2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

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Mark Morrissette
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2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#1 Post by Mark Morrissette » February 18th, 2020, 3:09 am

I had the pleasure of touring Taittinger yesterday, and tasting in their tasting room. A great experience overall.

The 2008 CdC were lining the hallways of the caves, all on the riddling racks. The guide said he expected they would be released "in about 2 months." I am no expert, but based on their position on the racks, I would expect two months or less at this point.

I asked the tasting room attendant, who seemed quite knowledgeable, about the release price for the 2008. He was not certain, of course, but he thought it would be "the same" as the 2007. He noted they raised the release price of the 2007 by 10 euro over over the 2006, and he did not think (no guarantees) they would do the same for 2008. And, of course, market forces will do what they do...

We tasted the 2007 CdC and Cdc Rose. Those were truly excellent. The attendant, who said he had tasted the 2008 fully assembled, but before the second fermentation, was clearly quite giddy about the prospects for the 2008.

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#2 Post by Andy Sc » February 18th, 2020, 3:56 am

Thanks for that input!
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#3 Post by YLee » February 18th, 2020, 4:15 am

Thanks for the intel. Hoping to get my 08 batch from WHW.
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#4 Post by J. Ashourian » February 18th, 2020, 5:26 am

If theyre on riddling racks, doesnt that mean theyre still on the lees? Dont the bottles have to rest 6 mo or so post disgorgement before they are released?
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#5 Post by Mark Morrissette » February 18th, 2020, 6:00 am

J. Ashourian wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 5:26 am
If theyre on riddling racks, doesnt that mean theyre still on the lees? Dont the bottles have to rest 6 mo or so post disgorgement before they are released?
Definitely don't want to pretend to be an expert, but that is not the way the described their process. Many/most probably already know most of the process, so I will be brief-ish....

The bottles have been laying on their sides, untouched for 10-12 years (at Taittinger), and the yeast settles to the bottom.

There are approx (I did not count) 8-10 different positions on the riddling racks. The bottles are carefully removed from long term storage, then placed in a near-horizontal position on the riddling rack. Once a week, they are moved to a new position, and after 8-10 weeks, they are fully vertical (with the cap down toward the ground, and all the settlement in the neck). They are turned regularly throughout the process.

They are then moved to the production facility. The neck is frozen, the cap is removed, and the frozen lees in the neck pop out.

(Now the relevant part:) Dosage is added, they are corked, cleaned, and labeled. Then they are ready for shipment. It is possible there could be a week or two in there, but I got the strong impression it was not much longer than that.

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#6 Post by Jay Miller » February 18th, 2020, 6:07 am

Thank you for the update! Very useful for budgeting purposes.
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#7 Post by Tom Mann » February 18th, 2020, 6:36 am

Being released end of March in the UK.
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#8 Post by Mark Morrissette » February 18th, 2020, 10:18 am

A few photos...



Here is a closeup of the sign with the 2008 CdC label.
Image




This is a wider view shot in the caves. This is all 2008 CdC
Image




Finally, not that anyone cares what our tour guide looks like, but next to him is a model riddling rack. If you look closely you can see the bottle of Champagne at various different angles. As I understand it, this rack is "representative." In fact, I believe all of the slots in a given rack are set to one angle. They switch racks to a new angle each week.
Image

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#9 Post by AndrewH » February 18th, 2020, 11:15 am

Mark Morrissette wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 10:18 am

Finally, not that anyone cares what our tour guide looks like, but next to him is a model riddling rack. If you look closely you can see the bottle of Champagne at various different angles. As I understand it, this rack is "representative." In fact, I believe all of the slots in a given rack are set to one angle. They switch racks to a new angle each week.

The riddler turns the bottles and increases the angle somewhat as he turns it. Each rack should have all bottles in a similar position, moving towards more vertical.

Does Taittinger still use manual riddling for CdC (and others)? A lot have moved to automated riddling, which is quicker.
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#10 Post by Mark Morrissette » February 18th, 2020, 11:23 am

AndrewH wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 11:15 am


The riddler turns the bottles and increases the angle somewhat as he turns it. Each rack should have all bottles in a similar position, moving towards more vertical.

Does Taittinger still use manual riddling for CdC (and others)? A lot have moved to automated riddling, which is quicker.
Ah, that makes sense, thank you. I did not think to ask, but as I thought about it later was surprised to think there would be different wooden racks for each position. He did say moving the position once a week, but I probably incorrectly extrapolated to changing racks.

Yes, all were in a similar position.

Yes, the CdC is all done by hand. Someone in our group asked: there were two people working in the caves. That is a lot of work for two people. But... there is a lot of time. (And maybe more work at other times? Though this riddling phase would seem to be a busy time...)

