Taittinger Champagne may have roots which are almost 300 years old, but that long history doesn’t mean it still isn’t capable of a few surprises. Here are just a few of the things you may not know about Taittinger.
1. James Bond described it as the best wine in the world
Bond may be famous for drinking Martini, shaken, not stirred. But, it would seem 007 actually prefers Taittinger. The brand is Bond’s favourite Champagne in the Ian Fleming novels, and features prominently in the movie From Russia With Love. Sean Connery’s Bond cools a bottle of Taittinger in the sea, lifting it from the water by pulling a string. Later in the film, Bond drinks Taittinger during dinner on the Orient Express.
2. It was taken home by celebrities at the BAFTAs
Whether the stars of the big and small screen took home an award at this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) ceremony or not, they didn’t leave empty handed. Not only were A-listers served with exclusive BAFTA labelled magnums of Champagne Taittinger Brut Réserve, but they were also given bottles of Taittinger to take home in their goodie bags.
3. Taittinger growers are heading to Kent
While sparkling wine must be grown in the Champagne region of France to call itself Champagne, England is set to benefit from Taittinger’s expertise after the Champagne producer bought more than 170 acres of land in Kent. The plan is to plant chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes at Stone Stile Farm, near Canterbury. Nearly 100 acres of the former apple farm will be given over to wine production in chalky, south-facing soil. The new wine is set to be called Domaine Evremond.
4. Its flavours are unique
Taittinger stands out among other Champagne brands because of the high proportion of chardonnay grapes it uses in its non-vintage wines. This, combined with three years of ageing, gives Taittinger Brut Réserve delicately balanced flavours of fresh fruit and honey, along with a brilliant golden yellow hue.
5. Caves for cuvées
Taittinger has found the perfect place to age its Champagne. The Crayéres of Reims are chalk caves, originally dug out by the Romans. They were discovered at the start of the 18th century and are now used by Taittinger to age its prestige cuvées in four kilometres of cave netwok. You can even take a tour of the caves and combine with a wine tasting.
6. Fit for a president
The president of Taittinger Champagne Pierre-Emmanual Taittinger said he planned to run as a candidate in the French presidential election in 2017 before saying a personal event a week later meant he had changed his mind. But, even if he does stand down from his role at Taittinger, there’s still plenty of expertise within the family to keep wine production at its best. His daughter Vitalie is in charge of growing the brand, while her younger brother Clovis looks after exports.
7. The largest bottle in the world
Taittinger designed the largest bottle of Champagne ever made and called it a Sovereign. The bottle was especially made to launch the ship the Sovereign of the Seas. Because the ship was, as the time, the largest cruise ship in the world, Taittinger made the largest bottle of Champagne in the world. It was so big, a steel bar was fixed to the hull of the ship to prevent it from creating a dent upon impact.
8. Religious roots
If it wasn’t for Benedictine monks Taittinger might not exist. When it was originally founded by wealthy textile merchant Jacques Fourneaux in 1734, the house of Taittinger was known as Forest-Fourneaux. He worked with local Benedictine monks who showed him how to produce still and sparkling wines. The Taittingers were a family of wine merchants who bought the wine house in 1932.
9. The wine of sportsmen
Taittinger has strong sporting connections. It was chosen as the official Champagne at the Fifa World Cup in Brazil. It created special commemorative boxes featuring hologram footballs. Unfortunately for Taittinger, however, it couldn’t shout about this union within France because of the country’s strict rules over promoting alcohol.
10. Sweet enough?
Champagne is thought of as a bone dry drink. But Taittinger’s Nocturne Sec offers something out of the ordinary. Older style Champagnes had a fair bit of sweetness in them and Nocturne Sec gives a nod to traditional styles while still remaining modern. It’s fortified with cane sugar, so you get a smoother, creamier feel on the palate with raisin and syrup flavours. It’s proves Champagne isn’t just an aperitif as this is a lovely choice for fruit puddings.