page contents

An international threesome for the holidaze: French Taittinger Champagne, Italian Calvisius Caviar & a suite at NYC’s Hotel Surrey

An international threesome for the holidaze: French Taittinger Champagne, Italian Calvisius Caviar & a suite at NYC’s Hotel Surrey

Between online pop-ups, Groupon discount coupons, television advertising, and in-store flyers, holiday gifting is made to appear as a very complex decision-making process. In fact, holiday gift giving is extremely easy – everyone on the list gets Taittinger Champagne, Calvisius Caviar, and a hotel suite at the Surrey Hotel.

Of course, it would be delightful to spend the holidays in Champagne, France – sipping Taittinger on-location and then driving to Calvisano (BS), Italy to look at the white sturgeons as they grow bigger producing the delicious eggs for caviar. For those of us without the time for global travel it is possible to enjoy the best of all worlds by booking a glamourous suite at the Surrey and savoring France and Italy via room service.


Caviar. Glamourous or Pedestrian

It is hard to reconcile the reality that caviar is the elegant name for the salted eggs of the sturgeon, currently farmed and harvested in Italy. In the late 19th century caviar could be found on the Delaware River, Caviar, New Jersey (not so attractive). Over-fishing killed the American export dominance and today Caviar is recognized as Bayside, New Jersey.

Champagne. English or French

Although the French receive the credit for “discovering sparkling wine,” it was the British doctor from Gloucester, Christopher Merret who recorded a formula for a Champagne-style drink 20 years before the French Benedictine monk and cellar master, Dom Pierre Perignon… although Perignon is given the credit.

History suggests that in December, 1662, Dr. Merret presented the Royal Society with an 8-page report detailing experiments from English cider makers who had started adding sugars to wine to create a bubbly, refreshing dry drink – similar to modern day Champagne. Merret noted, “Our wine coopers of recent times add vast quantities of sugar and molasses to wines to make them drink brisk and sparkling.” The report provided details of a “second fermentation process” – a chemical reaction that occurs when the bottled alcohol experiences an increase in temperature and produces carbon dioxide…forming a key element of Champagne making – “methode champenoise.”

What really matters is that the marriage (or at least the arrangement) between Taittinger Champagne and Calvisius Caviar provides the appropriate ambiance for a celebration.

The House of Taittinger is one of the last remaining major marque Champagne wineries that is both owned and operated by the family named on the label. It is the second largest vineyard in the region and controls quality from vine to bottle. The Champagnes are Chardonnay dominant and deliver an elegant, delicate and thoroughly memorable sensory experience.

Curated Tasting: Savoy Hotel Holiday Celebration Seminar of Taittinger and Calvisius Caviar

1. Champagne Taittinger Brut La Francaise NV. 40 % Chardonnay, 35% Pinto Nor, 25% Pinot Meunier

To the eye, sunlight golden yellow with a hint of citrus and honey to the nose. Delicate soft bubbles tantalize the palate and open up visions of peaches, white flowers and vanilla. A clean and dry finish encourages the reach for another delicious sip.

• Pair with Calvisius Caviar Tradition Prestige. This white sturgeon is originally from the Pacific coast of North America (between Alaska and Baja California).  Eggs are large (3+ meters), with colors trending from dark grey to black.  An elegant aroma is followed by a creamery, buttery taste that ends with a taste of the sea.

2. Champagne Taittinger Prelude Grands Crus NV. 50 % Chardonnay, 50 % Pinot Noir

The Chardonnay presents a brilliant pale yellow to the eye, while the nose finds green grapes with a hint of lemon, honey and marigolds and just an undertone of perfume. An abundance of lush, soft bubbles gently caress the palate that delivers fresh citrus and white peaches with a hint of sweetness. The taste experience ends with a clear finish and a suggestion of citrus.

• Pair with Calvisius Caviar Oscietra Classic. This sturgeon is also known as Russian sturgeon, a species originally from the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Azov Sea. The eggs are medium sized (between 2.6 and 2.9 millimeters). This delicious taste experience takes 13 years of the sturgeon’s life-cycle. During these years, the sturgeon dines on the algae of rocks.


• The Oscietra Classic is noted by a firm egg that is dark brown in color with a golden hue and the flavor is rich and nutty. It is delicate and smooth and leaves behind a taste of the sea.

3. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006. 100% Chardonnay

This wine is produced only in extraordinary vintage years and is the ultimate sublime expression of the Taittinger House style and composed entirely of Chardonnay grapes frown in the top vineyards of the prestigious Cote des Blancs. Only the best press juice is used. Five percent of the blend spends 3-4 month in new oak barrels to enhance the intrinsic qualities of the final blend. Prior to disgorgement, the Blanc d Blancs is aged for 10 years on the lees in 13th century chalk cellars that were once the property of Saint Nicaise Abbey.

To the eye, light blonde highlights and small delicate bubbles creating a gentle foam ring. The nose detects a subtle but flavorful sense of grapefruit and baked raisins, bananas, butter and soft creamy cheese. On the palate, it is smooth and lively and a long finish with a touch of spice.

• Pair with Calvisius Caviar Siberian. Originally the Siberian sturgeon was found in the Ob River to the Kolyma River and the Baikal Lake basin, this caviar ranges in size from 2.2 to 2.7 millimeters and the eggs range in color from gray to amber. It takes 6-8 years for the eggs to be harvest ready.

Deliciously salty with each egg bursting with flavor that is bold and lingers on the palate. Perfectly teamed with oysters and scallops.

4. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose 2006. 70% Pino Noir (12% blended as still red wine), 30 % Chardonnay

At almost US$300 per bottle, this is an experience that is difficult to describe. Produced from 100% Grand Crus grapes, the Rose features grapes from Cotes des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. To ensure structure and excellence, only juice from the first pressing is used. A small portion of the Pinot Noir grapes (12%) is blended as red wine.

To the eye this fabulous champagne present a light hue of pink to the eye that is complemented by gently soft bubbles. The complex nose suggests a tart/sweet hint of cranberries, wild strawberries, and black currants. The first suggestion of fruitiness is enriched into a structure that is memorably well-balanced.

Pair with Calvisius Oscietra Royal.

This delicious bit of the sea retails at approximately US$140 – 28 grams. It presents large grains that are dark brown in color with shades of golden amber. The roe has a velvety, firm texture that delivers suggestions of pears, butter, hazelnuts and a hint of the salty sea.

Be Mindful


Champagne

Put Taittinger in the refrigerator and serve Taittinger at about 45 degrees. The glass can be a coupe, a flute, or even a classic white wine glass. Unwrap the foil, pop the cork –carefully. Pour in one motion against the SIDE of the glass – if you want to maintain the bubbles.


Caviar

Refrigerate the caviar and keep it cold in the chilliest part of the fridge. NEVER freeze caviar. Present the roe in a crystal bowl, placing your tin on the crushed or shaved ice to maintain the chill throughout the tasting. Place a few small spoons around the dish to help the guests serve themselves: Caviar loves mother-of-pearl, bone and wood. Caviar dislikes metal – unless it is 24Karat gold.

Accommodations

Think of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Bette Davis, and Claudette Colbert…if you are a fan, then you will want to stay at their hotel, The Surrey. A member of Relais & Chateaux, the hotel was built in 1926 but has recently been refreshed by Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio and it is a gem. Rottet’s designs were inspired by a New York City vintage townhouse. It is a hotel that provides a wealth of services that are discreet – and it is the perfect address for c-suite executives who want to maintain a low profile. Located on Manhattan’s elegantly traditional upper eastside.

This copyright article may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

Tagged with
%d bloggers like this: