MENTIONED IN THIS POST:
If you’re looking to expand your Champagne collection, investing in wines from either Taittinger or Bollinger is a wise decision. But how do these producers compare? Which estate is the better investment? While Taittinger is elegant and dances on the palate, Bollinger tends to be richer and more powerful. These two Champagne houses couldn’t be more different, yet they have at least one thing in common: collectors consider both of these producers to be among the most investment-worthy in the world. Because they both produce consistently top-quality wine, your preference for either Taittinger or Bollinger will come down to personal taste, vintage, label quality, and how long you plan on storing your bottles. Weighing all of these factors will help you find the wine that speaks most strongly to you.
Taittinger or Bollinger? It’s a Matter of Taste
Most collectors have a strong opinion about which Champagne producer they enjoy most. At a New Year’s Eve party last year, I brought along a bottle of 2007 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne to share with the group. After midnight, we opened the Taittinger and a few other bottles of Champagne, including a 2005 Bollinger La Grande Année. The Taittinger was very aromatic, complex, and slightly toasted, while the Bollinger was much more full-bodied and toffee-like. The Bollinger was a delicious wine, but I personally preferred the lighter taste of the Taittinger. However, not everyone agreed. One of my friends was so impressed with the Bollinger that he bought several bottles of it online the next day.
You won’t know which of these two Champagne producers you prefer until you sample a range of these wines for yourself. However, in general, Taittinger usually appeals most to wine enthusiasts who:
- Favor reductive Champagne (minimal exposure to oxygen during fermentation gives the wine focused flavors and excellent structure).
- Prefer light, complex wines.
- Enjoy producers like Krug.
Likewise, Bollinger usually appeals to wine enthusiasts who:
- Favor oxidative Champagne (some exposure to oxygen during fermentation gives the wine sweet, caramelized flavors and nuttiness).
- Prefer fruit-forward, acidic wines.
- Enjoy producers like Louis Roederer (although Bollinger is generally even more full-bodied).
These guidelines may help you narrow down your choice between Taittinger or Bollinger, but they don’t apply to every bottle made by these producers. For example, some Bollinger is lighter-bodied, and some Taittinger tastes very rich. This is why you should also consider the label and vintage when you shop for your next bottle of Champagne.
Vintages That Are Worth Collecting
While the name of the producer on the bottle can offer you some insight into the flavor of the wine inside, it won’t tell you everything that you need to know about that particular wine’s age-worthiness or taste. To get a sense of these characteristics you’ll want to find out more about both the label and the vintage to determine which bottles of Taittinger or Bollinger you want to add to your collection.
When you shop for Taittinger, look for the following high-quality recent vintages:
All of the vintages above earned an average score of at least 94 points from critics, and both the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs and the Rosé are expected to age beautifully over the next ten or 20 years.
Likewise, if you’re looking for the best recent Bollinger vintages, consider investing in:
These four vintages, in particular, earned high scores from critics. The best labels to invest in from Bollinger in these vintages are La Grande Année and the Vieilles Vignes Françaises.
The Best Taittinger and Bollinger Labels
In addition to researching the best vintages for each estate, it’s also a good idea to learn more about the flavor profiles of each label to get a sense of which wines you might be most interested in drinking or reselling.
Some of the most noteworthy Taittinger labels include:
- Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs: Made from 100 percent Chardonnay, this is among the most collectible Taittinger wines. Bottles sell for $130 to $150 each shortly after release, and after 20 years in storage, they can be worth as much as $400 per bottle. High-quality vintages from the 1950s have even sold at auction for more than $1,000 per bottle. The flavor profile of this label is deeply aromatic and tastes more toasted as it ages.
- Comtes de Champagne Rosé: Made from 70 percent Pinot Noir and 30 percent Chardonnay, this is an equally collectible wine and is often worth slightly more than the Blanc de Blancs on the secondary market. Bottles sell for about $200 shortly after release and can be worth as much as $1,000 after a couple decades of storage. The flavor profile is medium-bodied, rich, and spicy.
- Non-Vintage: Non-vintage Taittinger such as Brut Réserve, Nocturne Sec, Folies de la Marquetterie, Prestige Rosé, and Brut La Française aren’t usually worth selling for a profit on the secondary market, but it is certainly worth having a few bottles on-hand to serve with dinner or bring to a party. If you enjoy the flavor profile of aged Champagne, you can also successfully cellar high-quality non-vintage Taittinger wines like Prélude Grands Crus.
Some of the most noteworthy Bollinger labels are:
- Special Cuvée: These non-vintage wines are Pinot Noir-heavy, and the precise ratio of Pinot Noir to Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier changes every year. Generally, they are made from 60 percent Pinot Noir, 25 percent Chardonnay, and 15 percent Pinot Meunier. These wines have excellent aging potential and structure despite being non-vintage, and they become very toasted in flavor with age. This is a versatile wine worth keeping on hand in your cellar or storage warehouse; you’ll want to drink some bottles young and store others for a few years to taste their development.
- La Grande Année: In years when the weather is especially fine, Bollinger makes this label from the best grapes in every vineyard, using about 65 percent Pinot Noir and 35 percent Chardonnay. This is an excellent wine to try if you love a bold, deeply-concentrated Champagne or want a wine that you can store for decades at a time. These bottles don’t tend to increase in value as much as the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, but they can double their worth from about $200 per bottle upon release to approximately $400 per bottle after a long enough time in storage.
- R.D.: The R.D. (Récemment Dégorgé, or Recently Disgorged) label is similar to La Grande Année in that it is only produced in the finest vintages. However, this label spends much more time on the lees, which softens the wine’s tannins and imparts a distinct yeasty flavor. If you love bready-tasting Champagne, then this will likely be a great choice for your collection. It is similar in value to La Grande Année, although some exceptionally old vintages sell for more than $1,000 per bottle.
- Vieilles Vignes Françaises: This is the rarest and most collectible of the Bollinger labels. Made from just two small plots of ancient Pinot Noir vines, these wines have elegant fruit flavors, floral aromatics, and a hint of smoke. This is Bollinger at its most refined. It’s also a wine worth investing in if you plan on selling your collection on the secondary market later. Due to its rarity, bottles are worth about $800 each upon release, and within 20 years, they usually increase in value to approximately $1,500 or more, depending on the quality of the vintage.
The best way to sample some of these labels is to attend Champagne tasting events. Most Champagne-centered tastings will serve at least one of the labels on this list, and this is a great way to try these wines yourself before you buy and store your own bottles long-term.
Finding Taittinger and Bollinger Bottles Worth Laying Down
Once you know which vintages and labels you’re interested in investing in, make sure to purchase your wine from a trustworthy marketplace. Generally, the best time to buy Taittinger or Bollinger is between November and January, as many wine shops and online retailers offer competitive prices on Champagne during the holiday season. While non-vintage Bollinger and Taittinger will be easy to find during this time of the year, you may have trouble locating rarer bottles, like Vieilles Vignes Françaises or Comtes de Champagne Rosé, as these will be in high demand. If you’re ready to add Taittinger or Bollinger to your collection soon, I recommend starting your hunt for rare vintage bottles now.
You should also consider buying a variety of labels from one or both of these producers–you can drink your non-vintage Taittinger or Bollinger Special Cuvée while you wait for bottles of Comtes de Champagne or R.D. to mature. Experimenting with many different styles of Taittinger and Bollinger is a delicious way to discover the labels that bring you the most joy.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.