An evening with sparkling company
It's easy to talk about champagne when you have a glass of the exquisite Taittinger 'Comtes de Champagne' in your hand, even easier when you're in conversation with a champagne expert.
Clovis Taittinger, great-grandson of the first Taittinger to produce champagne, is seated in the library of the Atlantic Hotel. He is in Jersey for a unique Taittinger Champagne event.
'For every moment that counts in life, every celebration and emotion, champagne is there. Champagne is not just a wine, it is a symbol of love, success, joy and celebration,' Clovis says. 'For me, it's the magic of the bubble, the pop of the cork.
'It's hard to condense the magic of champagne down into just one thing; you have 300 years of champagne history and tradition and then all the unique, unforgettable moments of people's lives, encapsulated within one superb experience.
'With a glass of champagne, we are all equal. You can have the same champagne as the Queen, the magical experience of champagne is the same for all of us. At the same time, there is something unique about drinking champagne; it's energising and uplifting. Simply put, I would say champagne makes you happy and lets your emotions speak.'
A family business
The eldest son of Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, President of the Champagne House, Clovis is the brand's Export Manager and will be personally taking guests at the event through the history of the unique and historic Taittinger champagne, while they enjoy a tasting of champagnes matched with dishes from Ocean Chef Mark Jordan.
The highlight? A glass of the 1998 Taittinger 'Comtes de Champagne' Blanc de Blancs alongside a ravioli of Jersey chancre crab, potato and Champagne foam. Taittinger's light and delicate style gives the world-renowned house a reputation as the 'champagne of connoisseurs' and is one of only a few to remain owned and actively managed by the family named on the label. Is that why Taittinger is so celebrated?
'We have been able to create consistently high quality champagnes for many years, so people are confident they can trust Taittinger. And in turn, we are a family company and our name is on the bottle, so we feel a real responsibility to ensure the champagne is always of the best quality. After all, we are champagne drinkers too! You can make the best champagne in the world, but it all depends on people drinking it. When I see people enjoying champagne, and see that spirit of Taittinger shining bright, then I know I have done my job.'
The origins of Taittinger Champagne date back to 1734 when the original Champagne House, the third to be established in France, was founded by Jacques Fourneux. In 1932, the house and vineyards at Château de la Marquetterie were bought by Pierre Taittinger, who had fallen in love with the property when stationed there as a young cavalry officer.
Today, his grandson Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger along with his son Clovis and daughter Vitalie are helping the family business to thrive and grow.
'My sister and I are the new generation of the Taittinger family and my father was brave enough to hire a new generation of managers. And with each new generation comes a refreshed drive, energy and passion. Perfectionism? Perhaps. Champagne takes your heart. If you don't have the flame, it's finished.'
FIFA World Cup
It's this passion which has driven Clovis and his family to explore new collaborations and partnerships, including Taittinger's role as the official champagne of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil this summer.
'Am I looking forward to it? Of course! I'm a fan of football and you get to watch some high quality matches. Who will win? Perhaps it will be France! We will see,' he laughs.
Taittinger is served in 150 countries worldwide, so travel is a constant part of Clovis role.
'Of course I travel very much and every hotel has its own personality. The Atlantic has a number of remarkable ingredients that make it an outstanding hotel, such as its owner Patrick Burke and its beautiful location. And then there are the individual details that make the hotel special.
'For me, I love walking across this little footbridge in the lobby - across the pond filled with koi carp. It's a unique and beautiful element of the hotel, this serene pool - almost like a Japanese garden, where the fish are swimming in tranquility. I have found it so relaxing.'
Taittinger Champagne is the house champagne of The Atlantic Hotel and Ocean Restaurant. Clovis Taittinger stayed at The Atlantic Hotel during his visit to Jersey to participate in the Taittinger Champagne Dinner event, 28 March 2014.
For more details of gourmet breaks at the Atlantic Hotel, click here.