The soul of a family business

Emblematic sites

A story’s soul

The story behind a place, whether based on facts, accounts, people or images, shapes a collective memory just as much as a personal one. Emotion sees beyond the stones which are there, or were there. The Taittinger story is built on the respect of such memories and on what these emotions mean.

Headquarters of the Champagne Taittinger

Saint-Nicaise

Something beautiful in the cellar

The Benedictine monks built an abbey church in the 13th century on the site of the grave of Saint-Nicaise in order to worship his relics.

It was sold as a national asset during the Revolution and was plundered for its stone, until its complete demolition in the19th century. Its vaults and ancient, underground chalk quarries dating from the Gallo-Roman era remained remarkably intact. Today, they house a portion of Taittinger Champagne’s production, including the famous cuvée the ‘Comtes de Champagne’.

Taittinger cellars
Plan of the old Saint Nicaise Abbey
Gallo-Roman Crayères

Château de la Marquetterie

The original birthplace

The construction of La Marquetterie in the heart of a famous wine estate started in the Age of Enlightenment.

This gentleman’s country estate was to welcome several famous people over the years and under a series of different owners. Pierre-Charles Taittinger, a young cavalry officer, fell in love with it when he joined General Joffre’s chief of staff there in 1915. He bought the château in 1932 and, 200 years after its construction, it became the birthplace of his new Champagne House.

Video
Lunch in the gardens of La Marquetterie
In 1772,the owner of Château de la Marquetterie,
Jacques Cazotte, wrote there,
one of the first French works of fantasy literature,
"The Devil in love".
Aerial view of Château de la Marquetterie in 1945
Dinner at Château de la Marquetterie

The Counts' Residence

A jewel of Reims heritage

Over more than 3 centuries during the Middle Ages and under the driving force of the ‘Comtes de Champagne’ dynasty, and Thibaud IV in particular, the power of the Champagne region reached a peak the like of which had never been seen before. Its sphere of influence was political, economic, artistic and spiritual.

The ‘Comtes de Champagne’ would stay in one of their residences in the heart of Reims for the coronation ceremonies for the Kings of France. There, they enjoyed hosting great lords, as well as artists, lords and merchants from all over Europe. This outstanding setting, and the Counts’ former residence, is today owned by Taittinger Champagne. It remains faithful to its role in Medieval times in that receptions, exhibitions and concerts are all hosted there. It constitutes the mother house of the cuvee ‘Comtes de Champagne’ and its representation is replicated on each bottle of this great wine.

"For a time, the ""Demeure des Comtes"" was used as a Hôtel des Monnaies, or mint, by the Archbishops who were the masters of the city of Reims.
In the 18th century, it was transformed into an inn under the name ""Palais Royal""."
Visitors can sense the memories
that hang in the air of the ancient cellars.

The Vineyard

One of the largest domaine in Champagne certified Hight Environmental Value

The Taittinger vineyard has become increased in size down the generations and now covers 288 hectares, making it the third largest domaine in Champagne.

Futhermore, the Champagne House has the biggest intramuros vineyard of the city of Reims situated in Val-de-Murigny near the first Roman road connecting Reims to Epernay. It is planted with 37% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier vines distributed equally across 37 different crus which are amongst the best in the Champagne appellation. The vineyard is a perfect reflection of the Taittinger style. It provides 45% of what the Champagne House needs, and is a great asset when it comes to controlling the quality of blends within the framework of responsible viticulture practices which have been awarded a high environmental quality accreditation.

Vincent Collard and Christelle Rinville in charge of the Taittinger vineyards
Video
A harvest atmosphere
"If there's sun when Saint-Jean comes around, wheat and wine both abound"
A popular French saying

SEVENTEEN CENTURIES
OF HERITAGE

Saint-Nicaise, the bishop of Reims, and today the patron saint of the city where coronations took place, was massacred by the Barbarians in the 5th century. In 1229, the Benedictine monks built a new abbey church on the site of his burial to worship his relics, which pilgrims came to see.

The abbey was considered for a long time as one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in France and having belonged to the family of the ‘Comtes de Champagne’ for a long time (the tsar Peter the Great came to visit it specially in 1717). It was sold as a national asset during the Revolution and was plundered for its stone, until its complete demolition in the 19th century. Today, all that remains are the cellars, which form a network of galleries, crypts and Gothic vaults built in the heart of former chalk quarries from the Gallo-Roman era. These chalk quarries acted in the past as a place of refuge for the first Christians and, much later on, housed the wine made in Champagne produced by the monks.

During the Great War, they also housed soldiers and refugees, who commemorated their time spent there by scratching drawings, strange graffiti or just their initials into the chalk walls ; traces of history are still visible today. Some birth were even recorded there. The Saint-Nicaise site was rebuit in 1920 by Binet Champagne, from whom Taittinger purchased it. Each year, 70,000 visitors explore the Saint-Nicaise chalk quarries, guided by Taittinger Champagne House employees. The Taittinger chalk quarries are part of the ‘Coteaux, Maisons et Caves de Champagne’ (hillsides, Champagne houses and cellars in Champagne) included on UNESCO's list of Cultural Heritage. It is also here, 18 metres underground, that the superb vintage ‘Les Comtes de Champagne’ patiently matures for 10 years.

