The fourth tasting tour that I did on my recent trip to Champagne was with the family owned Taittinger; another famous house based in Reims. The house has several properties; the Saint-Nicaise house in downtown Reims, as well as the Château de Lamarquetterie – the anchor estate located in Pierry.
I visited Saint-Nicaise; Taittinger HQ.
This building in particular is built over the remains of the Saint-Nicaise Abbey, a 13th century building that was torn down after the french revolution (it became state property and announced surplus to requirements). The legacy of the abbey however, was its impressive set of chalk tunnels and crayéres in which its foundations were built.
Before checking these out, guests sit in a large waiting room with the full range of Taittinger wines on display.
A short video session in a small theatre is then played; prior to the decent into the cellars via a long spiral staircase.
The cellars themselves are quite impressive; a really nice mix of chalk tunnels and pits which span two levels. There is much graffiti to observe as well; some coming from World War 1, others possibly from the monks who explored it over many centuries!
The champagnes stored down here are the Comtes de Champagne range (Taittinger’s finest) as well as the larger bottles of non vintage.
One of the standout elements of the tunnels is coming across the old foundation of the abbey – its archway creating a amazing underground cathedral feel.
Our tour hostess is very knowledgeable too; answering a wide range of questions from technicals to house history. She walks the tour from point to point; providing information on the intricacies of champagne production.
At the conclusion of our subterranean tour, we are headed back up the spiral stairs to the tasting lounge, which also has a Taittinger store that sells some nice memorabilia such as cuff links, candles and of course: Champagne.
I really liked the historical elements to this tour, and also it’s slickness – it’s well put together. If you’re a fan of the house a visit is definitely recommended. It’s also decent value too: €33 ($55 AUD) for the vintage tasting.