Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

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ybarselah
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Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#1 Post by ybarselah » February 23rd, 2020, 9:40 am

had another terrific showing of the 2004 this week. my favorite BdB by a fairly wide margin. and for a Tête de cuvée, an amazing qpr. but i'm greedy and would love to know what else is out there in the same general mold? to me, the wine represents intense white burg-type aromas, very fine bubbles, and seemingly low pressure, but unsure.

so i guess i have 2-3 questions from the champagne experts:

1. what is it about CdC that i love so much?

2. is it unique?

3. if not, then what else is out there in the same/similar style?
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#2 Post by Warren Taranow » February 23rd, 2020, 10:09 am

I can't say exactly why I too like it so much. Here are some thoughts on why it's so good.

It's all Grand Cru Chardonnay mostly from Avize, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger, and some Chouilly and Cramant; only first run juice.
They age about 5% in oak barrels for a few months, which probably influences the amazing texture.
It undergoes malolactic fermentation
Dosage is usually 9g/l
Aged for a minimum of eight years

I find vague similarities in Vilmart's Grand Cellier d'Or and Coeur de Cuvee, even though those have about 20% pinot. They have that creamy texture and complexity, ferment and age in oak, although it's crisper since they avoid malolactic fermentation. That said, there are more dissimilarities than commonalities.

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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#3 Post by ybarselah » February 23rd, 2020, 10:29 am

that's incredibly helpful, thanks. i'm surprised at how little oak is used tbh.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#4 Post by Warren Taranow » February 23rd, 2020, 10:49 am

Yaacov,
If you want a weekday substitute, while not to the scale of Comte, I love RH Coutier's Blanc de Blanc. For $40 or less, it's a steal, and a creamy yet precise BdB. You'd expect Pinot coming from Ambonnay, but this Chardonnay is fantastic.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#5 Post by Warren Taranow » February 23rd, 2020, 10:50 am

dup
Last edited by Warren Taranow on February 23rd, 2020, 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#6 Post by J. Rock » February 23rd, 2020, 11:04 am

I'm not saying that you'll confuse it with Comtes, but I think Pierre Moncuit's NV BdB is really great BdB and a great value that punches well above its weight class.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#7 Post by M. Meer » February 23rd, 2020, 11:05 am

For the money, I like Launois
https://m.klwines.com/p/i?i=1002121
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#8 Post by Josh Grossman » February 23rd, 2020, 11:13 am

I sure do love vintage Ployez-Jacquemart Blanc de Blancs. I do especially love their Ployez-Jacquemart Brut Champagne Liesse d'Harbonville, but it's not much of a savings from Comtes. It is aged for six months in three year old barrels, but doesn't undergo malolactic fermentation.

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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#9 Post by William Kelley » February 23rd, 2020, 12:16 pm

In addition to the fruit origins, which have already been touched upon, those toasty, autolytic aromatic signatures (likely more properly Maillard reactions between amino acids from autolysis and sugar in the liqueur d'expedition, a subject upon which some interesting research is currently under way) are a defining feature of the Comtes style.

But there are a lot of variables that configure to produce a particular house style in Champagne: size and proportions of tank, percentage in wood if any and if so what kind, fermentation protocols (temperature, yeast selections), malolactic, liqueur de triage, time sur lattes, liqueur d'expedition, etc. While the houses talk about the outlines some of the details are often quite closely guarded.

It's not what you were looking for, but I think the best answer if you really like Comtes if probably just to buy Comtes. Though maybe look at Taittinger's Prélude or Vintage which are quite keenly priced and have lots of the house's signatures.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#10 Post by Warren Taranow » February 23rd, 2020, 12:24 pm

William Kelley wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 12:16 pm
In addition to the fruit origins, which have already been touched upon, those toasty, autolytic aromatic signatures (likely more properly Maillard reactions between amino acids from autolysis and sugar in the liqueur d'expedition, a subject upon which some interesting research is currently under way) are a defining feature of the Comtes style.

