epiQure @ Marque & Vue de Monde w/Champagne Taittinger
Did you know that the origins of the House of Champagne Taittinger date back further than the history of Australia, to 1734 when the original house was founded by Jacques Fourneaux – the third Champagne house to be created. Taittinger’s historical links go back even further to 1240, when Count of Champagne Thibaud IV (famous lover to the queen of Louis VII) brought back an ancestor of the chardonnay vine from Cyprus after the Crusades.
But the modern history of Taittinger really begins in 1932 when Pierre Taittinger purchased his dream home in Champagne, which he had fallen in love with during World War I, whilst stationed at Chateau de la Marquettrie, just outside Epernay.
Since then the prestigious name of Taittinger has been involved in the glamorous worlds of motor-racing, film and fashion but most importantly gastronomy. Working closely with the world’s top chefs like Fernand Point, the house of Taittinger has been responsible for moving consumer tastes towards a drier more refreshing style of champagne – and Taittinger Brut Reserve is a benchmark for this contemporary style.
What better way to enjoy these fine champagnes that with some of the most inventive and original fine cuisine available in Australia?
Multi-award winning sparkie-turned-chef Mark Best is one of the best. His cooking is world renowned and he is among a distinguished few to achieve 19/20 in the SMH Good Food Guide. His restaurant Marque is the Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year 2011 and ranked no 70 in the San Pellegrino Top 100 Restaurants in the World. Mark’s food has been described as “pure gastronomic porn”. Learn more about Marque here
Since Gourmet Traveller named Shannon Bennett Best New Talent in 2004 – it’s been awards and three chef’s hats every year since. Bennett has brought a new gold standard for Victorian restaurants and been single-minded in his pursuit of French trois etoiles style dining in Australia. Every night at Vue De Monde a theatre of culinary delights unfolds in the kitchen where Shannon Bennett performs his magic – there’s no menu, only a degustation with a guarantee that each exquisite course will astonish and intrigue, and leave diners knowing that they’ve experienced Melbourne’s very best. Learn more about Vue de Monde here
Featuring special celebrity guest Clovis Taittinger, great-grandson of the founder of Champagne Taittinger, these sold-out sumptuous champagne celebrations, brought to you by epiQure – the new wine and food community for Qantas frequent flyers – are hosted by Australia’s consumer champagne expert Jayne Powell (known as Champagne Jayne), author of “Champagnes – Behind The Bubbles”.
Champagnes on tasting at Marque & Vue de Monde:
Taittinger Prestige Rose NV
A rose d’addition made with 30% chardonnay with 15% still red wine from pinot noir on the Montagne de Reims. A subtle balance between full-bodied and silky smooth vivacious wine: lively, fruit, fresh & frisky!
Taittinger Brut Reserve
40% chardonnay 60% pinot noir/pinot meunier from 35 different vineyards – consistent high quality champagne of “honour” tasting of peaches and vanilla, lively & crisp on the palate. High proportion of chardonnay gives elegant minerality & purity of fruit which is rich, creamy & lush.
50% chardonnay/ 50% pinot noir (mostly grand cru) using only tete de cuvee wines. Flinty & yeasty on the nose leading to fine, intense sweet fruitiness with touches of lemon and honey. Nice balance between finesse, elegance & powerful seduction. Its freshness suggests excellent aging potential.
Prélude Grands Crus Cuvée is composed of Chardonnay (50%) and Pinot Noir (50%) that Taittinger has selected exclusively from the top Grands Crus vineyards classified as “100%” in the Champagne system. Produced only using first press wines, this rare blend offers the finesse and structure that a great wine needs if it to be laid down for any length of time. On the palate, this wine strikes the perfect balance of the instantly minerally Chardonnay and the strongly expressive Pinot Noir. Aged for more than five years in the cellar, the Prélude cuvée is unique for its remarkable youth and great wealth of flavours.
Taittinger Comtes 2000
A Comtes should never be drunk before its 10th birthday – launched with the 1952 vintage as a hommage to Thibault IV (the lover of Louis VII’s widow) and made famous in the 2nd James Bond movie “From Russia With Love” a benchmark blancs de blancs champagne. (nb 5% of wine aged in oak for 4 months. A very fresh nose opens on contrasting, intense yet subtle, grilled, toasty notes. These are followed by aromas of candied citrus peel, lemon and vanilla tart, roasted almonds and finally a floral hint of dried flowers and lime blossom. The initial impression on the palate is expressive and powerful, dominated by the vivacious citrus fruit, especially ripe lemon. Mid palate the flavour is more deli cate, with flavours of caramelised grape fruit. The lengthy rich finish reveals sweet liquorice notes.
Taittinger Comtes Rose 2003
The rarest wine of the house – rose and violet petals and subtle fruity scents of raspberry and pear on the nose with fresh almonds in the background. Fruity & silky caressing the palate with luxurious delight to be sipped very slowly.
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2004 – unremarkable weather conditions, cool summer then rain after mid august followed by a warm september. Harvest commenced with the chardonnays on Sept 20th – great quality, balances, complex with a long finish & the pinots elegant and well-structured.
2003 – spring frosts were followed by a summer heatwave resulting in some very interesting and stunning wines. The Chardonnay wines are rich, well-rounded and very supple with flavours of fruit in syrup while the Pinots Noir wines offer powerful, well-rounded fruitiness with flavours of figs.
2000 – Climate conditions for the year 2000 were normal, however annual average temperatures were higher than that of 1999. Flowering occurred in mid June whilst sum mer weather conditions prevailed. Shortly before picking time, a large part of the harvest still had to ripen amidst considerable rain fall. However, luckily the grapes continued to ripen quickly, and in the beginning of September the region saw an unanticipated level of maturity. Harvesting took place from 13 to 25 September in dry weather. The first tastings show well-balanced homogeneous wines: the Chardonnays are floral with an ample, complex struc ture while the Pinots Noirs are robust and fleshy with aromas of red fruits. The year 2000 was unanimously declared to be a year of high quality.
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