Author and documentarian, Blandine Giambiasi explores the links between men and their land. Here she gives us a beautiful story about the soul of Taittinger’s premium cuvée Comtes de Champagne.
There are some wines that can only exist thanks to the magic of fairies: good souls, precise gestures, numerous decisions, unique landscapes, plants connecting air and soil, and special subsoils. Taittinger’s premium cuvée Comtes de Champagne is one of those wines. In 1952, François Taittinger envisioned a Champagne that would embrace all the subtleties of the Côte des Blancs, the region’s finest, five Grands Crus united under a single name. A premium bottle illustrating an exceptional vintage. The wine was called Comtes de Champagne in homage to Theobald IV, who as a Crusader in the 13th century returned from the Middle East with the ancestor of the Chardonnay grape variety, Champagne’s key component. This vintage bears a royal seal. Its very name more broadly evokes the great family creating it.
The story of a superb wine could then flourish, free to see the light of day or not, depending on what a given year inspires. Every effort is made during the process to live up to the original vision. Until the very end, its guardians can decide to create a new cuvée – or not. This freedom and commitment constitute a fundamental hallmark of the Taittingers. At the helm of the House of Champagne, they are like Counts, conquerors. Quickly and passionately, they embraced the opposite approach to Chardonnay. They honor the terroirs by honoring the winemakers. For that is where history has its roots: in the land of the great Côte des Blancs.
Meticulous work completely devoted to accompanying winegrowers in their quest for balance, ensures that the grapes can express themselves fully through their growers’ dedicated attention. Fully aware of being on land blessed by the gods, they deeply appreciate its beauty and delicacies. When they work in the Comtes de Champagne fields, they are fully aware of the grape’s finesse and minerality and let the vinification team make wine from perfectly harvested Chardonnay grapes. The story continues. They pass the baton but never miss an opportunity to speak about the terroir’s flavor, the blend’s magic, and the spirit of the Comtes de Champagne during the creative process, signed by each of them. The very first secret is revealed in the wine cellar: the vinification’s aim is to not add anything to the juice that has been delivered. An invaluable expression of a place and time requires humility and precision when they simply accompany it in its transformation into wine.
Above all, nothing more. To achieve this, all the senses are employed. Not forgetting intuition. Another secret of this wine may be that it doesn’t have a recipe. It is the interpretation of each and every effort that ultimately creates a Comtes de Champagne. A story told and an emotion felt in each decision. Each action carries significance and purpose. Every gesture. All the way up to those wrist movements giving a few turns to the bottles on racks that benefit from the unique air of the Saint-Nicaise Abbey chalk quarries. The reign of limestone, upside down. The path of the one who watches over this buried treasure, in the footsteps of its previous guardians or in remembrance of those who took refuge there, leaving their engraved signatures on the walls. In this labyrinth, kilometers are traveled by the cellar masters to ensure each cuvée rests ten years before being bottled, hauled up, and unveiled to the world above.
And up there, when it’s time for tasting, the promise holds. The bedrock comes out on top. Radiant freshness. Splendid lacework. Energy released with restraint. Its sophistication perfectly suits every friendship, each delicacy, all authentic cuisine, therefore being equally satisfying all on its own.