It is a one day visit to the historic wine cellars of Taittinger. A one day visit that immerses you in centuries of history. Located in Reims, France, this renowned Champagne House was founded by a family that traces their wine making roots back to the 1800’s on land that has grown vineyards since the middle ages, utilizing “cellars” that were created by chalk mines during the Roman Empire. Despite the historic significance and family history The House of Taittinger is considered a “new” house of premium champagnes.
Visits to the House of Taittinger include group tours and custom tastings of the extensive vintages. One of the few Champagnes to still be owned and managed by the family name that is on the label, a visit to the House of Taittinger is a history lesson in champagne making, vintages and weather since 1945.
The Taittinger Family has been intricately interwoven with wine making since the 1700’s. A young cavalry officer Pierre-Charles Taittinger became acquainted with Reims and vowed to make it his home. Eventually the Taittinger Family established their residence and vineyards in 1932 in the Champagne Region of France. Their innovative style influenced by their most productive grapes has continued to grow and prosper. They maintain a history of their vintages dating back to 1945.
A tour of the champagne “cellars” which are remnants of a chalk quarry worked during the Romans in the 4th Century is a highlight of the Taittinger tour. The monks of the 13th century expanded these caves beneath the Saint Nicaise Abbey to house their wines. The Abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution, the underground world of quarry pits caves and extensions remained in tact and are today used by the Taittinger Family.
Today the dark cool caves host hand turned bottles of Taittinger Champagne. For the history buff the Taittinger is a treasure trove of living examples throughout the ages. The 4th century quarry, the 13th century additions and the stories of the people who lived there from the persecuted Christians of Roman days to the French Citizens avoiding Nazi Capture are intriguing. The Gothic workmanship from the days of the Abbey are exquisite and impeccably preserved due to the coolness of the underground labyrinth.
With all the history there is to absorb on the one-day tour, Champagne is the star of the day. Almost 3 million bottles of award winning champagne spend three years in the historic wine cellars of the House of Taittinger. The decision by the Taittinger Family to concentrate on Chardonnay was a proven success as they have mastered a champagne that reflects complexity and lightness.
The Taittinger Family selects grape varieties from over 300 acres of planted vineyards, each with a unique character provided by the soil and cultivation. The coolness of the northern champagne vineyards allows the Taittinger Family to expertly blend their carefully cultivated vines to achieve their desired results, which is a collection of the world’s finest champagne vintages year after year.
We loved our Champagne tasting with the very knowledgeable Catherine Bernier
The House of Taittinger offers a vast selection of Cuvees which produces their signature champagnes you can explore on your group or personal tasting tour. Your Taittinger Tasting Tour could include Prestige Rose, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, Nocturne Rose, and Prelude Grands Crus and much more at this elegant House of Champagne.
Hand crafted French Champagne without great French Cuisine would be unheard of, the Taittinger Family supports amateur chefs with the “Taittinger” award, a yearly contestant pitting International chefs against each other in a heated competition.
Supporting the Arts, the Taittinger Family has a gallery of modern art unlike any other you have visited. The Taittinger Collection highlights fine art with the champagne bottle as the canvas. This intriguing modern art collection began in 1983 by matching an artist with a vintage. The champagne became the muse and the bottle the canvas. The tradition continues, and it is now on display as the Taittinger Collection.
A visit to Taittinger for champagne will also include an eye popping experience of the history of civilization, while those visiting for the historic context will be treated to one of the world’s finest champagnes. No matter what your interests, the history of wine, the history of cultivation, great champagne or a pleasant day in Northern France, a visit to the House of Taittinger is one of those once in a lifetime experiences.
Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page
Some photos courtesy of Taittinger Champagne House