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How to pronounce … and drink a Taittinger

/ 05:10 AM February 09, 2020

Rosè instead of roses for your Valentine. —MARGAUX SALCEDO

It’s that time of the year again to whip out a bottle of champagne and drive those endorphines and pheromones on high speed.

In this season of romance, Taittinger comes back to aid, accentuate and accelerate all things Cupid. The brand recently hosted a champagne-pairing dinner, top-billed by chef Allan Robles who created fine-dining dishes. He had some interesting pairings that surprisingly worked, such as veal with rosè or the lobster paired with an elegant Taittinger blanc de blancs.One must realize that like reds or whites, there are so many different kinds of champagne. Here’s a bit of Champagne 101 I learned over the dinner:

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1. Taittinger is pronounced tey-tuhn-zhey.

I always thought it was pronounced tay-tin-ger, like ginger. The correct pronunciation is with a soft “g” and a silent “r.”

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2. The estate was first cultivated by Benedictine monks.

My Scholastican education must subliminally have had something to do with my love for alcohol. So here’s a shoutout to my fellow Scholasticans: if you’re looking for champagne for the next homecoming, what better brand than something that was originally made by Benedictine monks?

The history goes like this: Textile merchant Jacques Fourneaux founded in 1734 a champagne house named Forest-Fourneaux, but he worked with Benedictine monks to learn how to produce sparkling wine because they owned the region’s finest vineyards. In 1932, a wine merchant named Pierre Taittinger acquired the estate, including the monks’ original vineyards, and relaunched it under his family name.

3. Taittinger is James Bond’s champagne of choice.

If you’re a fan of the literature, you will remember how Bond asked for Taittinger 45 in Casino Royale but the sommelier countered by recommending the 1943 Blanc de Blanc Brut, describing it as “without equal.” Bond submitted to the recommendation, saying, “That is not a well-known brand but it is probably the finest champagne in the world.”

In the movies, you might also remember From Russia With Love (1963) where Sean Connery in the role of Bond shares a blanc de blancs with Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi).

4. Blanc de blancs are special.

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During the dinner, we had our James Bond moment when the lobster and scallops were paired with a 2006 Comtes de Champagne blanc de blancs.

Blanc de blancs or “white wine from white grapes” is made purely from Chardonnay grapes. The Côte de Blancs, in particular, is known for its magnificent Chardonnay vineyards, thanks to its chalk-rich soil that was once ancient seabed, allowing it to impart minerality and saltiness on the Chardonnay grapes, thus translating to crisp, tight, well-balanced champagne.Aside from the value of the grape itself, the process of creating this champagne is quite meticulous. The 2006 Comtes blanc de blanc, explained Nicolas Delion of Taittinger, took 10 years to create. All that hard labor just for a perfect sip!

5. Pink versus rose champagnes.

Remember the movie An Affair to Remember where Deborah Kerr tells Cary Grant that she likes pink champagne, comparing it to the life they were used to? Pink champagne is considered a classy and romantic drink since it’s a sweet sparkling wine, as compared to brut champagne, which is dry.

In the 1990s, brut rose champagnes came along. Taittinger today makes a nonvintage prestige rose from chardonnay and pinot noir. It is an intense, brilliant pink wine with the aromas of wild raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant. Because of its full-bodied and velvety flavors of red fruits, it went well with the veal.

6. There’s a disco ball champagne.

One standout champagne was the Nocturne. In terms of taste, it is universally lovable, given its composition of 40-percent chardonnay, 60-percent pinot noir and meunier. It is full-bodied yet smooth and would be perfect after a meal.

But what makes it trippy is the design of the bottle. In plain sight, it is a dark bottle. Put your phone’s light under the bottle, and it lights up like a disco ball. It’s a great conversation piece during dinner or it could double as your bedside drink and lamp. Whatever champagne you choose, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. May all your champagne dreams come true!

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