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#11 Post by Yao C » February 18th, 2020, 11:34 am

Mark Morrissette wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 3:09 am
The 2008 CdC were lining the hallways of the caves, all on the riddling racks. The guide said he expected they would be released "in about 2 months." I am no expert, but based on their position on the racks, I would expect two months or less at this point.
Thank you Mark! I'm already budgeting for my purchase champagne.gif
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#12 Post by AndrewH » February 18th, 2020, 11:35 am

The claim is (or so I was told when I toured some caves last fall) is that a skilled riddler can turn 30-40k bottles/day! They must get sore wrists, even with the many labor protections they surely are provided! (Perhaps the 30-40K number comes from a time when a full day meant 10-12 hours, not 6-7 - 30k would mean 1 rack/minute (48 bottles) for 600+ minutes, or 10+ hours.)
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#13 Post by Yao C » February 18th, 2020, 11:39 am

AndrewH wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 11:35 am
The claim is (or so I was told when I toured some caves last fall) is that a skilled riddler can turn 30-40k bottles/day! They must get sore wrists, even with the many labor protections they surely are provided! (Perhaps the 30-40K number comes from a time when a full day meant 10-12 hours, not 6-7 - 30k would mean 1 rack/minute (48 bottles) for 600+ minutes, or 10+ hours.)
FWIW having observed skilled riddlers at work (albeit at Krug not Taittinger) I can well believe they're able to complete 1 rack in under a minute
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#14 Post by R. Frankel » February 19th, 2020, 10:58 pm

Thanks for the info and pics. I can’t believe this is all done by hand. Amazing. I wonder which bottles are mine (I already bought 6!).
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#15 Post by Mark Morrissette » February 20th, 2020, 5:21 am

R. Frankel wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 10:58 pm
Thanks for the info and pics. I can’t believe this is all done by hand. Amazing. I wonder which bottles are mine (I already bought 6!).
That is what I kept thinking as I was walking through the caves! champagne.gif

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#16 Post by Neal.Mollen » February 26th, 2020, 11:40 am

Good news: Sokolin has the 08 Comtes for sale!

Bad news: $239/bottle! And no, that isn't the rose
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#17 Post by Mark Morrissette » February 26th, 2020, 12:48 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 11:40 am
Good news: Sokolin has the 08 Comtes for sale!

Bad news: $239/bottle! And no, that isn't the rose
I saw that. Yikes. Seems like a real reach.

And, there is another thread complaining about that right now... (the Taittinger Comtes $125- $135 thread, if you care to join in [cheers.gif] )

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#18 Post by alan weinberg » February 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 11:40 am
Good news: Sokolin has the 08 Comtes for sale!

Bad news: $239/bottle! And no, that isn't the rose
easy pass.

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#19 Post by AndrewH » February 26th, 2020, 2:41 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm
Neal.Mollen wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 11:40 am
Good news: Sokolin has the 08 Comtes for sale!

Bad news: $239/bottle! And no, that isn't the rose
easy pass.

Isn't that what's called a "hard pass" these days?

(Sorry to thread drift . . . puzzled by the new lingo . . . )
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#20 Post by Mark Morrissette » February 26th, 2020, 2:48 pm

Ha, funny and good point. A "hard pass" and and "easy pass" are basically the same thing.
Easy Pass: no problem walking by, no second thoughts
Hard Pass: not just no, but hell no.
Taittinger at $239 seems like an easy, and hard, pass....

I am hoping this is just Sokolin trolling for high-priced orders, not a harbinger of the actual release price. But, that is only a hope.....
Last edited by Mark Morrissette on February 27th, 2020, 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#21 Post by Craig G » February 26th, 2020, 3:41 pm

Easy pass: “No thank you.”
Hard pass: “Talk to the hand.”
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#22 Post by alan weinberg » February 26th, 2020, 7:43 pm

Craig G wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 3:41 pm
Easy pass: “No thank you.”
Hard pass: “Talk to the hand.”
bought some on prearrival last Nov for $125/bottle.

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#23 Post by Robert M yers » February 26th, 2020, 7:57 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 7:43 pm
Craig G wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 3:41 pm
Easy pass: “No thank you.”
Hard pass: “Talk to the hand.”
bought some on prearrival last Nov for $125/bottle.
I was hoping for better but that may turn out to be a very wise decision

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#24 Post by scamhi » February 26th, 2020, 8:23 pm

I also had a wine searcher alert for this 2008 Comtes and when I saw the Sokolin price today...I didn't buy
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#25 Post by Howard Cooper » March 25th, 2020, 4:51 pm

Tom Mann wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 6:36 am
Being released end of March in the UK.
Is this still happening or is it being postponed until the world stabilizes.
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#26 Post by Mark Morrissette » March 25th, 2020, 5:03 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 4:51 pm
Tom Mann wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 6:36 am
Being released end of March in the UK.
Is this still happening or is it being postponed until the world stabilizes.
I have been wondering the same thing. It would not surprise me if it is postponed...

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#27 Post by davidsturek » March 31st, 2020, 11:49 am

Vinfolio just offered pre-arrival at $195 per (6 pack cases)

Wonder what a “good” price will be going forward (not the prices that came and went in a flash last fall)

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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#28 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 31st, 2020, 11:57 am

Not sure what is going here. There is no release; the roll out is being delayed until October. Vinfolio etc are taking a position, and the price is high enough, that they should be safe.
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Re: 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (update from the caves)

#29 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » March 31st, 2020, 12:07 pm

I hope prices adjust down given the current climate. I’m surprised to still be seeing “normal” prices for champagne.

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