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Pierre-Charles Taittinger ran a distribution and export champagne business and in 1931 acquired with one of his brother-in-laws the champagne house of Forest-Fourneaux, founded in 1734; it was the the oldest champagne house in existence at the time. The following year he purchased the Château de Marquetterie together with its champagne estate near Epernay, whose vineyards had been planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir since the 18th century. Pierre knew the château well; it had been used as a command post during WWI and he had stayed there for three weeks after suffering a heart attack during combat. In the 1930's land was cheap due to the economic crisis at the time and Pierre took full advantage of this situation, buying hundreds of hectares of vineyards in the finest areas of the Champagne region. From 1945 to 1960, Pierre's third son Francois ran the business and established the Taittinger cellars on the site of the 13th century Abbey of Saint-Nicaise, of which only the crypts remained 18 metres underground – the famous Gallo-Roman chalk pits (crayèrs), dating from the 4th century. It is here where the Taittinger champagnes age in graceful silence. Francois died in a car accident and his brother Claude took over and managed the business until 2005, when it was sold to the Starwood Group. Emmanuel Taittinger, grandson of the founder, joined the champagne house in 1976 as a salesman, working his way up eventually to General Manager. He bought back Taittinger from the Starwood Group in 2006 for 660 million euros and became President of the maison, which he heads up today aided by his son Clovis and daughter Vitalie. Taittinger own 288 hectares of vineyards, it is the third largest domaine in Champagne and the largest to be accredited High Environmental Value. The vines are cultivated along the Marne River between the Côtes des Blancs, the Vallée de la Marne and the Montagne de Reims planted with 48% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier distributed equally across 37 different crus (including five Grand Cru terroirs), which provide 45% of the house's needs. It buys the rest of the fruit from partner vineyards based on long-term commitments. There is an additional 80 hectares in the Aube in Loches-sur-Ource; if Taittinger's vines were placed end to end they would stretch 2,880 kilometres! They also own the largest intra muros vineyard in the city of Reims, located in Val-de-Murigny, near the first Roman Road connecting Reims to Epernay. Pinot Noir provides structure and strong aromatics, Pinot Meunier rounds out the blend with a fruity character and Chardonnay gives elegance and finesse. The signature style of the house is led by the Chardonnay grape, accompanied by the hallmark of long ageing. Taittinger age their champagnes for far longer than the minimum required by the appellation. The usual time for non vintage champagne is 15 months before release, but Taittinger age their entry level Brut Réserve for three years, which is actually the minimum for a vintage champagne. They age their vintage cuvées for five years. Taittinger own the Demeure des Comtes in Reims. This is one of the residences once owned by the Comtes de Champagne where they would stay during the coronation ceremonies of the Kings of France in Reims Cathedral. Their prestige cuvée Comtes de Champagne is a tribute to this heritage and in particular to Thibaud IV whose seal depicting a knight on horseback is Taittinger's logo and proudly adorns every bottle of their champagne. In 2015 Pierre made English wine history by establishing Domaine Evremond in Kent with his British partners Hatch Mansfield; the first champagne house to plant a vineyard in England. Taittinger craft a sublime portfolio of champagnes whose excellence is recognised worldwide.