Last Updated on April 11, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Your chance to win Champagne to bring the New Year in with style!
Some time ago I was lucky enough to be given a bottle of Prélude Grands Crus Champagne from Taittinger. As I generally do when I know I have something special, I tucked it away for an evening when I had a friend around and when we both needed that bit of fizz that Champagne always brings. Lockdown Two was just that occasion and we opened the bottle to celebrate our bubble, to commiserate about another lockdown and just because…
We hadn’t planned a food pairing. I’d been told it made a fine aperitif and so we sat sipping on some truly excellent and easy to drink Champagne and nibbling on crisps and olives. It was a fine example of Champagne that works brilliantly if you just want to drink something special. I was intrigued. For a start, it is a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir (no Pinot Meunier). Made exclusively from the top Grands Crus vineyards classified as 100% in the Champagne system and only from first press wines, this has the promise of excellence. The Champagne classification system as we know it today was set in law in 1927. Out of 324 Crus (plots of land) there are only 17 which are classified as Grands Crus and command 100% of the price for grapes grown on the land. By comparison, Premier Cru will be between 90 and 99% of the price, and non-classé between 80 and 89%. So, the most expensive grapes from the land regarded as best suited for growing. Taittinger then created a 50% blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to balance the minerally Chardonnay grape with the expressive Pinot Noir. It’s then aged for more than five years in cellar creating a fresh pale yellow drink that is full of flavour. Peaches, elderflower and just a few notes of spice with a fresh citrussy entry.
We were more than happy with the floral, minerally Champagne with a fine, creamy mousse. Although the tasting notes say it works well with seafood, for me this is a Champagne to sip without the need for food. Perfect in fact for seeing in the New Year, even down to its name.
Taittinger itself is one of the oldest Champagne Houses, founded in 1734 by Jacques Fourneaux who established a wine business working closely with the Benedictine Abbeys in Champagne. The Taittinger family took over the Champagne House nearly a century ago and it is still run by a family team. There’s something quite special about the current trio of family members who run the business and if you check the Taittinger website you’ll learn more about the passion and poetry that is at the heart of their business.