Ahead of CellarVie Wines
’ focus on Champagne
, we stole a precious moment with Taittinger winemaker Loïc Dupont, to discuss his passionate winemaking philosophy and to gain an insight into his crucial role as the guardian of Taittinger
’s world renowned reputation, style and elegance.
Describe yourself and your attitude to winemaking in three words…
Passionate in what I do, understanding of the process and discrete
Briefly describe your wines…
Delicate, Graceful , Elegant
Describe the Taittinger philosophy and your approach to winemaking…
I try to be the guardian of the Taittinger style and reputation, ensuring it reflects the hallmarks of their style, elegance, delicacy and finesse.
My philosophy is to be faithful to this style and each wine is a benchmark for that type of cuvee be it the signature cuvée, the prestige cuvée or a single vintage or vineyard wine.
I believe there are three elements to good wine: good grapes, good architects and good time.
There is a principle of no oak on our wines at Taittinger – we want to make natural, fresh, light wines with natural energy and ripeness. Although there are a couple of exceptions with Folies de la Marquetterie and Comtes de Champagne where a touch of oak is used for some extra weight, the principle of elegance and finesse remains.
What wines are Taittinger responsible for making?
I’m the Chef des Caves and oversees the winemaking for all the Taittinger cuvées from their signature cuvée Taittinger Brut Réserve NV to their top prestige cuvee Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.
How did you get involved in the winemaking world?
I am a Reims man through and through. I went to school in Reims and
achieved my Baccalauréat in science in 1974. After military service in the Air Force, I returned in 1975 and enrolled in the College of Science at Reims University where I studied oenology.
Three years later I received my National Diploma in Oenology.
In 1978 I started my first job in the wine industry as a production manager at the sparkling wine factory, Saint BUR in Voulpaix in Picardy, Northern France. In 1979 I moved to Abidjan on the Ivory Coast where I managed the sparkling wine facility at Sicodis (Castel Frères Group).
Towards the beginning of 1984, I returned to France and joined Champagne Taittinger in Reims as an oenologist and took over quality control in 1985.
From 1987 to 1992, I actively contributed to the launch of Domaine Carneros, the winery created by Champagne Taittinger and Kobrand in the Napa Valley in California, as oenological advisor.
Today I oversee all the winemaking at Taittinger and consider myself the guardian of their consistent quality and style.
What are your main passions outside of wine?
Cycling, motorcycling and my family
If you didn't make wine what would you do?
I love manual work and I’m rather scientific in spirit, I like to understand how things work, and therefore I would have loved to have done something related to mechanics, probably a car mechanic.
What is your favourite meal?
It is hard to answer this question, it would be like asking ‘what is my favourite wine!’ but I love pastries, and certainly one of my favourite meals is grilled sea bass with a sorrel sauce.
Where is your favourite place in your vineyard to sit down quietly with a glass of wine?
A spot close to the Château de la Marquetterie where we have a view on different vineyards: Pierry sector, the castel, l’Eglise de Chavaux & the beginning of la Côte des Blancs.
What kind of events does the vineyard get up to over the Christmas period and the rest of the year?
There are no special events at Christmas. The main annual events are the following:
22 January - during the Saint Vincent
23 June - during the Saint-Jean Fires
During the harvest which ends with a dinner called the “cochelet”.
Describe a day in the life of Loïc Dupont…
An average day starts at 7am, when the people who work in the cellars begin their work. The day has many aspects: work planning and organization, and control of the services supervised (the vat-house, the cellar & the disgorgement) along with constant contact with people in charge of the other key services (vineyards, marketing, production etc). There is also a lot of administerial duties to do such as emailing, invoicing and other tasks.
Usually at around 11am tastings are organized. At the beginning of December we taste “clear wines” to evaluate which blend will go in to making each cuvée. Blending tests then follow which tend to be closely linked to the oenologist part of my work.
I usually have a quick lunch with the team. It is an important moment and they try not to discuss too much work so to clear their minds and relax a little before the working day finishes around 6pm. Then I go back home to spend the evening with his wife.
To conclude I would say that my day passes really quickly and although many people tell me I am a lucky man because of my extremely interesting work, which is of course true, I would say in return, that I have to deal with lots of administrative work, which cannot be avoided.
To view our Taittinger
champagnes click here
Dating back to 1734 when the original house was founded by Jacques Fourneaux, the Taittinger link was established in 1931 and remains one of the few Champagne Houses that is still owned and actively managed by the family named on the label. As a result Taittinger is a Champagne house that cares passionately about quality. The hallmark of their wines is the high percentage of Chardonnay used in the blend which provides wines of delicacy, elegance and finesse, which are the key fundamentals of their winemaking philosophy.