6 Taittingers and a 2015 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Le Montrachet

I was invited to a private dinner for 20 at Le Papillon Restaurant in San Jose this past week. I was invited as a lover of Champagne, and the theme was Champagne Taittinger. I made the overnight trip with great anticipation.

Maybe I can get some brief notes together later, as we were served 6 Taittingers and had a Tat representative walking us through the offerings. The food was phenomenal. And I had the opportunity to taste - no, drink freely - the 2006 and 2007 Comtes, side by side, in addition to the other impressive (and less expensive) NVs.

But at the end, served alongside a roasted breast of pheasant, was the finest wine I have had the pleasure to consume this year. Maybe in some multiple years. It was the Montrachet from my thread title.

Goodness - not to take away from the Champagnes - but this was liquid gold. We all wanted more, and we were served more. I always try to get a white Burgundy in my sports trades, but I never get them. Now I know why. Who would trade away something like this? I tried to buy some as I returned home, but sadly saw it is not widely available, and when it is, minimum $600. Way out of my range, but man oh man, I loved this wine.

I will try to add some detail to all the wines later, if there is interest in discussion. So many tasting notes fall by the wayside, and they take a lot of time to get together.

Perhaps many here drink these regularly, but this Cab girl does not.

Oh, man, Merrill, your day sucked! champagne.gif

Looking forward to your later updates!

It was quite extraordinary, for me. Ask me a question, and I will do my best to answer.

Epiphany wines are a double edged sword: you are grateful to have experienced something so profound, fully aware that you might never do so again.

Please do post notes when you can! I will look forward to them.

Blain-Gagnard Montrachet was one of the greatest secrets in the world of white Burgundy for quite some time. It is an exceptional wine- but sadly the Domaine is plagued by premox (an entire case of the 2002 Montrachet I shared with a friend went bad in less than a decade) these days, and that- I believe- is the only reason the wine is even available for sale more widely than in the past, and $900ish at last look. I believe production is 1-2 barrels at best, but not entirely sure. Either way, if they can get past premox, this will again be a true must-have wine. The good news is that it is very giving in youth, especially for a Montrachet. So it is worth having a young one from time to time.

We tasted a number of '17 whites at Blain-Gagnard this year (no Monty but had the Batard which was superb) and they were really good.

Never been a huge fan, and some questions with premox over the years, but the '17’s were really quite lovely, and the 1’ers were pretty much all very good, with the Caillerets probably the pick.

Should be much easier to find than the Monty (and much cheaper!)

One of my epiphany wines was a 1989 Blain Gagnard Batard drank in 2015. Le Montrachet is a special piece of land. The few times that I’ve been lucky to partake have always been memorable. Thanks for sharing.

Montrachet is Montrachet and usually is great and priced like it, as are other Grand Cru white Burgundies.

I am not that familiar with Blain Gagnard, but maybe try other wines (say premier crus) by the producer. They likely will not taste as good as the Montrachet, but they will also not cost $600. Alternatively, I don’t know how much white Burgundies you typically drink, but if the answer is not enough, try premier crus and villages wines from other excellent white Burgundy producers like Bernard Moreau, Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, Buisson-Charles, Bouchard and Drouhin. You will not have Montrachet, but these white Burgundies will be very tasty.

What was your reaction to the Comtes from 2006/2007?

15 Burgundy whites…mmmm. I thought 14 was so, so very good, but the 2015 Meo Camuzet Corton Charlie is right among the leaders for me for WOTY this year.

I have had the pleasure of the 2008 Blain-Gagnard Criots-Batard 3 times in my life, the second time claiming WOTY for that year.

Sounds like an amazing night, Merrill.


Yes, would love to hear your thoughts on the comparison. Also, what were the other Taittinger wines you tasted?

Our arrival offering was Brut la Francaise NV. Nice - priced in the $30s - I have a bottle on tap for tonight’s Red Sox game. It was served with many passed hors’doevres that were visually beautiful and all extremely tasty.

