Kevin McKee of Taittinger proved a marvellous host for our Taittinger Champagne dinner at Fredericks in Islington. Each champagne played its part to perfection as the evening unfolded from aperitif through to dessert and Kevin entertained and enlightened with equal measure.
Taittinger Brut Reserve NV.
Served in magnum. Fine bubbles with a lovely open nose of stone fruit, pastry, honeysuckle and vanilla. In the mouth wide and long with more chardonnay flavours and great freshness. As Eric said one glass leads easily onto the next. This is my kind of champagne fresh enough for a party but with enough going on to keep it interesting in its own right.
This is a single vineyard champagne again with a high proportion of Chardonnay blended with Pinot Noir grown in alternate rows.
On the nose peach, nectarine and floral notes, a touch of crème patissiere quite focused. On the palate a tight core of fruit, apricot then some nice pastry notes from the lees with a long fresh finish.
This was served with a starter of smoked salmon on warm potato blinis with horseradish cream and the bright fruity acidity complimented the rich oily fish beautifully.
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de blancs 2005.
The flagship wine of the house served in a proper wine glass as it should be.
The bouquet of this wine is like walking into a French patisserie a heady mix of pastry, caramel, cream, roasted nuts and perhaps a whiff of nutmeg. Very complex.
On the palate soft and wide crème brulee with a hint of citrus, notes of toffee, enough acidity to lift the finish which lingers very long. Gorgeous! One to be enjoyed on its own.
Domaine Carneros Avant Garde Pinot Noir 2012.
A Californian pinot that is a joint venture with Taittinger and a very useful accompaniment to the herb crusted rack of lamb with pomme fondant.
Lovely ripe red cherry on the nose with some sweet spice and a hint of smoke. Medium body, silky mouth feel and lovely freshness. More ripe fruit, rhubarb fool on the palate. Good length a lovely refined pinot.
Only one gram of sugar over brut so not really sweet but just enough to handle the lemon tart and strawberry sorbet. Nice and fresh with a slightly steely edge (which may just be the effect of the dessert). Lots of peach and nectarine again very fruit driven but with great freshness too. Has that extra punch to finish the evening off nicely.
Top Tip: If you like the creamy aged complexity of the Comtes its little sibling the brut reserve already has some of these chardonnay driven touches and a year in the cellar will bring them out even more.