Nick B: I was talking to someone from another Champagne House and they said to me: “Taittinger Comtes de Champagne is great but the older vintages are special!” What would be your most memorable vintage?
Vitalie: The one I keep in mind is the ’71 in magnum. It was fantastic because of the freshness and the energy in the wine!
Nick B: And the occasion?
Vitalie: With good friends… they love wine… sometimes you want to share a taste that you cannot find everywhere, so you are very happy to get out an old bottle and share it with good friends!
Nick B: Many French vigneron’s have invested in wine production outside of France. What are your expectations for Taittinger in England?
Vitalie: My expectation is to discover a very good terroir… I just want to make something that is fantastic!
Nick B: Will you be looking to create a wine that Taittinger lovers will recognise or is it something new, or is it as yet not known?
Vitalie: “I’m not sure the big fans of Taittinger will recognise the style or something like that… but maybe a little bit... it’s too early to say. We have to taste!!
Nick B: With all the expertise from centuries of production in Champagne, do you foresee a growing camaraderie between the new English sparkling wine producers and their more experienced cousins in France?
Vitalie: I cannot think that it will be anything but a camaraderie affair because we are producing wine, because we love friendship and we love sharing. For me, it is the first thing we have to do. That is why we are doing this with Patrick McGrath from Hatch Mansfield… it’s a friendship affair!
Nick B: Taittinger is a family run business; do you think, as a drink, or even as a brand, Taittinger carries the spirit and personality of the family?
Vitalie: [Laughing] Yes, definitely! You were talking about special taste. I think we are producing the champagne that we love to drink. When you are a family affair… a family company, you choose the wine you are making, you choose the blending, you work with the cellar master… at each stage you have an impact!
Nick B: The 2016 harvest is now in full swing across the Champagne region. 2016 sounds like its been a difficult year in the vineyards, what is your view?
Vitalie: The year in terms of weather has been a disaster. We have lost a lot of quantity in Cote de Bar. I think what we have in our vineyard is very good. So I am confident in the quality. The quality will be there but the quantity will not!
Interview recorded at the Hatch Mansfield Portfolio tasting, BAFTA, Piccadilly, London.
An aperitif by the coliseum
As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
Britain’s lamentable exit
On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.
I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.
Interview: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers, climate change & tasting with Stephane Dupuch
Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch.