The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2017

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september 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  97 I have always maintained a great respect for Champagne Taittinger. This may be because the house is known for a style that emphasizes Chardonnay (and going beyond Champagne's aging requirements), and I tend to favor more elegant Champagnes with a little more age. It could be because Champagne Taittinger is one of the last family-owned and -operated Grandes Marques Champagne houses in existence. It could have something to do with Taittinger owning 752 acres of vineyards (including Grand Crus in the Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blancs appellations), enabling it to overdeliver on quality for the price. But nothing had prepared me for the hair-raising reverence I felt standing in the middle of the oldest part of the Taittinger cellars . . . In the 13th century, the monks of Saint Nicaise Abbey expanded upon the Gallo-Roman chalk pits dug in the fourth century as a place to store their wine. Today in these crayères (chalk quarries), fragments of the abbey still remain, serving as guardians of dusty bottles of Comtes de Champagne and other beloved Taittinger wines. The layers of history in these cellars are awe-inspiring. Although my visit to Reims this summer might be unique, there are many others who feel this same vast appreciation for Champagne Taittinger. photos by Ryan Zimmerman SoHo, a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, is known for its artist lofts, art galleries and diverse shopping. In the midst of this bohemian culture is the NoMo SoHo, a modern, stylish hotel and restaurant that mirrors this beloved New York City area. Anthony Guinehut, NoMo's Director of Food & Beverage, embraced this concept when helping to develop their food and wine program. Guinehut, a veteran in the industry, got his start at culinary school in Brittany, France. "My passion started in the kitchen; I didn't start on the floor. I was a line cook in Belgium at a two-star Michelin restaurant," he says. "After that I moved to Luxembourg, where I worked in a one-star Michelin, but I worked on the floor as a maître d'—at the time I was 21 years old, one of the youngest maître d's in a one-star Michelin res- taurant in Europe." From there Guinehut moved to the United States and ended up working for the renowned Chef Daniel Boulud as a general manager. He also helped open and develop several other beverage programs before ending up at NoMo. At the hotel, Guinehut's beverage program complements and enhances an American-tinged Mediterranean cuisine executed in a decidedly simple and clean manner. Says Guinehut, "The beauty of Mediterranean food is not only its freshness but its breadth; it encompasses the French Riviera, North Africa, Greece, Lebanon and others. We also work farm to table . . . With the wine list, we go more for mostly small producers. In somewhere like Champagne, do you want to do Veuve Clicquot? No! Everybody has Veuve Clicquot! Anthony Guinehut, Director of Food & Beverage, NoMo SoHo, New York City NoMo's grouper fish tacos with Champagne Taittinger Cuvée Prestige. The Champagne Taittinger lineup at New York City's NoMo SoHo hotel; 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, Brut La Française and Cuvée Prestige.

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