Late 2016 marked the Delhi leg of Mr. Clovis Taittinger’s (Directeur General Adjoint and Director Exports of Taittinger Champagne) first visit to India. The evening, held at the Spectra Restaurant of the Leela Ambience Mall (Gurgaon), was attended by approximately 40 people which included Mr Sumit Sehgal (Director of Prestige Wines- the importers of Taittinger Champagne in India), The Ambassador of Champagne, myself and others from the world of wine.
The house of Taittinger Champagne is one of the oldest in existence. Except for a small patch between 2005/2006 when the House was sold to an American firm (Starwood Capital) by Mr. Claude Taittinger (uncle of Mr Clovis Taittinger), and then bought back by Mr.Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger (Mr Clovis Taittinger's father), the house has always been family owned and operated. With over 300 hectares, they are by Mr Taittinger’s own estimate, at least the third largest in the appellation. Yet despite having such a large estate, they are growers as well as buyers of grapes.
The first impression of The Taittinger House that comes across with Mr Clovis Taittinger is that of quiet confidence and elegance. In his welcome address to the audience Mr Taittinger said that he likes India and that there is no cultural gap between Indian and French people, emphasizing that “we love the same things in life”.
He added, saying “You are a country of joy. One thing which strikes me when you talk to people, when you see people in the street, they seem happy...... "and you know the base of champagne is this. You cannot appreciate champagne if you are not happy. You cannot appreciate the good things – a friend, your wife, and so on if you are not happy. And to like champagne, to love champagne, you have to be open, you have to be in a happy mood, in a happy time, or to have emotion."
When speaking about the style of wines he likes and his vision for the house, Mr Taittinger is very clear in his preference for a minimalist approach and a sophisticated wine.
“For me the only vision is to make a great Taittinger wine- very light, very precise, very fresh, very plain wine. I like soft wine. Wine which looks like a very sophisticated thing.” “… it should be minimalist. Like when you see Japanese art….. there is no make up, there is no artificial thing. I really try to go for Taittinger wines which go simple things , purity. That is my vision”
He is equally clear on his plans for the Champagne house in India, and said that he aims for Taittinger to be the top Champagne in India in the next 20 years. He further suggested that he would like to see India to be a country of much more importance to the Champagne region in the coming years.
"The first plan we have is to build one of the top brands of the country. That among the Champagne lovers, Taittinger will be the best choice or the preferred brand."
"The second ambition that we have is to contribute to the culture of Champagne. I mean in India you are a sparkling country, sparkling people. We are the same, we love life"......"And I really want India to be the first of the Champagne within the next 20 years"
When asked why he hasn’t come to India before now, he replied with good humor that he is very busy, and said “You know I’m not like the Shiva divinity you know, I don’t have many arms”, but that he was “extremely motivated to come”.
We wish him well in all his future endeavors in India and abroad.