Taittinger Comtes Blanc Brut 2006
97 Points James Suckling
The Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is the finest example of the Taittinger House style and is always a vintage cuvée. It is made with 100% white grapes from the 5 villages with a Grands Crus classification for the Chardonnay grape (Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Oger, Mesnil-sur-Oger).
This cuvée is created using juice from the first press only. A small percentage of the blend is aged in fresh oak barrels to create the very delicate balance of toasted notes in the final wine. Taittinger knows it must be patient with these great Chardonnays, which are the crowning glory of its terroir; the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs remains for up to 10 years in the chalk quarries beneath Saint-Nicaise, before emerging to ignite and delight the palates of wine-lovers.
Taittinger's prestige cuvee epitomizes the Chardonnay predilection of this producer. This now-mature bottling is elegant and very stylish. Toast and a soft texture combine with great complexity to reveal a wine that is poised and ready to drink. But with the acidity in the background, it could still age, so drink now and until 2022.
The 2006 Comtes de Champagne is striking, especially in the way it brings together elements of ripeness and freshness in a hypothetical blend of the 2002 and 2004. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the 2006 is all about texture. There is a real feeling of density and weight in the 2006, qualities I expect to see grow with time in the bottle. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. The 2006 has been nothing short of magnificent both times I have tasted it. Comtes de Champagne remains the single best value (in relative terms) in tête de cuvée Champagne. I suggest buying a case and following it over the next 20-30 years, which is exactly what I intend to do. There is little doubt the 2006 Comtes de Champagne is a magical Champagne in the making.