and rhubarb, which add depth and a bitter touch to the very long, juicy, fruit-dominated finish. Looks to be built for a graceful evolution but this Champagne is delicious now. "
Wine Spectator - "Displays impressive finesse, centered around the finely detailed texture and well-knit acidity, all of which finds lovely integration with the subtle flavors of spiced plum, white raspberry and biscuit, complemented by a hint of hazelnut. Smoky finish. Drink now through 2024."
Wine & Spirits - "A sophisticated rose tightly built on wild raspberry scents and orange citrus flavors, this balances richness and refinement, leaving the mouth feeling clean. Lithe limestone acidity lends it shape and contour. For the cellar."
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Champagne Taittinger Winery
Champagne Taittinger was established in 1931 by Pierre Taittinger on the foundations of Forest-Forneaux, itself established in 1734 and the third-oldest wine producing house of Champagne. Taittinger is today proprietor of approximately 600 acres of vines among which are included parcels in the one hundred - percent rated villages of Cramant and Avize in the Cote des Blancs; and Bouzy, Mailly, Ambonnay and Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims. The Taittinger Estate is one of the three most extensive in the Champagne district, and the firm's major holdings in Chardonnay vineyards are the physical expression of the Taittinger philosophy and style. View all Champagne Taittinger Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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