Veuve Clicquot Rare Vintage 1988
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
This Vintage is made up from twenty villages all classified as Premiers or Grands Crus. They are located in the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims regions. The dominance and power comes from the Pinot Noir, which represents 68% of the blend. The finesse and elegance are achieved from a complement of 32% Chardonnay.
The effervescence is both delicate and long lasting. The bouquet is fine and complex, strong in the aromas of dried fruits and flowers. There is an elegant harmony in the nose around toast and brioche notes. In the mouth, the wine is firm and well structured, with masses of substance and refinement. Such wine accompanies perfectly lobsters, scallops and sea fish. After a few more years of ageing, one would not hesitate to offer it with poultry or with meat dishes such as veal.
Wine Enthusiast - "One of Veuve Clicquot's library releases, this wine is now wonderfully mature with layer upon layer of toast, spice, roasted almonds and roundness. As it has developed, it has also grown so rich that it is much closer to Burgundy than Champagne. The acidity of Champagne and that lift in the mouth show its true origins. "
Wine & Spirits - "Twenty years in bottle have been gentle to this wine, maturing the color to transparent gold and the flavors to dark tones of honey, baked apples and cardamom spice. Lively acidity keeps it firm and completely dry, ending on scents of fresh almonds, limestone and white tea. It's complex and heady, the fine bubbles giving a sparkling clean impression and a sense that there's plenty of time ahead."
Wine Spectator - "This elegant, complex Champagne has a mature bouquet of smoke, dried red fruits, lemon and spice flavors set in relief by the bracing structure. Well-integrated and intense, with a lingering finish of roasted walnut, citrus and wood smoke. Drink now through 2018. "
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Veuve Clicquot Winery
The House was founded by Philippe Clicquot in 1772. Since its inception, Veuve Clicquot has been a specialist in Champagnes based on Pinot Noir, especially Rosé. In 1803, François Clicquot was married to Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin. Madame Clicquot was widowed just two years later. Veuve Clicquot (Veuve means widow in French) took over her husband's business. In 1810, the house took the name Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. The way that she ran her company, from risky overseas ventures to startling technological innovations, changed Champagne forever. Her motto is still the guiding principle of our company – "Only one quality – the finest."
In 1816, Mme. Clicquot invented the process, called rémuage or riddling, that removes the yeast from the bottle. She used holes cut in her kitchen table to perfect the method of slowly tilting and turning the bottles to gather the spent yeast in the neck of the bottle. Once settled it could be removed by freezing the neck in a brine of salt and water, removing it, and recorking.
The company was taken public in 1963, and merged with Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey in 1986. Today, Jacques Peters is the chief winemaker at Veuve Clicquot, and was appointed cellar master in 1985. He has undertaken an ambitious program since this time to upgrade the grape sources, improve the vineyards, and improve the cellars and production facilities. View all Veuve Clicquot Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.