Only the oldest and finest champagne brands can stand up to Veuve Clicquot.
This article will take you through the history of the company, as well as the most important details about their champagne, including its production, the quality of its grapes and where they grow, and the most important production years.
We’ll also discuss some of their finest champagnes, highlighting the differences in flavor and bouquet.
Veuve Clicquot Historical Impact, Women, Luxury, and Innovation
In 1772, Philippe Clicquot founded Veuve Clicquot as a side business resulting from Philippe’s existing vineyards.
Philippe’s son, Francois Clicquot eventually took over the business; however, Francois was destined for an early death, leaving behind a 27-year-old widow, Madame Clicquot.
Madame Clicquot continued her husband’s business and remains a guiding light for the Champagne house today. In 1810, she revolutionized champagne by producing the first vintage champagne. Prior to Madam Clicquot’s innovation, all champagnes resulted from various blended sparkling wines. After Madam Clicquot’s invention, however, vintage wines of all types used only a single year’s production of grapes.
In 1816, Madame Clicquot invented the riddling table, which allowed champagne producers to create crystal clear champagne in a process still used today.
She also created the champagne rosé.
In 1972, the company honored Madame Clicquot’s legacy with the creation of the La Grande Dame and Businesswomen award.
They were then acquired in 1986 by Louis Vuitton. The LVMH group, the largest coalition of luxury brands, formed the very next year.
Detail Makes the Champagne
Today, 55% of the vineyards under Veuve Clicquot’s ownership are Grand Cru, with 40% considered Premier Cru.
Their champagnes are typically a combination of the three main Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. To prevent the flavors from oxidizing early or the grapes themselves from drying out in transit, their grapes remain intact until they reside in fermentation vats,
The Carte Jaune (yellow label) is Veuve Clicquot’s most popular variety, and it comes in an iconic bottle which is easily recognized across a room.
2008 is a recent vintage, but Veuve Clicquot enjoyed a particularly fine growing season, resulting in a good year for champagne production.
2004 and 1990 also present particularly good years for Veuve Clicquot.
In Fine Company, Comparing Veuve Clicquot Champagnes
Of course, the individual champagnes all offer something a little different, so it’s important to know what to expect from each bottle.
Brut Yellow Label
Brut Yellow Label can be counted on for rich, plump flavor with a firm body and smooth texture.
It is a beautiful champagne in a bright straw yellow with fine bubbles.
As a relatively dry champagne, it offers notes of bright apple and strawberry with grapefruit finish and notes of toasted brioche and cream in the middle. Beautifully layered, the acidity of this champagne keeps the flavor fresh and clean without bitterness.
By blending red wines in with the more traditional sparkling whites, Madame Clicquot famously created the first of what we classically consider rosé champagne. The rosé champagne is blended with as many as 50 to 60 different crus to create a consistent layered flavor that hits all the right notes.
The brilliant red color of this champagne announces it’s predominant flavors early, as they are the summery rich red fruits, particularly strawberry, that shine in this blend. It comes with hints of pastries and bread that round out the flavor, while the fruity notes give a pleasant lingering finish.
Best paired with rich proteins like tuna and duck, the rosé is a wonderful dinner champagne.
The Demi Sec is a lovely medium-bodied champagne, beautifully fruity at first sip, but revealing complex layers and rich flavor.
The first note is a delightfully bright peach note, ever so slightly flowery as if it were the blossom of the peach as much as the fruit itself. This parts to make room for caramel, honeysuckle, and baked pear, finishing with the pleasant acidity of grapefruit.
While the flavors sound overly sweet, the Demi Sec is just acidic enough to leave the familiar fresh feeling and silky texture of the best champagnes.
La Grande Dame
This is a dry champagne, lightly floral with fruity flavors that primarily draw from citrus fruits. However, the hints of almond under the citrus smooth out the flavor with the necessary depth to leave a smooth fresh finish.
Lighter hints of apple and apricot contribute to the depth of body in this champagne, truly making it worthy of Madame Clicquot.
Veuve Clicquot has a wide price range for their champagnes. Since prices vary year to year based on the condition of the crop, the demand for a particular champagne, and the increasing rarity of older vintages, this guide is a rough estimate of price point.
Their most popular bottle, the Brut Yellow Label is in the $50-60 range. Their rosés start at $60 for a recent bottling, but they can go as high as $70 for recent bottles. Most of their other recent champagnes are in a similar price range.