Today we are delighted to be able to offer the newest release of the stunning Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2007. The 2007 vintage in Champagne experienced a warm spring and early flowering. This was followed by a cloudy summer and a warm September, producing a reasonable crop with above average acidity. The results have been excellent. Cristal 2007 received 97+ points from Richard Juhlin, 96 from James Suckling and today’s release, Comtes de Champagne 2007 has received 98 points from James Suckling, its highest ever, preferring it to the 2006. He describes it has having ‘subtle depth and power with a dense block of vivid fruit that’s highlighted with lemon zest, green apples and hints of white peaches. Just the right amount of praline and nuts on the nose. Fine and tight bead give the Champagne a luxurious mouthfeel.’
Its price on release is generous compared to the other leading prestige Cuvees such as Dom Perignon, which produces an order of magnitude more bottles per vintage. Comtes’ production is also considerably below Cristal as is the price; Taittinger makes less than 25,000 cases of Comtes per vintage. At less than £75 per bottle, Comtes de Champagne represents wonderful value for money when compared to comparable cuvees and older vintages. That said today’s release is £50 above the price of the 2006, although Suckling believes the 2007 is a ‘a step up from the linear and fresh 2006.’ While £400 would have made it a fill your boots release, £450 is an excellent and fair price for what is a very well-priced wine on release, a champagne that shows superb vintage premium. It is a fine champagne indeed and the 2007 vintage is one to own.
Comtes de Champagne was the vanguard of Blanc de Blancs ‘prestige cuvees’ putting it on the world map when they first released their 1952 vintage in 1958. The other two truly great examples of this, Salon Le Mensil and Krug Clos du Mensil start at £300 per bottle. This reflects the fact that great Chardonnay vines are rare in Champagne; most major houses prefer to use their best Chardonnay grapes blended with Pinot Noir in their grand cuvees. Comtes de Champagne is produced in the cellars of the former Saint-Nicaise abbey (13th Century) in Reims and receives extravagant care and profligation, with the strict production made entirely of Chardonnay selected from only the best vines from six Grand Cru plots in the prestigious Cote des Blancs, where the chalkiest soils are found. The wines are then aged for 8-10 years in the Saint-Nicaise chalk pits (Crayeres) before being released to market.
Comtes de Champagne use only Chardonnay, a stylistic choice, which results in a beautifully aromatic and refined nose, with a rich and creamy palate, displaying characteristics of Blanc de Blancs at its very best. Blanc de Blancs tends to be more elegant and delicate. We tasted it on Saturday evening and we are delighted to confirm it is a magnificent Comtes, with delightfully delicate bubbles, combining wonderfully ripe fruit with balanced acidity, poise and length. It is drinking beautifully now, yet with the concentration of fruit and freshness that will allow it to improve for decades in bottle.
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