Veuve Clicquot, or more properly Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, is a major Champagne house located in Rheims. It was established in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, and then run by his son until his death. His widow, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin then ran it fabulous well, greatly improving the quality.
"Veuve" actually means widow in French. She appears as a slightly scary matronly lady in pictures, but scientists with too much time on their hands have determined that she was actually one scorching hot chick in her time.
Veuve Champagnes are all high in Pinot Noir, and full bodied. They're rich, smooth, and powerful. They make several types of Champagne. We'll first look at the Non Vintage (NV) wines:
Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label (which actually has an orange label), is there best known and the second best selling Champagne in the USA. It's fashionable among Champagne Geeks to bash it and claim that it isn't as good as it used to be and worse, but it's not a bad easy drinking Champagne for US$40-$45.
Veuve Clicquot Rose and Vintage Rosé Reserve - Rose Champagnes, well regarded, although I've not drank them enough to form a really solid opinion. I'll need another case or two please!
And next the vintage wines:
Veuve Clicquot Rare - These are recently disgorged wines, both regular and Rose. These are very rich wines with tastes candied fruits and orange peels. Not for everyone, for example my niece Alex, silly girl that she is, will get none of this! Interesting and wonderful wines for the Champagne aficionado.
Veuve Clicquot Gold Label Reserve (Vintage) - Basically the vintage variety of the Yellow Label, and a massive step up in quality. I'd say close to the kick ass Grande Dame (below) for quite a few less bucks.
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame - Their prestige or luxury cuvee, and a simply wonderful wine! Very elegant and refined but extremely powerful. I love this stuff, but prefer it on the slightly younger side for a luxery cuvee. For example, I've almost finished my 1990s now. It ages well but I prefer it 10-20 years after the vintage year when I find it more powerful and with more "umph."
There is also a Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rose, which is perhaps the best Rose Champagne I've ever had. It's true to the Veuve Clicquot style, and I've had in unfortunately but twice - see below. Considering it's hefty pricetag, US$200+, that's perhaps not surprising.
Tasting Note: La Grande Dame Rose 1998, Dec 6, 2011
As part of the first flight at Blanchards Holiday Wine Tasting, Dec 6, 2011 in Allston, Mass.
At 13-14 years old this is still quite young and the win did evolve in the glass significantly. At first my notes read "awesome but needs food" and after a while change to "this totally rocks on its own!"
The color is a deep copper and caramel with pink tones. Perhaps slightly pinker than the picture shows, but that depends on the lighting (and your monitor).
The nose is high toned with spicy nuts, some sweat, nut skins, and fruits like strawberry.
On the palate, big and mouth filling, massive, great and sweet enough to be perfectly balanced. So amazingly complete and harmonious.
When the formal tasting ended, I immediately poured myself a big glass of Dom Perignon Rose 1998 and then another glass of La Grande Dame Rose 1998. Although both fantastic wines, I do prefer this Rose!