Next was a NV Rose Prestige. I did not finish my glass nor take another pour, but others certainly did. Served with a Kampachi/avocado/finger lime dish. I don’t eat “raw” so I had a roasted/smoky vegetable dish that I was happy with.

Next they served a NV Prelude ($70s) and a NV Folies de la Marquetterie ($80s). Both were very good, but I preferred the Prelude. I believe the Marquetterie is single vineyard wine, with a bit of oak. I just received delivery of both, with twice as many Preludes. Served with roasted baby carrots with smoked seaweed and Buddha’s hand.

Next up were the Comtes pair. Served with sauteed Turbot, carmelized fennel, sea urchin emulsion and caviar.

Finally was roasted breast of pheasant with quince, speck puree and chestnut agnolotti. This was paired with afore mentioned Montrachet.

Desserts were small tastes of many things, and so many of them.

I will look into these, Howard. Thank you.

The Blain-Gagnard Bâtard-Montrachet 2005 was my epiphany wine. It was my xmas present to my father around 10 years ago (I bought it on my first visit at the domaine and was the current release, so I guess 2007), and he opened it on xmas eve the year after that.
At the time I was already drinking wine on the regular, but had never been “wowed” by any wine. On that night, alongside scallops, I took a sip and got it all. I just thought, “Motherf****r, that’s why you drink wine!”. Never looked back.

FWIW I think they are pretty open about the premox issue. I once asked if they had some older vintages and they told me yes, but they wouldn’t sell them as there is the premox issue and they don’t want to sell a faulty product. They’re not sure about the root cause, we discussed possible culprits.
And for the 10 years I’ve been a customer and the dozens bottles I’ve drunk, I’ve had maybe 1 or 2 that was corked and maybe 3 you could consider advanced.
Prices have been increasing over the years (though it’s worth mentioning that one year they went down, maybe in 2012 or 2013, would have to check), but now compared to most producers in Chassagne they are at the same level or even below. And so far apart from Ramonet, which is in a different style imo, they are my favourite producer. Really great wines. Only thing is they are built to age, so you have to wait. If you’re concerned with premox then I guess that’s an issue.

My father was at the domaine two weeks ago to pick up our 2016 allocation, and Mr. Blain was as charming as ever. There was an English reporter visiting in the morning on that same day, so there was a bunch of open bottles (from barrel) and my parents had a tasting of the entire 2017 line-up, including the Montrachet, and some older vintages as well. 2017 sounds promising!

I’ve read here that they get a bad rep with the premox issue, but again (and same with Ramonet which I get from the domaine), upon the dozens and dozens of bottles we had since 10 years I think we’re below 5% of “off” ones including corked, premox, etc.

If you’re ever visiting Paris and want to try some, you’re welcome to come by. Just PM me and I’ll got a bottle ready!



Do you mind giving a description of your experience with the Blain Gagnard Montrachet?
I am interested in this wine. I can imagine that it would be absolutely stunning in 2015.


Don, sadly I cannot tell you about it with any descriptors. I don’t drink these wines, and had no idea as to value or anything else when it was poured. I knew there were 6 bottles, and even though I was an invited guest and not the host, I requested the third bottle be opened. They were all perfect and consistent - no premox even dreamt of. But even with the line-up we had, this is the one that turned every head. And as I said above, I had the only pen I could see out on the table. The conversation was 75% social and 25% wine oriented.

Montrachet is Montrachet—I know, quite profound, but Blain-Gagnard and Fontaine-Gagnard have bad track records re premox. Good thing you drank a 2015. Sounds like an epiphany wine. Great thread.

Did you taste 08 Taittinger?

No, as I understood it, I was the only one with 2007 Comtes in my cellar (other than our host) and I THOUGHT I heard the rep say it was just released on June 12. So no, no 2008.

Merrill, I bet you needed more than 1 bottle for the longest game in WS history!