A slightly more luxurious nature to the 2008 than the great 2007. Full-bodied with a lovely framework of acidity and dry fruit, such as apples, pears and peaches. Opulent. Dense and muscular. Yet, it’s balanced and harmonious. Line of acidity at the end. One for the cellar. Release in 2020. Drink or hold. Rating: 99 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Sep 2019)
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Taittinger’s 2008 Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne is being released this year, and it will be worth a special effort to track down. I wrote in August 2019 that this is the finest Comtes de Champagne since the brilliant 2002, and this tasting confirmed that. Offering up a deep and complex bouquet of citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, warm brioche, crushed chalk, blanched almonds and smoke, it’s full-bodied and incisive, with excellent concentration, racy acids and a long, searingly chalky finish. While this is already immensely impressive out of the gates, this 2008 is clearly built for the long haul, and three decades’ longevity won’t be a challenge. Rating: 98 William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (Sep 2020)
Taittinger’s 2008 Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne is simply breath-taking. I have tasted it many times over the years in various trial disgorgements and it has never been anything less than compelling. The final, finished wine captures all of that potential. Bright, focused and wonderfully deep, Comtes is a fabulous example of a vintage that expresses so much energy but with real fruit intensity, the signatures that distinguish it from other vintages (1996 comes to mind) that were similarly taut, but more austere in the early going. Although the 2008 impresses right out of the gate, it only really starts to open up with several hours of air. The 2008 Comtes represents the purest essence of the Côtes des Blancs in a great, historic vintage. Readers who can find the 2008 should not hesitate, as it is a truly brilliant epic Champagne that no one who loves the very best in Champagne will want to be without. Rating: 98+ Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Sep 2020)
50–60% Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, the pillars of Comtes, supported by Oger, Chouilly and Cramant; 5–6% (Chouilly component) aged (not fermented) in young oak barrels (1/3 new & the balance up to 4 years old) for 4–5 months, not for strength, but to add body & subtle notes of toast, brioche, burnt vanilla & coconut to the delicacy of chardonnay; 9g/L dosage.
Taittinger’s flagship Comtes de Champagne holds an enviable position among the very finest blanc de blancs and it is fitting that the lauded 2008 is my Champagne of the Year. The depth of reach of the house into the Côte des Blancs grand crus has made this one of Champagne’s most consistent flagships, and one or two points ahead of Salon in my book in every vintage of the 2000s to date. Every even-numbered vintage since 1996 has been nothing short of transcendental. ‘We are lucky to work with a huge quantity of wines from the Côte des Blancs, allowing us to choose the best samples for Comtes de Champagne each year,’ explains cellar master Loïc Dupont. ‘We look for the vats that represent the typicity of each cru, to build the expression of the vintage. Avize brings elegance, finesse and balance, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger contributes body and a subtle reduction akin to grilled bread, Chouilly delivers roundness, Cramant grilled almonds, and Oger elegant citrus.’
Comtes de Champagne 2008 is one of the most anticipated champagne releases of the decade. It’s been more than three years since the family treated me to a premature sneak preview of this desperately coiled and reticent thing in the reception room of Taittinger at Saint-Nicaise. At that moment, the most enduring Comtes since 1996 was permanently etched in my psyche. It has been worth the wait, and that magic moment has finally come when this monumental thing is unleashed on the world. Still a gorgeous, brilliant pale straw hue. The purity is pinpoint exact, with the magical youthfulness of pure white fruits that capture the energy and precision of Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the brilliant 2008 season. Its tiny proportion of barrel-ferment kicks above its weight, bringing notes of grilled toast, brioche and vanilla. The presence and concentration are something else, with brilliant stature that holds an astonishing line of undeviating persistence that does not fade in amplitude for thirty seconds after you swallow. Its pure lemon fruit is pristine and radiantly fresh. The chalk minerality of the northern Côte des Blancs elevates with astonishing clarity, at once super-fine and calm and at the same time stark and mouth-embracing. This is classic Comtes of the highest order, with a concentration and presence that is all-encompassing and transfixing, perfectly juxtaposed with an energy and tension that will hold it rock-solid for a lifetime yet. Rating: 99 Tyson Stelzer - TysonStelzer.com (Dec 2020)
The Taittinger family are famous producers of champagne. Headed by Claude Taittinger. The Group is ranked in the top 250 businesses in France. Its diversified holdings included Champagne Taittinger, Societé du Louvre and Concorde Hotels, whose flagship is the famed Hotel de Crillon on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
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