Veuve Clicquot Brut NV – Maison Veuve Clicquot.
Champagne is simply one of the elegant extras of life, as Charles Dickens once said. And we do totally agree! For this review we tasted the Veuve Clicquot Brut, by Maison Veuve Clicquot, with the typical yellow label.
About the Region
Reims, Champagne capital of the world forms the heart of the Champagne region. Located in the Northern part of Champagne it forms a golden triangle with Epernay and Châlon-sur-Champagne. A few of the region’s Grand Cru vineyards can be found on the Montagne de Reims, bordering the city.
Reims is an old historic city, with a lot of highlights such as the Notre Dame Cathedral which is over 800 years old and not to be confused with the one in Paris. The city has been on the UNESCO heritage list since 2015. A lot of famous Champagne houses are located in Reims with their winery and cellar. About 250 kilometers of cellars were dug out under the city, housing more then 300 million bottles of Champagne.
The Champagne region covers over 90.000 hectares of vineyards, and like many wine regions there is a committee that prescribes and guards the rules for those who want to produce Champagne wines.
Some of the rules that apply to the grape growers and winemakers:
- Grape growers are not allowed to produce more than 10400 kg grapes per hectare, which is the highest yield in France.
- Only 7 grapes are allowed to grow there and use in Champagne; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the most famous three, accompanied by some minorities: Pinot Blanc, Arbane, Pinot Gris and Petit Meslier.
- Harvest must be done by hand. A small army of over a thousand volunteers is needed every harvest to do the job.
About the Winery
Maison Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is the biggest Champagne producer in France after Moët & Chandon. The ‘Maison’ became famous because of Nicole-Barbe Clicquot-Ponsardin, the widow of the founder’s son François Clicquot. After Philip founded the Maison and his son took over, he passed away at a young age and then Nicole made it her mission to make the house famous and well-known around the world. Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame’ was a special Grand Cru Champagne made in 1972 at the 200 years anniversary of the Maison to honor Nicole and everything she had done for the Maison.
Veuve was founded in 1772, and is located in Reims. Veuve uses grapes from 50 different Cru vineyards for their yellow label Brut. The son of founder Philip, François took over the winery, when he passed away at age 27, in 1805, his widow Nicole took over the company as mentioned. She dared to take some big risks and came up with some smart marketing tricks to sell their Champagne. In no time she was leading the Russian market for sales. Not long after she also started exporting to the United States. Nicole-Barbe Clicquot-Ponsardin became world famous and was known as the Grand Dame de Champagne.
Their famous yellow label was introduced in 1877, and pretty new to the Champagne region. Veuve was considered modern and trendy and really made a statement with their yellow label. Their Rosé Champagne was introduced in 1818, and they started making vintage Champagne from 1910. In 1986 the company became a part of the LVMH-company, Louis Vuitton Moët-Hennessy.
Veuve Clicquot is a very big winery, they own 286 hectares of grapes and buy another 75% (their own 286 hectares is just enough for 25% of their production). Veuve Clicquot is a typical Pinot Noir-house, giving the Champagne its specific taste. They keep a stunning 35 million bottles of Champagne “sur lat” in their cellars, and sell around 10 million bottles every year.
About the Wine
We have tasted the Brut from Veuve Clicquot. The wine is made of 50-55% Pinot Noir, 15-20% Pinot Meunier and the rest (around 30%) is Chardonnay. It is a non-vintage wine, allowing the winemaker to create the same flavor profile every year by blending different vintages in the Champagne.
When we open the bottle, we can smell the Champagne right away. We like serving the Champagne around 9/10 degrees Celsius, to assure all the aromas open up. In the nose we smell delicate flowers, stone fruit such as peach and apricot, but also a hint of vanilla and brioche. Having a very fine and delicate mousse in the glass, looking golden yellow.
When we taste the Champagne, it starts off very fruity. A lot of yellow fruit in the smell and taste such as peach, apricot, ripe apple, plum and a bit of grapefruit. It is mouth filling and complex, bringing a brilliant balance between fruitiness, complexity and some heavy vanilla tones in the end. A bit of power and wild strawberry in the aftertaste, some nutty flavors and a slightly yeasty hint with some white pepper.
Well-made and certainly also good for storing a few more years, especially remarkable for a non-vintage Champagne. After tasting this glass, we can definitely understand why the French have Champagne for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We award this high standard best seller with a 92 point DWA score.
This review is written by our own Martijn Coenen. This Veuve Clicquot Brut and other wines by Veuve Clicquot are available through Bovino.
Taste date: June 2023
Score: 92/100 DWA Score
Website: Veuve Clicquot