The Great Champagne Houses
Shortly after the end of the Second World War, Pierre Taittinger with the help of his brother-in-law employed their passion for wine and French cuisine to found this beloved Champagne house. His creation quickly claimed its place among the greatest Champagne houses by forging its style based on the elegance of Chardonnay. Today, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger maintains the legacy of the family business and seeks to further develop its prestige with the help of his children, Vitalie and Clovis. Proud to be artisans of the Champagne trade, the winemakers at Taittinger pay particular attention to their vineyards throughout the entire year from the arrival of the shoots to the harvest. Several times during the year, more than 170 hectares are worked without the use of herbicides, a testament to the great respect shown by the Taittingers for their soil and plants. Each of these elements contributes to the subtlety and finesse of Taittinger Champagne. A Moment with Taittinger: "In my hands is the of light of the heart" - Vitalie Taittinger
In 1729, Nicolas Ruinart founded the first Champagne house ever created. For some centuries now, his noble family has cherished their house with his same passion. The Ruinart cellars descend 3 levels and expand through 8 kilometers of galleries. It is these ancient crayères, chalk cellars that shelter the wine providing a steady temperature and a level of humidity ideal for fermentation. Chardonnay is the soul of Ruinart Champagnes, this grape grown mainly throughout the Cote des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims is found in each of their cuvées. Bright, lively, elegant and aromatic, the Ruinart taste is owed to this varietal and the careful and patient vinification it undergoes.
Salon Champagne was created in 1911 by Aimé Salon, a man passionate for Champagne who happened upon the charms of the terroir, Mesnil. By way of exceptional rigor, he managed to create his ideal Champagne, an extremely fine “blanc de blancs”. Each cuvée is cultivated within a single terroir, the Cote des Blancs, and a single cru, the Mesnil-sus-Oger, from only a single vintage and varietal, chardonnay. Salon Champagne is a champagne unique in its class. Intense and voluptuous like no other Champagne, every sip is a rare privilege. Mastery, character and elegance characterize an authentic Salon Champagne.
The history of the Bollinger house begins in 1829 when Athanase de Villermont, Joseph Bollinger and Paul Renaudin created the Renaudin-Bollinger & Cie company never doubting that this house would stand the test of time. Throughout the generations, Bollinger has earned notoriety while expanding its winery. Today it stretches over 164 hectares made up of grands and premiers crus growing primarily pinot noir, the varietal most often used in Bollinger Champagne. Rigor and patience are the essential elements at the heart of each cuvée. In fact, Bollinger does not hesitate to let some of its wines age longer than the rules of Champagne allow so they can fully develop more expressive characteristics. At Bollinger house, achieving excellence is crucial, their Champagne is complex, refined, unique and prestigious.
Louis Roederer Champagne
In 1776, the Champagnes of Louis Roederer were born in Reims. This house also remains independent and family-run to this day. Their motto is borrowed from Prince Salina, "For everything to stay the same, everything must change". Louis Roederer is one of the rare houses to have a sizeable vineyard. They manage to fill two thirds of their barrels with their own harvest, guaranteeing that their vintage cuvées are sourced entirely from their vineyards. The house of Roederer is best known for its famous cuvée, le Cristal. Originally it was created for Czar Alexandre II who requested his own personalized bottle. Roederer brought in an artisan and master glassworker to create a transparent crystal bottle with a flat bottom, making it impossible to hide explosives in the butt of the bottle. Still today, the bottle is made of crystal and sports its imperial armor. At Dilettantes, we offer Cristal 2006 and 2002.
The history of the Billecart-Salmon house dates back to the beginning of the 19th century in the village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ near Épernay. In 1818, the young couple, Nicolas-Francois Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, decided to create their own Champagne house. Seven generations followed in their footsteps. The house currently cultivates about 30 hectares and buys most of their remaining grapes from grand and premier cru parcels. Their founding principles remain unchanged to this day, finesse, balance and elegance.