Most Admired Champagne Brands 2017: 1-15


Large family businesses in Champagne that still bear the name of the family are rarities. This wouldn’t still be one without the dogged determination to keep hold of ownership shown by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, whose children Clovis and Vitalie, now work beside him. While Ruinart may boast the most widely recognised non-vintage Blanc de Blancs, Taittinger has claim to produce one of the most sought after, vintage, all-Chardonnay offerings in Comtes de Champagne. Sourced wholly from Grands Crus Côte des Blancs sites, its linear, rapier-like acidity is quite a contrast to the more powerful Dom Ruinart style, where richer Montagne de Reims Chardonnay plays an important part.

Like the other top-scoring family business in our survey, significant vineyard holdings of some 288ha which supply around half of its needs, help Taittinger compete with the likes of LVMH and Pernod Ricard-owned marques on international markets, as it needs to with 5m-plus bottles to sell.

With a significant proportion of its vineyards planted to Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs, Taittinger also boasts one of the non-vintage styles with the largest percentages of Chardonnay in the blend at around 40%. The Chardonnay-led theme is continued in the Prelude Grands Cru blend, unvintaged but always from a single harvest, where half the assemblage is Chardonnay, mostly from Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Single vineyard cuvée Les Folies de la Marquetterie is another wine that merits more attention. But it’s Comtes de Champagne, a wine that ages terrifically well taking more than a decade to reach its peak, that gets the plaudits. If Taittinger released it as late as Krug first markets its vintage wines, it would have an even greater reputation than it does today.