Spirit of Champagne
Sexy, sophisticated, elegant and chic…
Floating up the grand steps of Sydney’s Blue Hotel and into the softly lit bosom of the Water Bar, which incidentally was overflowing with PYTs (pretty young things) and encased by shiny battlements comprised of elegant engraved silver champagne buckets glinting with multi-coloured bottles…the whole sensory experience really did feel like a Grace Kelly moment; opulent and generous, yet at the same time refined and discreet. On offer no less than 5 different expressions of the essence of the House of Champagne Taittinger – the best kind of companion to tantalise the tastebuds and stimulate the fashionable conversation.The Taittinger/Harpers Bazaar party was indeed the place to see and be seen and the event twitter handle I created (#CJ3F) to broadcast news of the edutainment proceedings was so popular that it trended on twitter across Sydney that night… check out #CJ3F on twitter to read all about our sparkling shenanigans in great company!
Fourth generation scion, Clovis Taittinger, 32 describes the family champagne business as being “a tailor of life”, whilst his father Pierre-Emmanuel, 57, embodies the Taittinger vision of being “faithful companions of pleasure”. Each bottle of Taittinger Champagne must be a source of excitement which demonstrates that excellence is a reality not a myth. Given an annual production of three million bottles, consistent perfection is a big ask, but one which this branch of the Taittinger dynasty seem to be delivering on since bringing the business back into family hands in 2006. Their goal is perfection in every bottle so lucky for them that they now own the 3rd largest estate in Champagne and are known around the world for their close links with gastronomy, art and other elegant gentlemanly pursuits such as vintage car racing.
Taittinger’s Australian agent’s exuberant extravaganza of fizz and fifties fashion was conceived in partnership with Harpers Bazaar magazine and David Grant Special Events. Over the course of a relaxed yet decadent three hour event two hundred VIP guests were introduced to the spirt of this champagne family and enjoyed more than 95 cases of champagne on the night. The wonderful displays of champagne paraphenalia in every corner of the room and the elaborate mini bars for each cuvee were pure eye candy to champagne lovers, so I certainly felt like we had entered Aladdin’s Cave. Although a few of my event management industry guests commented that eight years ago Moet Hennessy had adopted the same market entry strategy, everybody unanimously agreed that the execution on the night was truly elegant and entertaining. I took full advantage of my tourist status to thoroughly enjoy the delicious champagnes on offer and I was delighted to offer educational champagne advice wherever and whenever required by guests in my vicinity. Unfortunately my posse completely missed out on the goodie bags (which allegedly contained bottles of Brut Reserve) but we really didn’t care because we had had so much fun together tasting and tweeting the night away…
Extra performance entertainment on the night included an electric runway show performance by fifties models (in full sumptuous evening gowns mounted on huge mobile pedestals that reminded me of birthday cakes). Marilyn Monroe would definitely have approved of the newly released 100% grand cru chardonnay Taittinger 1999 Comtes de Champagne (which my posse and I noted was in fact “cuvee Qantas”). This champagne is so just complex, caressing, smooth and creamy – no wonder it was James Bond’s favourite champagne in the 007 movie From Russia With Love.
Other champagne tasting delights included relatively new baby “Prelude” the 100% grand cru perfect aperitif champagne mid-distant between NV and vintage – which exhibits great toasty richness and brioche characters. The Taittinger 2004 demonstrated great precision and elegance on the palate – always the thread of great chardonnay (a signature of the house) but interwoven with the fabulous red fruit flavours of grand pinots. Not forgetting the prestige rose (made by addition method with 15% of red wine from the Montagne de Reims) – always one of my favourite expressions of this great summer champagne style.
The day after the night before party, I was also invited to a trade master class hosted by Nick Stock at Summit Salon Prive. Here we matched the Taittinger portfolio to gourmet canapes which added an extra dimension, to subtly re-inforce the message that Taittinger champagnes are well suited to gastronomy. Naturally champagne connoisseur James Bond already knew that!
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