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Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin ( ) is both a champagne house in Reimsmarker, Francemarker, and a brand of premium Champagne. Founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, Veuve Clicquot played an important role in establishing champagne as a favored drink of haute bourgeoisie and nobility throughout Europe. The 1811 comet vintage of Veuve Clicquot is theorized to have been the first truly "modern" Champagne due to the advancements in the méthode champenoise which Veuve Clicquot pioneered through the technique of remuage.

History

Portrait of Madame Clicquot and her great-granddaughter Anne de Mortemart-Rochechouart.


In 1772, Philippe Clicquot-Muiron established the original enterprise which in time became the house of Veuve Clicquot. His son, François Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1798. Clicquot died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in French) in control of a company variously involved in banking, wool trading, and Champagne production. Under Madame Clicquot's guidance the firm focused entirely on the latter, to great success.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Madame Clicquot made strides in establishing her wine in royal courts throughout Europe, notably that of Imperial Russiamarker. By the time she died in 1866 Veuve Clicquot had become both a substantial Champagne house and a respected brand. Easily recognised by its distinctive bright yellow labels, the wine is roughly pronounced "vuuhv klee-koh". It holds a royal warrant of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Since 1987 the Veuve Clicquot company has been part of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy group of luxury brands, and today owns a controlling interest in New Zealand'smarker Cloudy Bay Vineyards.

Modernization of Champagne production

Madame Clicquot is credited with a great breakthrough in champagne handling that made mass production of the wine possible. In the early 19th century, with the assistance of her cellar master, Antoine de Müller, Clicquot invented the riddling rack that made the crucial process of dégorgement both more efficient and economic. Clicquot's advance involved systematically collecting the spent yeast and sediments left from the wine's first (or primary) fermentation in the bottle's neck by using a specialized rack.

Composed much like a wooden desk with circular holes, the rack allowed a bottle of wine to be stuck sur point or upside down. Every day a cellar assistant would gently shake and twist (remuage) the bottle to encourage wine solids to settle to the bottom. When this was completed. the cork was carefully removed, the sediments ejected, and a small replacement dose of sweetened wine added to encourage the secondary fermentation that gives Champagne its distinctive bubbles.

Oldest bottle

In July 2008 the oldest unopened bottle of Veuve Clicquot was discovered inside a sideboard in Torosay Castlemarker, Isle of Mullmarker, Scotlandmarker. The 1893 bottle was in mint condition, having been kept in the dark. It is now on display at the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin visitor centre in Reimsmarker, Francemarker and is regarded as priceless.

See also



Notes

  1. G. Harding "A Wine Miscellany" pg 45-47, Clarkson Potter Publishing, New York 2005 ISBN 0307346358
  2. H. Johnson Vintage: The Story of Wine pg 337 Simon and Schuster 1989 ISBN 0671687026
  3. Don and Petie Kladstrup, Champagne: How the World’s Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times (New York: William Morrow, 2005), p. 77. ISBN 0060737921.
  4. Don and Petie Kladstrup, Champagne, p. 78.
  5. Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, The World Atlas of Wine, 5th ed. (London: Mitchell Beazley, 2001), pg 79. ISBN 1840003324.
  6. Priceless champagne discovered


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