The House of Taittinger comes to Ritz brunch

You may find yourself lingering just that bit longer over brunch at The Ritz-Carlton from now on, as Jacques Scott introduces the hotel to Taittinger Champagne as its house Champagne for that most favoured of Sunday repasts. The effervescent Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, President of Taittinger Champagne, graced the first ever Taittinger brunch with his lively and entertaining presence in November. The Journal finds out what makes his Champagne so special.

According to M. Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, “Champagne equates to happiness”, and there was certainly a lot of that going around at the launch of Taittinger Champagne at The Ritz-Carlton’s luscious Sunday brunch just recently.

“Taittinger Champagne is the greatest eponymous Champagne House,” Taittinger explains.

“Not only do we produce fine Champagne but we are one of the largest owners of land in France’s Champagne region, with 288 hectares of vines over 34 vineyards, including some of the appellation’s finest.” 

Indeed, vines that make up Maison Taittinger’s signature Champagne are located in the finest regions of the Champagne winegrowing country, from the Côte des Blancs to the Vallée de la Marne and the Montagne de Reims.

Consistent quality
The finesse, elegance and refinement that is enjoyed in every bottle of Taittinger Champagne comes from their unique blend of Champagne grapes, which includes a higher than average amount of Chardonnay (at least 40 per cent), Taittinger says.

“Chardonnay gives the wine its masculinity but we create a great balance with its femininity also, so that the wine is not too strong. At Taittinger we love women to enjoy our Champagne so we ensure delicacy also,” Taittinger states.

Taittinger says he sees Champagne as playing a twofold role: “Firstly it must pair well with all kids of food and secondly it is also a symbol of celebration. It is therefore extremely important for us to reach consistent levels of quality,” he says. “And of course we have to drink it every day so it must always be good!” he quips.

“If we were to be measured against a sports car we would not be a Ferrari or a Rolls Royce, as they are not always reliable,” Taittinger adds. “Rather, we see ourselves as a BMW or a Mercedes. Solid and continually high quality,” he says.

Taittinger says they are able to achieve such consistency because they only ever use the first pressing of the grape, while some Champagnes are made from second or even third pressings. Another vital factor in the Champagne’s success is the aging that it undergoes.

“By law we must age Champagne at least 15 months; however we always age our Champagne for three to four years,” he comments. “This is the reason why our bubbles are so fine and our wine has such finesse.”

Guntram Merl, Executive Assistant Manager, Director of Food and Beverage at The Ritz-Carlton, confirms: “I personally have always loved this Champagne. It is a wine that works with our food: easy to drink; I always want a second and third glass, perfectly suited for sipping away on a leisurely Sunday afternoon at brunch.

Lee Royle from Jacques Scott, distributors of Taittinger on island, is delighted to have a Champagne of such prestige showcased at The Ritz-Carlton brunch: “As I told Pierre Emmanuel, I have long been an advocate of Taittinger Champagne. From the days when I worked as a server I always recommended Taittinger Champagne and for me it has come full circle.  I am now proud to distribute and represent Taittinger Champagne in the Cayman Islands.”

History
The House of Taittinger is one of the oldest in France, with a history that dates back just under 800 years when Thibauld IV, Count of Champagne brought back a vine, an ancestor of Chardonnay, from the Crusades. This vine was to become the mark of Maison Taittinger, the sign of the family’s elegant wines.

Fast forward to the year 1734 when Jacques Fourneaux, followed soon by his son, developed Forest & Fourneaux, the company eventually to become Taittinger. In 1918 the company moved to the original Thibauld IV residence, the Demure des Comtes de Champagne in Reims and in 1932 Pierre Taittinger took control of the flourishing Champagne house.

Pierre’s son, Françoise decided that Chardonnay would be the predominant grape of the House (Champagne is usually comprised of a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) thus defining the Champagne’s style and character.

Nowadays Maison Taittinger is still in the family’s hands, with President Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger at the helm, supported by his brothers, sisters, son, daughter and father, Jean Taittinger.

Spreading the word
As president of his company, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger travels the world spreading the word about his family’s fine Champagne. “But only in select places!” he states. “I visit our friends all over the world touching all the good places which enjoy Taittinger Champagne.”

Taittinger began his tour of Cayman with a welcoming party at The Wharf, where trade and the public were invited to sample a glass or two of his immensely drinkable bubby.

Internationally, he says he is building brand awareness in Asia, particularly China, as well as Russia and the Caribbean.

The House of Taittinger produces five million bottles of their Champagne annually and M. Taittinger says he is delighted that part of that production is now winging its way to the Cayman Islands every Sunday.  

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Ritz-Carlton General Manager Franz Ferschke (right) enjoys the brunch with friends.

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