Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Vertical Tasting - Held at the Seafood Restaurant St Andrews, 22 December 2005

Toasted butter & mushroom nose with a hint of sherry. Mousse looks perfect; tiny bubbles. The palate is lovely, rich & long. Fine, luscious texture that goes brilliantly with the smoked salmon. *****

More citrus on the nose than the '59 - fresher, though there's a suppleness as well. The palate is very sexy with elegance but a bit more simple than the '59. Mousse a bit more active. There's a note of age on the finish. ****

Sadly past it. Very little mousse. Not terrible, but not there anymore. Especially compared to the older wines. *

Colour is vibrant and fresh, with fast, tiny bubbles. Freshness continues to the nose, which is fantastic: that perfect balance of fruit and buttery biscuits. The palate is an explosion - candied oranges & pears with toasty edges and amazing length. Awesome. *****

The colour is older than the '71. Bit more brass. The nose is rich and toasty, as is the palate - rounded, mouth-filling and brilliant. Not as sexy as the '71, but possibly more complex and refined. Lovely with the cod. *****

Fresh yeast on the nose, with lemon sherbert as well - rich and boisterous palate but slightly untamed. I think this needs a bit of time. ***(*)

Really fun nose & palate - this is just moving from being a serious youthful champagne to being a very serious aged champagne. The fruit is dominant and the secondary flavours haven't quite some forward yet. Lovely. ***(*)

Active mousse with perfumed nose - quite lemony & tangy. Palate is beautifully rounded with a great, long finish. *****

Fresh & zesty with hints of greatness to come. The fruit is already knitting with the secondaries, so if you almost chew the wine you can get a sense of its future. ***(**)

1996 (from magnum)
Incredibly tight-knit. This has years to go (especially in large format), but I look forward to monitoring its progress. **(***)

This tasting was put on by The Naughton Dining Club with kind help from The Seafood Restaurant St Andrews.