The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards of Taittinger were first planted in the 18th Century, developed by a Benedictine monk who was one of the founding fathers of champagne. The estate was bought by the Taittingers in 1932. They were a family of wine merchants, and from 1945-1960 Francois Taittinger established the cellars in the Abbey of Saint-Nicaise. After Francois’ death in 1960 his brother Claude took over and directed the business until 2005, establishing the brand’s prestige, and in recent years his nephew Pierre-Emmanuel has helped to further increase its success.
The Taittinger group was sold in July 2005 by the Taittinger family to the U.S. hotel group Starwood Capital. Several in the profession were concerned by the idea of foreign investors who didn’t understand the culture of Champagne, and it was just a year later that Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger bought back the business with the support of the Northeast Regional Bank of the Credit Agricole.
Composed of 100% Chardonnay, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (LWIN 1083057) is the flagship brand, and was first produced in 1952. Since then, only 30 vintages have been released: the 2002 is its most recent, and appears to be attracting a growing following.
Taittinger Comtes 2002
The 2002 was released in summer 2012 and began steadily trading on Liv-ex. It has accounted for much of Champagne’s sales over the summer months, when fizz is already in high demand. Last week Jancis Robinson awarded the wine 18/20, declaring it ‘very fine and filigree.’
The effect of the new 2002 release on Taittinger trades is evident. Looking at the year to date compared with the same period last year, both the volume and value of trades has increased considerably. The number of 6x75cl trades (taken from the sum of all bottles traded) has risen from 11 in 2011 to 351 in 2012.
While there have also been trades in the 1995 and 2000 vintages, the 2002 has accounted for 98% of total Taittinger Comtes trades this year by value. It is currently trading on Liv-ex for £360 per 6x75cl.
Champagne’s total share of market trade has been higher than average in 2012, with the region seeing a two and a half year high of 4.4% in June 2012. With Dom Perignon and Louis Roederer’s flagship brands seeing fewer trades this year than in 2011, it is clear that it is Taittinger leading the charge.