HOUSTON – POP… FIZZ… CLINK!
It’s Thirsty Thursday!
Do you have your bubbles ready?
We’re talking all things Veuve Cliquot. It’s an unmistakable yellow label and one of the most well-known champagnes on the market.
Veuve Clicquot has truly paved the way for many labels that have come after its time.
It seems only fitting to dive into the history of the prestigious champagne and find out who it owes its name and reputation to.
Senior brand education manager with Moët Hennessy, Rich Buchanan shares the winemaking philosophy and its history.
10 FACTS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT VEUVE CLICQUOT
1772: FOUNDATION OF THE CLICQUOT HOUSE
Philippe Clicquot, from a family of bankers and textile merchants, already owns vineyards and decides to establish a wine business.
1805: MADAME CLICQUOT TAKES OVER THE BUSINESS
“Veuve Clicquot” translates to “Widow Clicquot”. When François Clicquot, the founder’s son, dies, his widow is 27. It takes her only a few weeks to come to a decision. She becomes one of the first businesswomen of modern times.
1810: CREATION OF THE FIRST VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE
Madame Clicquot proves her innovative spirit by creating the first vintage wine in champagne.
1816: INVENTION OF THE RIDDLING TABLE
Madame Clicquot invents the first riddling table, which guarantees a crystal-clear wine. This process continues to be used today. Madame Clicquot becomes known to her peers as “La Grande Dame” of Champagne.
1818: CREATION OF THE FIRST “ROSÉ D’ASSEMBLAGE”
Breaking away from the tradition of adding an elderberry-based preparation to create rosé champagne. Madame Clicquot creates the first "rosé d'assemblage" by blending some of her Bouzy red wines with her champagne.
1877: REGISTRATION OF THE FIRST YELLOW LABEL TRADEMARK
The house continues to innovate by dressing its bottles in a yellow label, an unusual color for the time. The Yellow label trademark is registered on 12 February 1877. Customers demand this distinctive, original label, which was to become one of the main distinguishing features of bottles produced by the House.
1909: ACQUISITION OF THE CRAYÈRES
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin implements new techniques and improves its wines yet again with the important oenological discoveries of the times. It extends its industrial heritage, setting up home on the outskirts of Reims in 482 crayères (chalk cellars), former quarries, where the visitors’ centre and production site are now located.
1972: CREATION OF LA GRANDE DAME AND BUSINESS WOMAN AWARD
To mark its 200th anniversary, the House launches its prestigious vintage cuvee La Grande Dame and creates the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award, a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of Madame Clicquot.
1986: LOUIS VUITTON ACQUIRES VEUVE CLICQUOT
LVMH (Moët-Hennessy - Louis Vuitton) is founded the following year.
2004: LAUNCH OF THE VEUVE CLICQUOT ROSÉ
Launched in Japan during the cherry blossom season, Veuve Clicquot Rosé, the house’s non-vintage Rosé, is so successful that the rest of the world has to wait until 2006 before the house can supply the remainder of the Cuvée.
1. VEUVE CLICQUOT YELLOW LABEL BRUT CHAMPAGNE
“It is delicious! We’ve been sipping it here and there throughout today’s show.” - Derrick
First, Yellow Label looks beautiful: golden-yellow, with a foaming necklace of tiny bubbles. Next, it is so pleasing to the nose: initially reminiscent of yellow and white fruits, then of vanilla and later of brioche.
Grapes from as many as 50 to 60 different Crus go to the blending of Yellow Label. Traditionally, the proportion of each grape variety used is 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Meunier and 28 to 33% Chardonnay.
Salmon, blinis, fish tartars, pasta, parmigiano, seafood, crackers
2. VEUVE CLICQUOT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE
“Quite honestly, I will eat this with m&m’s and popcorn, I’m going to be totally honest with you! But food pairings, you’re saying anything from tuna to beef, I mean this is going to go with everything.” - Courtney
The wine has a luminous color with attractive pink glints. The nose is generous and elegant, with initial aromas of fresh red fruits (raspberry, wild strawberry, cherry, blackberry) leading to biscuity notes (almonds, apricots and brioche).
Made using 50 to 60 different crus, the cuvée is based on Yellow Label's traditional blend, 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20 % Meunier, 28 to 33 % Chardonnay
Tuna, beef carpaccio, duck, red fruits, tomatoes
3. VEUVE CLICQUOT LA GRANDE DAME 2008
“The nice little champagne flutes that we normally have are very tight and you miss a lot of the aromas. For a wine like this that has very intense aromas, you want a white wine glass, or we use a glass like this, that really lets the wine open up and then it focuses it back up towards your nose.” - Rich
The initial nose reveals a strong attack, both aerial and delicate. Upon being released it presents notes of dried fruits (almonds, figs, apricots), ripe white fruits (pears), and finally, subtle toasted notes of hazelnut and praline.
La Grande Dame 2008 is an exclusive blend of 6 of the House’s 8 historical Grands Crus. The cuvée is made of 92% Pinot Noir (Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy, Verzenay) and 8% Chardonnay (Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger).
Oysters, fish tartare, seafood and chicken
Rich has been a part of the champagne industry for nearly two decades. Get to know him a little better:
ABOUT RICH BUCHANAN
- An 18-year veteran in the champagne industry
- Works as a brand educator with Moët Hennessy
- Spends his time traveling North America speaking about champagne as well as visiting vineyards and cellars
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We’ll see you back for another Wine Club Wednesday on September 2nd.