Champagne Taittinger hosts an annual event called “The Art of Celebrating the Holidays — Christmas in July.”
This year the event also included Thanksgiving and New Years ideas for celebrating Taittinger Champagne style with Oysters, Calvisius Caviar, Black Truffles from Urbani and Jacques Torres Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier.
The room was covered with Taittinger Champagne bottles and the whole line of Taittinger Champagne was available to taste. At the entrance was a Taittinger Champagne Christmas tree.
As I entered, I was handed a glass of Champagne Taittinger Nocturne NV made from 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier ($84). I headed for the caviar.
John Knierim from Calvisius Caviar said Calvisius is an Italian company located in Calvisano, between Milan and Venice. It is the world’s largest farmed caviar producer accounting for 20% of global caviar production from its 150 acres of sustainable aquaculture. Taittinger Champagne and Caviar a perfect combination.
Then with a glass of Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir ($97), I headed for the oyster bar, just warming up for the Champagne and Oyster seminar that I would be attending later in the evening.
With a glass of Champagne Taittinger Brut Millesime 2012, made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir ($ 97), I headed to the Urbani Truffle Lab where they were serving risotto with black truffles.
These were perfect black truffles and one could smell their wonderful aromas from across the room.
I had one more glass: Champagne Taittinger Prestige Champagne Rose NV made from 50% Pinot Noir 30% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier $86, before the oyster seminar. I should point out that they were all 1/2 glasses.
I would have dessert after the seminar.
Champagne and Oyster Seminar — There were eight different types of oysters to taste and this was one of the few times I have had Champagne with oysters.
On the panel were:
Catherine Cutrei, Sr. PR director for Kobrand,
Vatalie Taittinger, Artistic Director Champagne Taittinger
Chantelle Pabros, Sommelier and Taittinger Ambassador
Julie Qui, Oyster Sommelier @inahalfshell.com
Vatalie said Taittinger is one of the few remaining family owned and operated Champagne houses. It is located in Reims, France. Its distinctive style is influenced by a greater proportion of Chardonnay in the blends and a longer aging period before release.
Julie said oysters are not that different from fine wine insofar as they are site–expressive, meaning their taste is shaped by the characteristics of their growing environment. Where wines have terroirs, oysters are defined by “meroirs.” Water salinity, temperature, the type of algae present in the water, and the seabed characteristics all factor into an oyster’s flavor.
Champagne and Oysters
Champagne Taittinger Brut La Française NV made from 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meurnier. Ms Tattinger said the Champagne is aged for 3 to 4 years, which is twice the legal requirement, and it is the staple of the Taittinger House. $62.
It has a very expressive bouquet fruity with hints of brioche, peaches and white flowers. On the palate it is fresh and lively with honey notes.
Species: Crassostrea gigas and harvested Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur Mexico
Grow out method: Intertidal long lines
It had a meaty texture with poignant salinity with flavors of seaweed, savory and umami packed like anchovy.
Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc 2006 100% Chardonnay
This is the ultimate expression of the Taittinger House Champagne style and is produced in only in exceptional years.
The grapes come from the top vineyards in the Côtes des Blancs and only the best-pressed juice is used. A small amount (5%) of the blend spends 3 to 4 months in new oak barrels. Ms. T said this is to enhance the intrinsic qualities of the final blend. Prior to disgorgement, the Champagne is aged for 10 years on the lees in 13-century chalk cellars. This is one of my favorite Champagnes and worth the price $205.
Species: Crassostrea harvested at Nootka Sound, Northwest Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Grow Out Method: Floating tray/ intertidal beach
Nootka are among the most remotely cultured oysters in North
America. They have very thin white meat and very black mantles. Medium salinity and very creamy. Slightly lactic, butter cream and vegetal. Nutty sweet and a clean finish.
Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosè 2006 made from 70% Pinot Noir (12% blended in as still red wine), and 30% Chardonnay. It is produced from 100% Cru grapes from the Cötes des Blanc and the Montagne de Reims. Only juice from the first pressing is used. This is a well structured and complex Champagne with hints of strawberries, cherry black currants and a touch of fresh almonds. This is a great Rosè ($262)
Oyster: Glidden Point
Species: Crassostrea virginica harvested at Damariscotta River Maine
Grow Out: Method Bottom–cultured in deep water
Many Glidden Points are hand-harvested by divers. It takes about 4 years for market size. Medium to high salinity, and silky texture (in winter they take on a much meatier, crunchier texture).
Layed minerality, kelp, and in winter cured ham and prosciutto notes.
Super sweet adductor muscle, crisp mineral finish.
Champagne Taittanger Nocturne Rosè NV made from 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier.
This is a Sec Champagne blended from about 30 vineyards and from multiple vintages. The wine is laid down for 3 years to age before disgorgement. A 17.5 g/l dosage of sugar cane combined with slow cellar aging that Ms. T said creates a round and smooth Rose Champagne. This is the first time I tasted this Champagne. It had hints of brioche, red berries and a touch of almonds.
Species: Crassostrea Virgibica harvested at Mystic River Estuary, Norwich, Connecticut
Growing out Method: Bottom cultured on beach
Mystics are often abnormally round and have scalloping, which some theorize comes from the strong tides ripping over the shallow-planted oysters. High salinity with springy texture, may be a little creamy in July (much firmer in winter). Flavor fluctuates throughout the year, but generally a good balance between sweet, nutty and mineral. A crisp and clean finish.
Note: Oysters enter the grow-out phase after they leave the nursery.
When we finished the oysters Julie said to flip them over and admire the “artistry” on the back of the shells.
After the seminar I headed to Jacques Torres Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier with another glass of Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosè 2006 to try with the chocolates and pastries.
I have always been a fan of Rose Champagne and chocolate and it also worked very well with the pastries.