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Blanc de Blancs Champagne in the $150 range to pair with seafood - which would you pick?

OliverB Jun 18, 2013 02:12 PM

I have a $50 K&L gift card and I'm looking to splurge on a vintage blanc de blancs in the $150 range to pair with a lobster dinner over July 4th weekend. Which would you chose and why:

2002 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs


1999 Billecart-Salmon "Blanc de Blancs" Brut Champagne

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  1. o
    OliverB RE: OliverB Jun 18, 2013 02:34 PM

    I've sampled both bottles before but my memory is foggy. I seem to recall the Taittinger being chalky and bitter on the finish. Perhaps it was just the bottle I'd bought, but I don't think my wife enjoyed it very much. The '99 Billecart-Salmon seems like a safe bet... I'm just curious as to what other think?

    1. c
      collioure RE: OliverB Jun 18, 2013 02:37 PM

      This is not exactly my territory, but I have always known Billecart-Salmon's forte to be rosé champagnes.

      Moreover, Taittinger Comtes is one of the greats. So I'd go with the Taittinger.

      1 Reply
      1. re: collioure
        OliverB RE: collioure Jun 18, 2013 02:45 PM

        Thanks, I've never tried Billecart-Salmon's BdB (only their rosés) but I've heard great things and it seems to score highly, though underperforming Taittinger. I had bought a bottle of the 2002 Comtes last winter but if memory serves, my experience was not really on par with most of the rave feedback and scores on it. It may have just been a weak bottle though. I wonder if it would be too dry for a lobster boil.

      2. o
        OliverB RE: OliverB Jun 18, 2013 03:19 PM

        After reading through the high ratings and tasting reviews on cellartracker, I've opted for the Taittinger afterall.

        2 Replies
        1. re: OliverB
          john gonzales RE: OliverB Jun 18, 2013 11:54 PM

          The general opinion would be strongly in favor of the Comtes. It's typically the better wine and the 02 vintage is an excellent vintage as compared to good for 99. The rub is that IMO Comtes needs more age than most BdB and an 02 is probably not quite peaking. The Comtes also must be $40+ more than the B-S.

          1. re: john gonzales
            OliverB RE: john gonzales Jun 19, 2013 06:06 AM

            Thanks John,

            It was indeed priced approx. $35 higher but at this price point (once spending a significant amount) it's negligible anyway in terms of value for quality. I'm sure the Comtes would be much more interesting with another 5 to 10 years added to it, but within this price range, it seemed to be the best bottle available. Glad I made the right choice!

        2. t
          TombstoneShadow RE: OliverB Jun 19, 2013 09:38 AM

          Not even close... the 2002 Taittinger, a truly great year, one of the best of the past 25. .

          Also want to complement you on your pairing choice! Work some cream, butter, and garlic into your dishes, it will be an etheral match.

          1. ChefJune RE: OliverB Jun 19, 2013 12:20 PM

            fwiw, my favorite Blanc de blanc Champagne is Ruinart. :)

            2 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune
              john gonzales RE: ChefJune Jun 23, 2013 11:03 PM

              ....and the 2002 Ruinart Brut (which is BdB) out now is a very tasty version.

              1. re: ChefJune
                billyjack RE: ChefJune Jun 23, 2013 11:34 PM

                I concur.

              2. jason carey RE: OliverB Jun 21, 2013 11:17 AM

                why do you feel the need to spend that much money?
                Buy this instead.. great


                1 Reply
                1. re: jason carey
                  zin1953 RE: jason carey Jun 24, 2013 06:55 AM


                2. z
                  zin1953 RE: OliverB Jun 24, 2013 06:57 AM

                  Chiming in late (sorry), but why these two? There are plenty of other BdB Champagnes out there . . .

                  Of the two, I'd probably pick the Billecart, but I'd prefer the Pierre Peters.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: zin1953
                    john gonzales RE: zin1953 Jun 24, 2013 11:41 AM

                    Of course we all have different preferences and deciding between only two, and of different vintages, isn't the norm, but touting 02 Taitt. Comtes isn't an unusual position at all. It's a classic wine in an excellent vintage for them. I like Pierre Peters but the regular Reserve (NV) is a solid step below the Comtes to me. Though it might be better value for a non special occasion. If we're talking the 02 Chetillons bottling then THAT would be a nice challenge.

                    1. re: john gonzales
                      zin1953 RE: john gonzales Jun 24, 2013 09:00 PM

                      John, this isn't a criticism of Taittinger ("oh, that's garbage; who would want that?"), but rather a response to a very specific question regarding a pairing: "I'm looking to splurge on a vintage blanc de blancs in the $150 range to pair with a lobster dinner over July 4th weekend."

                      Taittinger Comte de Champagne is an excellent wine; I don't think there is any doubt about that. But I wouldn't want to serve it with lobster . . .

                      1. re: zin1953
                        john gonzales RE: zin1953 Jun 25, 2013 10:46 PM

                        Hmm. I can grasp why people love the pairing of meursault and some others with certain lobster preps, but with something realtively simple like drawn butter I think BdBlancs goes excellently and is my first choice.
                        My death row dinner might be a four pound Nova scotia lobster and a bottle of 96 or 02 Salon, depending on when I were sentenced.

                        1. re: john gonzales
                          zin1953 RE: john gonzales Jun 26, 2013 06:08 AM

                          It's style, John. While it's true that I love the combination of Meursault and (steamed) lobster (with drawn butter), I also love Champagne paired with lobster -- it's not the concept of a BdB w/lobster that I would pass on; not by any means. It's that, with this specific pairing, I'd prefer a *different* BdB, that's all.

                          Ergo, I'd opt for the Billecart over the Taittinger for *this* dish. With, say, caviar, I'd favor the Taittinger. For drinking today, I'd opt for the 1996 and keep the 2002 Salon in the cellar to enjoy later . . . or, in your example, for my grieving relatives to enjoy later. ;^)

                          1. re: zin1953
                            john gonzales RE: zin1953 Jun 26, 2013 09:40 AM

                            Clarified. Thanks.

                  2. maria lorraine RE: OliverB Jun 27, 2013 04:19 PM

                    Sorry for the lateness in responding, but...
                    this is what I'd pick in your price range at K&L:

                    1995 Charles Heidsieck "Blanc des Millénaires" Brut Champagne -- $159.95

                    Very, very fine. Good age, depth, toast.

                    Here's the link to it:

                    Only 1 left, so call them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: maria lorraine
                      plaidbowtie RE: maria lorraine Jun 27, 2013 05:25 PM


                      I tasted through a vertical of Taitty Comtes Rose and BdB recently. I just looked through my notes and called the 2002 the leanest and most austere of all the vintages. Not what I would think of to pair with lobster.

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