But there are a lot of variables that configure to produce a particular house style in Champagne: size and proportions of tank, percentage in wood if any and if so what kind, fermentation protocols (temperature, yeast selections), malolactic, liqueur de triage, time sur lattes, liqueur d'expedition, etc. While the houses talk about the outlines some of the details are often quite closely guarded.

It's not what you were looking for, but I think the best answer if you really like Comtes if probably just to buy Comtes. Though maybe look at Taittinger's Prélude or Vintage which are quite keenly priced and have lots of the house's signatures.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#11 Post by Kirk.Grant » February 23rd, 2020, 12:35 pm

J. Rock wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 11:04 am
I'm not saying that you'll confuse it with Comtes, but I think Pierre Moncuit's NV BdB is really great BdB and a great value that punches well above its weight class.
This is a great call, it's not at the same level...but it's damn good for the money.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#12 Post by AAgrawal » February 23rd, 2020, 1:33 pm

M. Meer wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 11:05 am
For the money, I like Launois
https://m.klwines.com/p/i?i=1002121
As a counterpoint, I love Comtes but can't stand Launois. I bought a sampler of all the different bottlings available at K&L a few years ago, and it was a chore to try them all.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#13 Post by ybarselah » February 23rd, 2020, 3:16 pm

have really enjoyed coutier prior, and it's a very good bdb certainly for the price, but i don't remember it being similar. will revisit.

william - super interesting info, thanks!
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#14 Post by M.Kaplan » February 23rd, 2020, 6:46 pm

Yaacov,
Check out Bereche Les Beaux Regards. BdB, no dosage. Also Vouette et Sorbee Blanc d’Argile. I, too, love Chardonnay with bubbles.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#15 Post by Brad Baker » February 23rd, 2020, 10:10 pm

Yaacov,

The closest comparison I can think of is Pierre Peters Chetillons (Special Club or just Cuvee Speciale for older bottles) with two to three decades of age. When young, the Peters wine isn't all that similar, but as it ages, it kind of takes a stylistic place right between Comtes and Krug Clos du Mesnil... and is sometimes better than each. Now, this is a comparison between the wines after they have aged quite a bit. For a young wine, Billecart-Salmon's vintage BdB comes to mind.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#16 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » February 24th, 2020, 4:21 am

The legras cuvees are sort of similar. Not sure I’ve found the argile to be that similar, it feels lighter bodied and less rich to me. Pretty sure fm3 likes that one but mentioned he found the cdc to be too sweet recently.

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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#17 Post by Howard Cooper » February 24th, 2020, 4:58 am

William Kelley wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 12:16 pm


It's not what you were looking for, but I think the best answer if you really like Comtes if probably just to buy Comtes.
I agree. Right now, Comtes is an excellent value compared with other wines of comparable quality and it has moved to first place by a good margin among Champagnes in my cellar.

Sure, it is still an expensive Champagne, but unless you are looking for a wine that will save you significant amounts of money, I think the value is in Comtes.

Remember, if you are buying a less expensive grower Champagne as a "substitute" for Comte, to take into account the time value of money. Over the last couple of years, we have been buying Comte from say 2004-2007. If you are buying a less expensive alternative, it well could be a decade younger, which means you would have to sit on the wine for a decade to get a wine comparable to what you get from buying Comte now.

I know that a lot of people have issues with the idea of a wine costing over $100 can be an excellent QPR wine, and I am very sympathetic to that, but my feelings about Comte right now is that it is has an unusually excellent QPR right now.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#18 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » February 24th, 2020, 5:33 am

It's probably a good value compared to Salon, if your metric is high end Grand Marque BdB. I'm not sure it's a fantastic value compared to say, 2008 Dom, which is only marginally more expensive. We'll see how the 08 is, I guess.

