Veuve Clicquot Champagne

Arguably, the most recognisable Champagne brand in the world. The Yellow adorned on their labels – looks orange but is in fact the colour of the great Madame Clicquots’ favourite duck’s yolk. An established and major segment of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Stable, Monsieur Dominique Demarville, is only the 10th Cellar Master in 240 years at the great house.

The non-vintage Veuve Clicquot has been a dinner party staple for many a year and brings with it an approachable style that has a dominance of Pinot Noir and Meunier with a large proportion of reserve wines.

Look out for the non-vintage Rosé which is identical in production to its NV brother but with the addition of 12% Red wine from some of the best Grand Cru sites; Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy & Verzenay. The Rosé has been flying under the radar for too long and deserves your attention.

What's so special about Veuve Clicquot champagne?

Veuve Clicquot is one of the most established champagne brands in Australia, with a long history and immense popularity. The history of this champagne in Australia is remarkable, but the story of what makes it so special begins much earlier.

This champagne business, in many ways the progenitor of all champagne houses that employ the méthode classique in their manufacturing process, was established by Philippe Clicquot in 1772. Although he made money from the business, it was more of a hobby, being run as a side operation to his main business of textile making. Nonetheless, the brand of Clicquot Champagne had been established.

It was his connection to the textile industry that ensured the success of the champagne brand, through a strange twist of fate. Philippe's main competitor in the textile business was Nicolas Ponsardin.

To put an end to their business rivalry, they decided to form an alliance, and the usual way to do this in those days was through an arranged marriage (not to each other, but Philippe's son, François, and Nicolas's daughter, Barbe-Nicole).

Just a month after the marriage, François was promoted to become a partner in the business and was so successful in improving sales of the champagne that the textile business that had previously been so important was abandoned altogether in 1804.

The next year, François died of illness when he was only 30 years of age. This left his portion of the business in the hands of his widow ("veuve" in French), and she became the real driving force of the company thereafter. This is why the full name of the brand is Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

Unlike the majority of her rivals, the widow was astute enough to realize that France was awash with champagne while the rest of the world thirsted for it. Thus the business became primarily a champagne export business. This was no easy feat, as France was at war at the time, and there were naval blockades and trade embargoes to contend with.

Everything hinged on a secret plot to smuggle champagne into Russia – a plot that also required France to lose the war. Fortunately for Madame Clicquot, and rather less fortunately for Napoleon, the war was lost and the success of Veuve Clicquot (both the champagne and its namesake) was assured forevermore.

What makes Veuve Clicquot champagne so special is that unlike most of the other brands, it required absolute dedication and a huge struggle against the odds to achieve the success that it so thoroughly deserved. It was primarily through these efforts that champagne became a drink synonymous with celebration throughout the world.

So next time you raise a glass of champagne, whatever the brand may be, consider a toast to the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, the lady who literally put champagne on the map.

The distinctive Vueve Yellow Label

Veuve Clicquot makes different varieties of champagne to suit different purposes and tastes. The famous Yellow Label is used to signify that the contents of a bottle are in the style of Veuve Clicquot Brut, so as to make it easier to distinguish it from the other champagne styles of Veuve champagne.

In earlier times, this was very important. The standard of Veuve Clicquot champagne was to make all the champagnes extra sweet, with sugar contents far in excess of what we use today. In part this was because the original Clicquot style was based on a very high dosage, and then Madame Clicquot upped the dosage to suit the tastes of the Russians she was bootlegging her champagne to (against the trade restrictions of both Russia and France).

By circumventing the rules, this shrewd businesswoman managed to score a great triumph, getting her foot in the door in Russia just as the war was winding up, and before any other French exporters could get a chance. It was illegal and very risky, but the gamble paid off. It took the Cliquot label from the verge of bankruptcy and made it into an empire that still stands today.

Times change, however, and Russia was soon not the only market for Veuve Clicquot. The other former enemy of France was England, but there was a huge difference between taste preferences for the English in comparison to the Russians. Overly sweet champagne was really not very tempting to this new market. The solution was to create the Yellow Label, a Brut champagne, which some may still consider a little sweeter than the average Brut, but vastly less sweet than the original.

Over time, the other champagnes in the range also had some of the sweetness dialled down. By today's standards, the original formula would be considered outlandish. Today, you will find Veuve Clicquot is far more refined and sophisticated, but it is also a champagne that has a depth and intensity that may not be present in some of its rivals.

Perhaps the biggest rival to the regular Veuve Clicquot champagne is the Yellow Label, and if you like a more crisp and dry style, a glass of decently chilled Veuve Yellow Label will certainly not disappoint.

Add a splash of colour with Veuve Clicquot Rosé

Speaking of competitors, another cheeky little number that's vying for attention is Veuve Clicquot's own version of Rosé. Just a dash of red that pushes the profile into new territory. It gives the champagne a delicious blush, but there's nothing shy about this champagne. It's bold and sassy, so don't be blind-sided into thinking it will be gentle with you.

Given the respect it deserves, this Rosé champagne can be very rewarding. It has all the dazzling effervescence of other champagnes in the range, and a tight dramatic bead that creates a pleasant tingle on the tongue. Aromatically it is complex, with a toasty citrus eventually giving way to a languid suggestion of fresh strawberries and just a tiny hint of passion fruit. The taste is a little sweeter than you may expect, but it's not overpowering.

Have your Veuve Clicquot champagne delivered right to your door

Who has time for shopping these days? Emperor Champagne is a champagne distributor with a difference. We're making it easy to find all your favourite high-quality champagnes delivered directly to you anywhere in Australia or even New Zealand. You can order online, and you can also subscribe to our champagne club. This will get you excellent champagnes and glassware delivered to you regularly. Whatever you decide, you can't really go wrong, because we're highly selective about the products we stock.

If you're longing to try Veuve Clicquot just to see for yourself why it's considered so special, we say go for it. But don't let Madame Clicquot seduce you too easily. There are many other great champagnes in our collection waiting for you to try them.

It's never a bad idea to choose a popular style to begin your champagne adventures with, and there are few that could lay claim to the level of popularity enjoyed by Veuve Clicquot. With the experience of Veuve behind you, you'll have something to benchmark all the other champagnes against. Don't be surprised if you find Veuve Clicquot difficult to beat. It has hundreds of years of winning history behind it.




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