Champagne,  Food and Beverage,  Wines

Veuve Clicquot: The Grande Dame of Champagne

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, the world wide recognized champagne with the distinctive yellow label was run by a woman well ahead of her time.

Madame Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin whose husband started the wine business prior to his untimely death began to operate the business when she was but 27 years of age.  At the time of his death, her husband left behind his three businesses; banking, wool trading and wine. She chose to keep only the wine business and set out to make it a well know international champagne consumed by noblemen and in far away lands. The wine was named ‘Veuve’, after the French word for ‘widow’. This champagne house and brand has come a long way in its over 200 year history, including some innovations in wine making like the riddling table used in aging the wine.

Only One Quality: The Finest: A Champagne of Taste and Quality

“Only One Quality: The Finest” – this is the motto for Veuve Clicquot, a champagne that uses only the ‘cuvee’, the precious juice from the first pressing, a mark of a quality champagne. Some other aspects that make their champagne what it is include the use of Pinot Noir, blended and use of reserve wine and malolactic fermentation, a method that reduces a wine’s acidity and a practice that is not mandatory for Champagnes.

Another aspect that creates their signature taste is the addition of very little dosing liqueur (the amount of sugar added) a practice which subjective to each Champagne house, and Veuve Clicquot in its Brut Carte Jaune, uses only 9-11 grams in this their emblematic wine shows its style – powerful and complex.

Behind the House of Veuve Clicquot: The Symbols

ANCHOR: This is a Christian symbol for ‘hope and rigor’. It was chosen as the cork brand, in the time before there were labels.

COMET: As a comet flew over the vineyard, Madame Clicquot took it as a sign predicting an excellent harvest, and this symbol was added to the wine.

YELLOW LABEL: In 1873 wines began getting a special dressing, a yellow label to mark the special vintage, a dry champagne for the Anglo-Saxon market.

Veuve Clicquot: The Champagnes & Tasting Notes

From their own website, here are the descriptions of Veuve Clicquot’s own wines:

Brut Yellow Label:

A champagne house is judged primarily on the quality of its Brut non-vintage, which, more than any other wine reveals its art of assemblage. Powerful and complex,the Brut Yellow ensures continuity of the House style and offers an “aromatic” rare brand remembered for long.

Rose:

Just three years following its foundation, the House of Clicquot began illustrating its innovative spirit in 1775 by signing the very first bottle of rosé in the history of Champagne. In 1818, the House broke away from other rosés produced by macerating black grapes in white wine, and created the Rosé Veuve Clicquot by blending red wines with white wines. Elegant and fruity, this wine frees the senses, charms the eye and ravishes the palate. Proudly bearing the imperial red signature of Madame Clicquot, it promises moments of sheer pleasure.

Demi-Sec:

Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec is one of the House’s grand classics. During the 19th century, and up until the early 20th century, consumer tastes ran towards sweeter champagnes, those with a higher dosage of liqueur. Thanks to its exquisite balance, Demi-Sec is the ideal champagne to serve with dessert.

The Vintages:

The term vintage in Champagne describes wines blended from grapes harvested in the same vintage or exceptional year. The Veuve Clicquot House signed the first Vintage wine to be produced in Champagne in 1810, thereafter becoming famous for its mythical wines. The quality of the harvest is not the only specification; a vintage champagne requires all the talent and vision of the Cellar Master in order to create an extraordinary wine that will be secreted away in the cellars before finally being offered to the world. Each Veuve Clicquot Vintage wine must meet two requirements: it must have a unique personality and it must respect the House style.

Cavee Prive: Brut and Rose:

Veuve Clicquot Cave Privée is the fruit of the mad audacity, intuition, passion and drive of the House winemakers who have produced more than 30 years of vintage wines. Guided by the crazy dream of being able to one day offer an exceptional champagne to wine lovers the world over, they have orchestrated the development of each vintage, taking care to respect and enhance the distinctive personality of each one. Today, Cellar Master Dominique Demarville opens the doors to the Veuve Clicquot “Cave Privée”: a unique collection of rare, meticulously selected vintages. Jeroboam, Magnum or bottle – Vintage Brut and Vintage Rosé – each of the numbered bottles of the Veuve Clicquot Cave Privée collection conveys an inimitable interpretation of an exceptional year. Each Vintage of the Veuve Clicquot Cave Privée collection has undergone a bespoke disgorging and dosage, calculated in line with the year and size of the bottle. Thanks to the many bottle sizes, a single Veuve Clicquot Cave Privée Vintage can offer a large range of subtle variations. A rare pleasure and an unparalleled tasting experience.

La Grande Dame: La Grande Dame Brut, La Grande Dame Rose:

Born of a tradition of excellence and the weight of time, the prestigious Grande Dame is the ultimate expression of the Veuve Clicquot style. Tailor-made in 1972 to celebrate the House’s bicentennial, this masterpiece was christened La Grande Dame in tribute to Madame Clicquot… Bearing the name bestowed on Madame Clicquot as a mark of respect and recognition by her peers in Champagne, La Grande Dame cuvée is the very symbol of the driving force that guided Madame Clicquot throughout her life: an obsessive search for quality. Known among connoisseurs as one of the finest champagnes in the world, it’s the pride and joy of the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. Ethereal, free and original, the Grande Dame teases aficionados with its rarity, making an appearance only when nature offers a concordance of perfect conditions. This work of art has given command performances for the most demanding connoisseurs in the form of exceptional Brut vintages in 1995, 1996 and 1998, and Rosé vintages in 1995 and Rosé vintages in 1995 and 1998.

Veuve Clicquot Signature Events

A very social Champagne house, their annual parties are celebrity-studded and attended by royalty including their famous Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, Petanque on Bastilles Day, Yelloween Party and Clicquot in the Snow. You can see more about their events online at www.vcseason.com

Veuve Clicquot  Champagne Business Woman Award

In honor of Madame Clicquot, a business woman well ahead of her time, is the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Award to honor Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, a true pioneer and an innovator.

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