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.
Learn More About Rosé
Some Champagne and sparkling wine is pink. It's more rare, and more robust, and sometimes more expensive. But
one of those wines that is just deliciously appealing. The pink color in a rosé sparkler comes from the skins –
means that the wine must include at least one of the red grapes of the traditional method –
Pinot Noir or Pinot
After pressing the grapes, the juice sustains contact with the skins for a while, and so acquires some color.
After this the wine is processed like other Champagne and sparkling wine. Depending on the length of time with the
a rosé sparkling wine can range from light salmon to deep pink. This style of wine is a perfect bubbly to last through
dinner and stand up to a nice filet.
Learn More About Champagne, France
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.