More than anything, Chateau de la Marquetterie, in Epernay, is the thread which ties together the history of the Taittinger Champagne
House. First owned by the wine house, Forest-Forneaux, Marquetterie’s vineyards were planted with Chardonnay
and Pinot Noir
beginning in the 18th century. In 1932, Pierre Taittinger purchased the estate after spending some time there recovering from a heart attack he suffered in battle—the chateau had served as a command post during WWI. The estate was subsequently passed down from generation to generation within the Taittinger family, expanding its holding and improving in quality with the passing of time.
Today, Taittinger’s holdings cover 288 hectares at some of the best sites in Champagne: St. Remy, Plat des Coutures, the Imperiale, and the Rouges Fosses to name just a few. Still, harvests here satisfy only 50% of grape needs. The rest are acquired through contracts with other producers in the region. The wines, however do not suffer. Taittinger is among the best producers of aperitif-styled Champagnes, light in body but consistently full-flavored, with orchard fruit and floral notes and an essential pliancy of texture. The pair of Comtes de Champagne bottlings is superb, with the blanc de blancs typically creamy and seductive and the rosé one of Champagne's finest.
There was a short period, beginning in 2005, when the house was sold to American hotel group Starwood. Shortly after, however, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger bought back the business. He continues to run it today, with the help of his children, Vitalie and Clovis.
France is the fountainhead of the grape varieties most craved by
North American wine drinkers: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir,
Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, these grapes are widely
referred to as "international" varieties because they have been planted and
imitated all over the world.
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