Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1999
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Learn about Veuve Clicquot, the history of the brand, its innovative winemaking techniques, and its signature Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne.
History of Veuve Clicquot
Veuve Clicquot, now one of the largest Champagne Houses, was founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot under the label "Clicquot". After establishing the brand throughout Europe, Russia and the United States, Philippe was joined by his son, François Clicquot, at the head of the House in 1798. Seven years later, following his untimely death, François’ young widow, Barbe Ponsardin, took over the family business at just 27 years old. The House would subsequently be renamed in her honor: ‘Veuve Clicquot’ means ‘The Widow Clicquot.’
Innovating Champagne Production
Over the course of her lifetime, Madame Clicquot (Barbe Ponsardin), developed three of the most important innovations in Champagne that are still practiced today. First, in 1810 Veuve Clicquot produced the first vintage wine in Champagne, which otherwise produced non-vintage blends. Second, in 1816 Madame Clicquot invented the riddling table to clarify Veuve Clicquot champagne, and by doing so, she improved both the quality and finesse of the wines. Riddling is now fundamental to ‘La Methode Traditionelle’ (the traditional Champagne production method) and is emulated around the world. Finally, in 1818 Madame Clicquot created the first rose champagne made through ‘assemblage’, a method where white wines are blended with red wines.
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut
The distinctive, 90+ rated, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut has been in production since 1877. It is distinguished by the dominance of Pinot Noir in its blend, which gives strength, complexity and elegance to the champagne.
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame
The name La Grande Dame has been inspired by Madame Clicquot's nickname: La Grande Dame de la Champagne. 1972, the year Veuve Clicquot launched its first prestige cuvée to celebrate the bicentenary of the House. La Grande Dame respects Madame Clicquot's vision of Pinot Noir, which is about 90% since 2008, using mostly historical Grands Crus from their terroir.
Veuve Clicquot Pronunciation:
vœv kliko / vuhv klee-koh
100% of Veuve Clicquot vineyards use sustainable viticulture.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.