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

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. 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. 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

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: OliverB

          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

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

            2 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

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

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


                1 Reply
                1. 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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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. ;^)

                  2. 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


                      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.