By Franz Scheurer
Tattinger is, by Champagne standards, the new kid on the block. Founded in 1927 it was probably the first to predict a shift in taste to lighter, more ethereal Champagnes, and the family took prompt action by purchasing more land and planting Chardonnay. This was ridiculed by the other growers and Champagne houses, but Tattinger proved to be right, and Blanc de Blancs are a fact of life now.
It was probably Charles Tattinger who first saw Chardonnay planted amongst Pinot Noir, at the Château de la Marquetterie, near Epernay, and he instantly fell in love with both the property and the 'chess board like' appearance of the vineyard close to harvest, on a prime Champagne hill slope. This property would eventually be purchased by Pierre Tattinger and become the home of Tattinger family. It's interesting to note, that although a public company, a 'Tattinger' is still at the helm with Pierre-Emmanuel Tattinger, who brings a good thirty years of experience in the Champagne business and a solid business knowledge to the firm.
Last night we had the chance to try 11 different expressions of Tattinger and here's a quick run-down:
Tattinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1998
100% Chardonnay, 100% Grand Crus, only using the first pressings
This was the pick of Champagnes for me. Great stuff.
Tattinger Comptes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1996
As above. 5% matured in new oak with a yearly one third replacement scheme.
Terrific Champagne, great vintage, second choice for me.
Tattinger Comptes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1995
Same as above. A wonderfully tight and clean Champagne, ready to drink now. Although great, it is not as alluring as the 1998 or 1996.
Tattinger Brut Réserve
40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot this is a typical Tattinger house style.
Tattinger Prelude (Grands Crus Brut)
Entirely from Grand Crus vineyards, 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. This is a beauty! Probably the best value for money. I do hope we will see this soon on the Australian market!
Tattinger ‘Les Folies de la Marquetterie’ Brut
From grapes grown at Les Folies vineyards at the Tattinger Marquetterie Estate it is made from 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir.
Tattinger Brut Millésimé 2000
Made from equal quantities of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir this was the weakest link in the line up. I am not sure this wine deserves a vintage.
Tattinger Brut Millésimé 1999
The driest wine in the line up, it convinced with its longevity. I’d personally cellar this for another 5 years at least.
Tattinger Brut Prestige Rosé
Made from a blend of base wines from Tattinger vineyards, a small quantity of red wine is added just before bottling to give the wine its colour. A decent celebrationary drop.
Tattinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé Brut 1999
Wonderful apricot colour (reminiscent of a Rosé de Provence), good bouquet and good acidity, this is a good Champagne reflecting the 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay mix. Juice from the first pressings has been added and it is aged for a minimum of 5 years.
My pick of the pink Champagnes.
Tattinger Nocturne (Sec)
With Brut being the all-encompassing style on the market it is great to see a sec. (up from the 11 to 13g sugar to 19g sugar). This is not a sweet Champagne at all, but the slightly higher sugar level does make this an easier drinking style at the end of the meal. As one guest commented: A great pillow wine.
A few statistics:
Area under vine: 288.84 hectares
Stock held: 22,000,000 bottles
Yearly sales: in excess of 4.5 million bottles