Taittinger selects its grand cru parcels for Prélude to show the characters of their crus, rather than the mood of the vintage, looking for elegance, finesse, delicacy and structure, reserving those with more power for its Comtes de Champagne Rosé.
‘This is purposely a cuvée of finesse and subtlety,’ says Damien Le Sueur. It is always entirely from a single year, though disappointingly its vintage is never declared, ‘as we don’t aim to show the vintage effect’. Le Sueur describes the vision as the opposite to Bollinger (who contrast warm south-facing pinot with cool, north- facing chardonnay).
‘We are looking for a fresh, easy-drinking style, so we source from the cooler pinot crus of Ambonnay, Verzenay, Verzy and, most of all, Mailly-Champagne, the signature of the structure of the wine,’ he says. Taittinger is privileged to large holdings in Mailly-Champagne. ‘We are big fans of this cooler village, and we love its structure and freshness – a pinot of chardonnay freshness yet pinot structure.’
True to its aspirations, 2014 Prélude is a cuvée of tension, focus and energy, with lifted struck-flint and grilled-toast reduction over a core of lemon, crunchy red apple and grapefruit freshness. The pure chalk of its grand cru sites defines a style of frothing salt minerality of prominent, lingering texture.
Age has built subtle Parisian pâtisserie character, evoking freshly baked baguettes and brioche. It delivers presence and character on the front, and carries a long and focused finish of mineral tension and character. Classy, terroir-infused, and precise.
50% Côte des Blancs chardonnay, mainly from Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, with a little Chouilly; 50% northern Montagne de Reims pinot noir for freshness, mainly from Mailly-Champagne, then Ambonnay and Verzenay; grand cru parcels selected to show the characters of their crus, rather than the mood of the vintage; 9g/L dosage
Tyson Stelzer - The Champagne Guide 2020-2021