The Person: Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger (CEO and grandson of the founder Pierre Taittinger).
The Place: The grand cru vineyards of the Cotes des Blancs and Montagne de Reims areas of Champagne
This vintage cuvee from Taittinger has been one of my favorite Champagnes since I first tasted it back in 1984. It starts of with lots of flavor but the bottles I have kept for a few extra years have developed into something spectacular. The price is not too much above the Brut NV level for a lot of producers but the quality (for me, at least) approaches that of many tete de cuvee (luxury tier) bubblies.
TAITTINGER Brut Millesime, Champagne, 2005 ($74.99)
A 12% alcohol, methode champenoise, all grand cru blend of 50% Chardonnay from the Cotes des Blancs and 50% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims aged 5 years en tirage (on the yeasts). Golden-straw in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-full-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and scant phenolics. Supple, rich, toasty earthy, ripe vintage Champagne offering developed ripe citrus and earthier red fruits with lots of toasty yeast character balanced and focused by its mineral-earth component. Complex, rich, and delicious; complete. Develops beautifully as it warms in the glass. BearScore: 94+.