The most common question I get this time of year is “What is the best Champagne to buy for the Holiday Season?”. This is often referred to when gifting and during holiday gatherings- there seems to be so many reasons to pop open a bottle of bubbly! For me, this is a difficult question to answer since champagne, in general, is such a versatile wine. It pairs so well with many of your festive foods, but also is the perfect gift to make someone feel special.
With that... taking a look at my Christmas shopping this year, and the wines I have already purchased for the upcoming festivities, I seemed to have incorporated Champagne Taittinger in every aspect of my holiday season. In fact, I can name so many occasions where I grab Taittinger as they have a great range of cuvées to choose from, perfect for different foods and palates. There is something so glamorous as well with this house, so I tend to grab it for gifting, and I can tell you, it always puts a smile on everyone’s face when they pop it open!
Champagne Taittinger is one of the few remaining family owned and operated Champagne houses. They have extensive vineyard holdings of 752 acres, including prestigious Grand Cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims regions.
Unlike most large houses, Champagne Taittinger relies primarily on estate grapes for its portfolio of Champagnes. Also unique are the higher proportion of Chardonnay in its wines that gives Taittinger its signature style, and the time devoted to ageing the wines before release—most often greatly exceeding the legal requirement, in a practice that also has become a Taittinger hallmark.
I love the idea that there is a family behind this Champagne, and currently at the head of the house, is one of the most aspirational women in Champagne, Vitalie Taittinger. I am always up for supporting women-run Champagne Houses.
So to answer the above question, Champagne Taittinger is always on the top of my list for the Holidays. If you have had a tasting with A Vine Affair, or visit @champagnesquadofficial on IG, you have most likely heard me speak about this house, their wines, and even joined me with a Champagne Taittinger toast!
Here are the bottles I will be popping and gifting this year:
This is my favourite Blanc de Blancs Champagne- from old vintages like 1979 and 1985 I've enjoyed, to iconic vintages such as 2008, and finally, the most recent release of the 2011, each Comtes de Champagne has a beautiful element of surprise and delight with every sip.
There is no doubt about it that this wine is for celebrations. It is the ultimate expression of the Taittinger style, only produced in exceptional vintages, and has been aged minimum 10 years on the lees.
When I visited Champagne in September, I was in awe of all the Comtes sleeping so still in the cellars just waiting for their perfect time to wake up, and be opened by champagne lovers all over the world. You get a whole other level of appreciation for these wines when you are there. And the winding, dark, cold and damp cellars are the absolute best way for these to be stored.
2011 Vintage is powerful, its refined and expressive, complex with notes of citrus fruits, lime blossom and caramelized grapefruit. The long, rich ending reveals sweet licorice aromas. 2011 was a challenging year in Champagne, and very few vintage champagnes were made. "Summer in the springtime, springtime in the summer, and then a return to the summer in the autumn."- Charles Curtis MW. This beautiful champagne that came from such a difficult year, makes the Comtes even more special to grab!
Give this one as a gift to the Champagne Lover in your life, and grab a bottle to toast the New Year!
Taittinger Brut Millésimé is produced from selected Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes grown in vineyards in several of the finest microclimates of the Champagne region. It is produced only in vintage years when the harvest yields fruit of excellence equal to Taittinger’s rigorous standards of quality.
The Chardonnay grapes are harvested from the Grands Crus of the Côte des Blancs and the Pinot Noir comes from the Grands Crus of Montagne de Reims and the edge of Vallée de la Marne.
Aged for five years on the lees, the wine acquires complexity and the fine, pinpoint bubbles characteristic of its sparkle.
2014 Vintage is pale gold in the glass with fine, pinpoint bubbles. On the nose, aromas of white fruit and wild berries precede flavors of toast and yeast. Excellent minerality and refined acidity culminate in a lasting, full-bodied, round finish. The 2014 year was up-and-down, but ended well, and this wine is deep and intense yet also elegant and refined. Drinking well now, but would benefit also from a few years on the cork.
Pictured is the 2013 I popped open during Thanksgiving. Like me, grab the 2014 for your Christmas Dinner!
A blend of more than 35 different crus from a variety of harvests, this wine spends four years on the lees before being disgorged. 18 g/l dosage combined with the slow cellar ageing creates a round, mellow, smooth Champagne that is perfect to enjoy with a dessert or late in the evening.
This distinctively sweet “sec” Champagne is pale yellow in color with shimmering highlights and bubbles that form a delicate ring of fine foam. On the nose there are aromas of white flowers, yellow peach and dried apricots. The palate is smooth and creamy yet very crisp and gives way to flavors of raisins and fruit in syrup. This mature, rich and round wine culminates in a long, smooth finish.
I don’t know about you, but I spend Christmas with family, friends, and all sorts of wine drinkers. I try to have something for everyone when hosting, and City Lights is perfect for those who have a sweeter palate. Every time I serve this one, it is always a hit!
Taittinger Nocturne Rosé "City Lights" is a Sec champagne composed of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Blended from approximately 30 vineyards and from multiple vintages, the wine is laid down for three years to age before disgorgement.
The color is an intense, bright, flamboyant pink. Its bubbles form a delicate halo of fine foam. A full-bodied nose reveals delicious aromas of pastries. On the palate the attack is clean, fresh and generous, with silky tannins. Taittinger Nocturne Rosé "City Lights" is a structured, voluptuous champagne that presents an elegant, well-integrated balance of sugar, acid and tannins.
I tried Nocturne Rosé for the first time when visited Champagne Taittinger in Reims, and I just HAD to add it to my list this year! I think rosé is a must during the holiday season, and this one is great with all of those sweet dishes and desserts we love to serve during this season.
For those still looking for your perfect Champagne for the Holidays, I really hope this helped you! And as always, feel free to reach out to me anytime on @champagnesquadofficial or A Vine Affair for any other suggestions!
This post was sponsored by Taittinger. All opinions stated are my own.