In early December, I was lucky enough to attend the Tattinger Champagne Tasting at The Pantry Colinton. We were treated to not only an evening of fabulous food perfectly paired with various champagnes, but also received an education from Mark O’Bryen, Master of Wine for Tattinger.
It was also a brilliant opportunity to catch up with Caroline and discuss what we’d like to write about on the blog this year – and what better way to do that than over champagne!
Charlotte welcomed us to The Pantry Colinton, ensuring everyone had a glass of Tattinger Non-Vintage Brut in hand before introducing Mark O’Bryen. Mark introduced us to Tattinger by providing the perfect balance in the information he imparted; I would say 70% of it was perfectly accessible interesting knowledge about Tattinger and 30% was more focused on the technicalities of the champagne.
Although I was perfectly aware of Tattinger before the evening, Mark’s introduction meant that I now know much more about the history of the brand. I learned Pierre Tattinger first discovered the champagne region – and Chateau de la Marquetterie (the house that sits surrounded by the Tattinger vineyards) when he was stationed there in World War One. Falling in love with the region, he promised to return and did with his brother-in-law. Finally purchasing the estate in 1932.
Mark explained just how well connected the Tattinger’s were as a family, with every family member really getting involved with trying to get the champagne out there. One of them must’ve been mate’s with Ian Fleming, given Bond announces in Casino Royal that Tattiner is ‘the finest champagne in the world.’
Tattinger really emerged as a family company with Pierre’s sons – Francois, Jean, and Claude – all coming to work for the business as it developed. Which is a tradition that continues as Pierre’s Grandson and Great-Grand Children are all part of the business today. By telling the history of Tattinger, I felt I could really appreciate it as a family business and one still firmly rooted in it’s beginnings.
On to the champagne…
Mark explained that our first champagne – the Non-Vintage Brut – was described by one of his colleagues as ‘evaporating in the glass’. In other words, you can drink it all without noticing! It was really light and easy to drink which went perfectly with Mini Caesar Salad – in beautiful parmesan cheese baskets.
Mark explained that the Brut contains a relatively high amount of Chardonnay for a non-vintage Champagne – which gives it it’s particularly yellow colour. Whilst he was glad we had something to drink whilst he was talking, he encouraged us to keep a little back in our glasses to compare it to the next champagne. It pointed out it was also interesting to see how the taste changed as it warmed.
The next course of lobster sliders were paired with my favourite champagne of the evening – the Tattinger Prelude Grand Crus. I felt this one was more complex than the first; it tasted like it had a much fuller flavour and was just more memorable. Mark explained that as the champagne is mixed from lots of different vines – and contained a mix of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir – this is what it’s meant to taste like!
Our third champagne – the Tattinger Rose NV – was a brilliant pink and a real contrast to the Grand Crus. Mark encouraged us to really try and work out what we could smell – summer fruits – and to think about how it went with our food.
For this course, we enjoyed Smoked Old Amsterdam cheese and Braised Celery tarts with a sun blush tomato pesto. Aside from being delicious, I realised afterwards, this was the only stage of my Instagram stories I had actually spelled correctly. Which goes to show, if you want to improve your writing… drink more champagne.
The final champagne of the evening was a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Like the Prelude, it had quite a complex flavour but I found that it was much sweeter than the others. Happily, this meant that it went well with Mini Apple Pie and Ice Cream and proved a perfect end to the evening.
In the intimate setting provided by The Pantry Colinton, Mark had taken us all to France with tales of balloon rides, tours of cellars and of course, visions of expansive vineyards. Whilst the champagne had taken us all to a very merry place!
It really is an evening I’m not going to forget in a hurry and I very much hope The Pantry will be hosting similar events in months to come. It was such a treat to spend time with friends, and learn about new things.
As ambitions go, it’s something I want to do more of. All too often I find excuses not to out or actually, leave it to late and find events have been sold out! Finding ways to spend time with friends need not be arduous though – and thankfully I bought a bottle of the Prelude Grand Crus to enjoy with friends at home!