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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#19 Post by ybarselah » February 24th, 2020, 6:41 am

M.Kaplan wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 6:46 pm
Yaacov,
Check out Bereche Les Beaux Regards. BdB, no dosage. Also Vouette et Sorbee Blanc d’Argile. I, too, love Chardonnay with bubbles.
i like both of those. the vouette is more of the style i'm after.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#20 Post by Howard Cooper » February 24th, 2020, 7:11 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 5:33 am
It's probably a good value compared to Salon, if your metric is high end Grand Marque BdB. I'm not sure it's a fantastic value compared to say, 2008 Dom, which is only marginally more expensive. We'll see how the 08 is, I guess.
I am not that big a fan of Dom. They are generally correct, etc., but I do not find them as flavorful as Comte. But, more I find Dom to be of a totally different style than Comte and they really are not IMHO certainly not a copycat for Comte - see the OP's original post.

But, if you like Dom better, sure you should buy Dom.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#21 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » February 24th, 2020, 7:27 am

I was referring to QPR

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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#22 Post by Blake Brown » February 24th, 2020, 7:34 am

Brad Baker wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 10:10 pm
Yaacov,

The closest comparison I can think of is Pierre Peters Chetillons (Special Club or just Cuvee Speciale for older bottles) with two to three decades of age. When young, the Peters wine isn't all that similar, but as it ages, it kind of takes a stylistic place right between Comtes and Krug Clos du Mesnil... and is sometimes better than each. Now, this is a comparison between the wines after they have aged quite a bit. For a young wine, Billecart-Salmon's vintage BdB comes to mind.
I agree with the PP analogy wholeheartedly.

Brad, who is it, Krug or Taittinger who includes a fair amount of Grand Cru fruit from Les Chetillons? If it is Taittinger, that can explain a lot of the like and kindness of the 2.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#23 Post by ybarselah » February 24th, 2020, 7:38 am

Brad Baker wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 10:10 pm
For a young wine, Billecart-Salmon's vintage BdB comes to mind.
yes! i recently had this at a store tasting and didn't even know it existed. more clean/pure than the comtes, but maybe it just needs a few years. i really enjoyed it.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#24 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 24th, 2020, 8:05 am

Blake Brown wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 7:34 am
Brad Baker wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 10:10 pm
Yaacov,

The closest comparison I can think of is Pierre Peters Chetillons (Special Club or just Cuvee Speciale for older bottles) with two to three decades of age. When young, the Peters wine isn't all that similar, but as it ages, it kind of takes a stylistic place right between Comtes and Krug Clos du Mesnil... and is sometimes better than each. Now, this is a comparison between the wines after they have aged quite a bit. For a young wine, Billecart-Salmon's vintage BdB comes to mind.
I agree with the PP analogy wholeheartedly.

Brad, who is it, Krug or Taittinger who includes a fair amount of Grand Cru fruit from Les Chetillons? If it is Taittinger, that can explain a lot of the like and kindness of the 2.
Not Brad, but it is Taittinger who includes some Chetillons in their CdC.
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Re: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne - any copycats?

#25 Post by Blake Brown » February 24th, 2020, 8:50 am

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 8:05 am
Blake Brown wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 7:34 am
Brad Baker wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 10:10 pm
Yaacov,

The closest comparison I can think of is Pierre Peters Chetillons (Special Club or just Cuvee Speciale for older bottles) with two to three decades of age. When young, the Peters wine isn't all that similar, but as it ages, it kind of takes a stylistic place right between Comtes and Krug Clos du Mesnil... and is sometimes better than each. Now, this is a comparison between the wines after they have aged quite a bit. For a young wine, Billecart-Salmon's vintage BdB comes to mind.
I agree with the PP analogy wholeheartedly.

Brad, who is it, Krug or Taittinger who includes a fair amount of Grand Cru fruit from Les Chetillons? If it is Taittinger, that can explain a lot of the like and kindness of the 2.
Not Brad, but it is Taittinger who includes some Chetillons in their CdC.
Thanks Ray. I recall that now as having been told that during our visit to Krug 10 years ago. Thought for a minute it may have been at Taittinger.
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