Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1998
This superb Champagne, produced only in years exceptional enough to declare a vintage, is appropriately presented in an antique-style bottle of XVIIIth century design. Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is the ultimate expression of the Taittinger style, a Champagne of great refinement, elegance and delicacy. The clean, aristocratic Chardonnay fragrance is offset by warm, toasty nuances, which carry onto a palate of finely- balanced, generous white fruit flavors underscored by a fine, crisp acidity and subtle mineral notes. The refined, toasty finish is lasting and complex.
"Rich chardonnay flavors of ripe peach and nectarine come up against the formidable structure of this wine." 90 Points
Wine & Spirits
"Possibly the most famous Blanc de Blancs, this continues to be a yardstick. This is a classic." 95 Points
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.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, three varieties are permitted for use in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.