Taittinger Brut la Française
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Smoke and toast accents lace crushed raspberry, candied lemon zest and apple blossom notes in this firm, aperitif-style Champagne. Lively. Drink now. 72,000 cases imported.
The deliciously delicate Taittinger NV Brut La Francaise is strikingly buoyant and dominated by subtle scents of yeast-tinged flowers and foliage - honeysuckle and mint immediately come to mind - that allude to its roughly one-quarter Meunier component, with a luscious matrix of lime-drenched honeydew melon and apple well-supported by discreet residual sugar leading to a sustained and refreshing finish. Hints of toasted almond and vanilla-tinged cookie dough lend a faintly confectionary cast that manages to harmonize with the dominant fruitiness and florality, while piquancy of apple and lime pit serve for counterpoint. That Taittinger's standard-bearing cuvees (outside the U.S., the cuvee in question is called "Brut Reserve") are relatively short on Pinot Noir by standards of that genre is obvious on tasting. Enjoy this distinctive success over the coming year.
(roughly 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier; 9 g/l dosage; L3348NA09100): Light gold. Poached pear, peach, orange and honey on the fruity nose. Broad and fleshy on entry, then tighter and more tangy in the mid-palate, offering juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors with subtle ginger and toasted grain nuances. Shows a supple, round character on the finish, with the ginger and peach notes repeating. Note that this bottling is labelled as "Reserve" for every country aside from the United States. In fact, I tasted a bottle labeled as such here in New York this fall, from Lot L3348NA9200. How it wound up here, I've no idea.
A blend of the three main Champagne grapes from vineyards in 35 villages, this is light and fruity, with some bottle age giving it a hint of toast. White fruits and acidity add crispness to this well-balanced wine.