The soul of a family business

Pursuit of excellence

Family Spirit

A champagne house’s style lies at the soul of its wines , taking its energy from its roots, its creativity and a legacy of knowledge. This underpins the strength and special composition of Taittinger champagnes. This composition is the result of a magical, intuitive and complex process, one which Pierre-Emmanuel, Clovis and Vitalie Taittinger know how to create and sustain, supported by a tasting panel formed from a rich pool of complementary talents.

The composition

Remain true to oneself

The philosophy behind the composition of Taittinger champagnes is to keep only the best, to remain true to oneself, and to find that unique taste which provides pleasure for just a moment, or for a whole lifetime. The search for this exacting quality and style is meticulous...

“Emotions and feelings are at the heart of my life and I place craftmanship and savoir-faire to their service. I do not compare Champagne to Mozart or Rimbaud, the champagne served during a meal is a purveyor of pleasure, a component of well-being, a piece of French Art de Vivre.”

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger

Alexandre Ponnavoy
Cellar Master

The tasting panel

Family spirit

The creation of champagnes at Taittinger is always a family affair. It begins with the Taittinger family; the guardians of the house style. This family spirit also permeates the tasting panel team, whose choices will determine how the blends are created. The final decision is always made collectively. It is the result of a shared developed instinct.


The tasting panel at Taittinger has the important task of defining that unique taste when the wine is still and before any bubbles have been made.

Who knows if it will be a great vintage? They say a soul rises every time a champagne cork pops. Is it perhaps the souls of the Benedictine monks from Saint-Nicaise Abbey who inspire members of the tasting panel and impart the gift of recognising an outstanding vintage? Claude Taittinger described his understanding of the tasting process and the philosophy behind the composition of Taittinger vintages in his book ‘Champagne par Taittinger’, published in 1996. ‘We proceed in small steps. The aim is to create a champagne which is completely unique’, whilst humbly recognising that the process requires ‘work, a systematic approach and a little luck’.


The tasting panel meets every Monday. At each of the meetings, cellar master Alexandre Ponnavoy, has the important task of providing the different blends to be tasted.

The aim of the panel is to imagine, based on the still wines, what each blend will taste like after it has been combined and matured. It is a matter of being sure to preserve the Taittinger style, the ‘character’ of each blend and the story it tells, alongside the anticipation and emotion which it excites. Each person sat around the table in the tasting panel will give their opinion on the impression made by each of the blends presented, a real skill is required as the wines often only exhibit very subtle differences. These first impressions may not be unanimous amongst the panel , discussions are  inevitably ; a sense of teamwork and respect always prevails.
The average age of the tasting panel is relatively young, and only some are qualified oenologists. However, each member is a connoisseur of wine. Each member of the panel also has a different expertise and level of experience, which gives  balance to the  team.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger has the wealth of 40 years’ experience  behind him and has a very instinctive approach to tasting. His perfect mastery of the Taittinger tradition and style is unquestionable; but still he remains curious about the opinions of others.

Damien Le Sueur, Managing Director and oenologist, also acts as a guardian  for the Taittinger style and identity. He ensures that these standards are consistently upheld throughout.

Clovis Taittinger approaches tasting in a very unique way, with  his vision and experience of  the world markets and their tastes. He is very creative and is quick to question what has been done before, opening up the Champagne House to the wider world. Maxime Andriveau complements this vision well, with his understanding of what customers in France and Europe expect - customers who he deals with every day.

Vitalie Taittinger, who comes from an artistic background, follows  the role that the different sections of vineyards play in the blends when tasting.

Vincent Collard, Vineyard Manager, the steady hand, draws on his strong commitment to the traditions of the Champagne region. He himself admits that he is ‘a little conservative’ about  the tradition of wine production, and he ensures that the blends also tell the story of the terroir in which they were grown.