THE MIND AND THE
SOUL CELEBRATE

In 1734, a rich family of drapers from Champagne had a gentleman’s country house built west of Pierry.

It was designed by the nephew of the architect Gabriel. They also acquired the neighbouring wine estate from the Benedictine monks, the hillsides of which were planted with Pinot noir and Chardonnay vines. Jacques Cazotte, a master of fantasy literature in the 18th century, became its owner in 1760 up until the Revolution. During the grape harvest, and at sumptuous garden parties, he brought together some of the most famous writers of the era, including Voltaire and Chénier.

The domaine was close to the fighting during the Great War. In September 1915, General Édouard de Castelnau, and General Joseph Joffre, the future Field Marshal of France, set up their general headquarters there, from which they led a victorious attack. The young cavalry officer, Pierre-Charles Taittinger was assigned to the chief of staff for a liaison mission and fell in love with the château. He purchased it in 1932 with his brother-in-law, Paul Evêque. This grand building then became the centre for his Champagne House, together with the purchase in 1934 of the Forest-Fourneaux Champagne House- one of the oldest in the Champagne region. This Champagne House was created in 1734 - the same year that La Marquetterie was built ! The Taittinger adventure in Champagne had begun.

THE MEMORY OF A
FLAMBOYANT DYNASTY

The ‘Comtes de Champagne’ residence is one of the few examples of Medieval architecture left in Reims. It is a living reminder of a flamboyant dynasty which ruled over Champagne between 956 and 1284.

The dynasty encouraged the economic boom of the region by holding the Champagne fairs. These were huge trading hubs in Europe. The ‘Comtes de Champagne’ also oversaw the increased political influence of Champagne, by supporting religious orders, chivalric orders and the first crusades. They also encouraged artistic expression. Thibaud IV was as famous for his poetry as for his conquests in the Orient. The ‘Comtes’ residence, a place of exceptional historical and architectural significance, was built as a unique, integrated whole in the Middle Ages. This included the ‘Maison des Musiciens’, which had alcoves on its façade to house 6 statues of musicians. They were considered to be some of the most beautiful examples of secular art in Medieval Europe.

The ‘Comtes’ residence was bombed during the Great War and was almost entirely destroyed. The Taittinger Champagne House purchased it and oversaw its restoration, with guidance from the Ministry of Fine Arts. Another project is also under way to restore the ‘Maison des Musiciens’. It has retained its Medieval vocation as a place to hold prestigious receptions and celebrations. Evening events, exhibitions and concerts are all hosted here, and everyone attending can feel the profound presence of the memories this site holds.

288 HECTARES OF PRIDE

The history of the Taittinger Champagne House rests on its vineyards, as well as its buildings. It is, of course, the real wealth behind its heritage. It initially consisted of parcels of land bought from the Forest-Fourneaux Estate in 1934 by Pierre Taittinger. This has been added to considerably over the decades.

During the 1950s, under the direction of François and Jean Taittinger, the Champagne House expanded its vineyard and bought 110 hectares of vines in 1955. These were predominantly planted with Chardonnay vines in order to assure the continuation of the style of Taittinger wines. During the 1960s, Claude Taittinger planted nearly 140 hectares of additional vines in 5 years. Today, the Taittinger domaine covers 288 hectares, extending along the Marne river between the ‘Côte des Blancs’, the ‘Vallée de la Marne’ and the ‘Montagne de Reims’. It also has 80 hectares in the Aube, situated in Loches-sur-Ource. Its vines would stretch 2,880 km if placed end-to-end!

It is planted with 37% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier vines distributed equally across 37 different crus which are amongst the best in the Champagne appellation.

The Taittinger Champagne House also has Chardonnay vines planted in the heart of the ‘Côte des Blancs’ in 5 terroirs which produce Grands Crus from this distinguished grape. The terroirs are located south of Epernayand are: Cramant, Avize, Chouilly, Oger and Mesnil-sur-Oger. Chardonnay is the perfect grape variety for cellaring. The wine produced is delicate and sophisticated, and is often described as being light. There is a large proportion of these grapes in the cuvées made by the Champagne House.

The vineyards planted with Pinot Noir vines are largely located in the ‘Montagne de Reims’ region (Ambonnay, Mailly-Champagne, Rilly-la-Montagne) and the ‘Côte des Bar’. Pinot Noir is used to add structure to the wine when blending champagne. It adds body, resulting in a wine which is strong and aromatic.

Pinot Meunier is a robust vine and is more frost-resistant than the other two varieties. It is particularly suitable for clay or sandy soils. As a result, the parcels of land where Taittinger grows Pinot Meunier vines are in the ‘Vallée de la Marne’ and the ‘Massif de Saint-Thierry’. The grapes give the wine a smooth and fruity character, which add a roundness to the blend.

The Taittinger domaine produces about 45% of the grapes which it needs. Taittinger buys the rest of its grapes, or obtains carefully selected wines, from partner vineyards, based on a long-term commitment and shared vision. These vineyards share the same exacting levels of quality and of sustainable development as the Taittinger Champagne House, as well as the same pride in being craftsmen of champagne.

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