N.V. Taittinger Brut La Francaise

Year: N.V.
Appellation: Champagne
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 88
Vinous Media: 88
Wine Enthusiast: 90--Burghound: 88
Sparkling Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.0%
Price :

"Well-cut and firm, with a smoky underpinning and a chalky texture, this shows an open-knit mix of black raspberry, slivered almond, lemon peel and star anise. Enjoy with food. Drink now through 2020. 2,500 cases imported. -AN" (WS)

"The NV Brut La Francaise is a pretty, mid-weight wine with good definition in its ripe peaches, flowers and sweet spices, and a refined, clean finish. This is an attractive, well-balanced NV Champagne to enjoy now and over the next few years. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. This is Lot: L7146PK00100, disgorged April 10, 2007. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2010.

Taittinger is one of Champagne’s historic houses. The estate is best known for its Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne, a wine that has a strong track record of developing beautifully in bottle, often for several decades after release. While a few bottles in the range aren’t quite up to par, in aggregate this is an impressive showing for a house of this scale." (WA)

"($55; L7130NB02400) Light, vivid gold. Fresh lemon, lime and green apple on the nose, with a suave undercurrent of smoky minerals. Tightly wound on entry, opening to offer fleshier pear and underripe melon flavors and a firm bite of lemon pith. A dry, focused style that finishes with good grip and cut. A solid example of this house's traditional style." (VM)

"Tasted from a half bottle, the rich and complex flavors of Brut La Française show just that extra touch of maturity. The wine has peach and almond flavors that contrast well with the taut, nervy edge. It’s full in the mouth and ripe, and works well both as an apéritif and a food Champagne. -R.V. (5/1/2013)" (WE)

"A distinctly yeasty and quite fruity nose features notes of apple, pear and citrus hints. There is a generous mousse on the delicious and easy-to-like flavors that possess just enough depth to avoid being banal plus there is good length on the moderately dry finish." (BH)

Winery Notes:
Taittinger Brut La Française is produced from select Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes grown in the finest microclimates of the viticultural area of Champagne. Taittinger's extensive vineyard holdings of 752 acres in these areas, particularly in those where Chardonnay is planted, allow it to rely primarily on its own grapes for the vinification of its portfolio of champagnes.

Following harvest, the grapes are pressed immediately in press houses located among the vineyards, yielding a first pressing, referred to as the "cuvée," which is followed by two more pressings, referred to as the first and second "tailles," which are not used in the blend. In all, no more than 100 litres (approximately 26 gallons) of juice per 160 kilograms (approximately 350 pounds) of fruit may be extracted from the combined three pressings. The juice is transported to the vinification facility, and a cool fermentation of the must takes place under temperature controlled conditions, after which the wine rests until the end of the winter. Blending occurs after the primary fermentation, and thereafter the final cuvée undergoes the secondary fermentation in the bottle at 45 to 50 F in Taittinger's cool cellars, during which the wine acquires complexity and the fine, pinpoint bubbles characteristic of its sparkle. Before remuage, it is aged three to four years, as opposed to the required minimum of 15 month, to develop body and bouquet.

Taittinger Brut La Française is blended to maintain a delicate and elegant style from an extensive range of wines from diverse crus of Champagne. The foundation and consistency of the distinctive Taittinger style relies greatly on the proportion of each grape variety in the blend: Pinot Noir lends the finished blend body, vinosity, structure and power as well as the elegant red berry aromas typical of the variety; Pinot Meunier provides a supple, round fruitiness to the wine; Chardonnay contributes elegance, finesse, crispness and delicacy to the blend, as well as a degree of structure and longevity. Taittinger's reliance on Chardonnay for this cuvée, which approximates 40 percent of the finished wine, or over twice the percentage of Chardonnay used in the standard cuvées of most champagne houses, is the source of the exceptional refinement of the Taittinger style. A cellar reserve of approximately 5,000,000 bottles of wines from prior vintages allows the house to consistently achieve this style and quality. The reserve varies slightly from year to year as a function of the abundance of the harvest and global sales.

The subtle, pale gold color of Taittinger Brut La Française is punctuated by extremely fine, persistent bubbles rising to the surface in fragile strands. The fragrant berry and white fruit aromas, underscored by toasty, yeasty notes are confirmed on the ample, elegant palate which is strongly marked by refined Chardonnay fruit flavors. A fresh, balanced acidity sustains the whole, and carries into a long, crisp toasty finish of great delicacy.