This morning sees the release of the 2013 vintage of one of our favourite Champagnes: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. Made from 100% Chardonnay from across the top five grand cru vineyards, Comtes de Champagne has established itself as one of the very best Champagnes that money can buy.
Comtes de Champagne is only made in exceptional years and 2013 was a great success for Chardonnay. Spring arrived late after a long and cold winter and mid to late April was exceptionally hot, dry and sunny with over 800 hours of sunshine. Light rainfall in early September helped the clusters increase in size and ripen at an accelerated rate. The harvest took place in October, as used to be the norm in Champagne.
Antonio Galloni rates the wine with 98 points – “The 2013 Comtes de Champagne captures all the pedigree of this great vintage in its energy, depth and vibrancy”. This is against 98+ for the 2008, and 96 for the 2012.
Of all the prestige cuvées available, it is fair to say that Comtes is invariably our pick. Made in much smaller quantities than many of its peers, it is one of the most consistently brilliant Champagnes available. Prices for mature vintages continue to be strong (the 2002 is now £3,200 per 12, and we last sold the 1996 for £7,000 per 12).
We have tasted the wine twice this week and can confirm that this is a superb Comtes. The wine is currently lying in Taittinger's cellars and will ship to the UK in Spring 2024.
The 2013 Comtes de Champagne captures all the pedigree of this great vintage in its energy, depth and vibrancy. Lemon confit, dried flowers, chamomile, spice and crushed rocks all race across the palate. Passionfruit, ginger, marzipan and mint appear later, filling out the layers beautifully. Harvest took place in October in what has become the exception rather than the norm in Champagne. 2023-2043.
The 2013 Comtes de Champagne is a superb wine that has an old-school balance, acid-driven and refreshing with great depth. Pale straw in the glass, the nose offers white flowers, roasted chestnut and fine, freshly zested lemons. With a little air there are notes of brioche and cream, but the balance is cool and fresh. The palate is defined by a streak of acid that drives the palate forward, cutting through a silky, fine and persistent mousse. Preserved lemons, honeysuckle and apple blossom all come through, with a smoky struck flint character that builds on the finish. The leesy, supple richness builds on the palate on the back end, unfurling nicely to highlight the ageing potential. Vertical, intense and long, this is an excellent vintage here.
Nervy and tight with notes of crushed almonds, chalk, white grapefruit, digestive biscuits, lemons and apricot stones. Hints of fennel and white pepper. Deep and mineral, with plenty of power. Very fine bubbles. Long drive at the end. Try after 2024
Taittinger’s 2013 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs captures an abundance of finesse from Champagne’s cooler 2013 vintage. Mineral-rich and taut, it opens with honeyed notes of ripe citrus, poached nashi pear, butter wafers, and crème fraiche that gradually gain aromatic intensity as it unfurls. Light to medium-bodied, it has well-heeled, vibrant acidity that lends an energetic tension and freshness to the long, toasty finish. This subtly assertive and refined Comtes de Champagne should evolve beautifully with bottle age for 15+ years. Drink 2023-2040.