Veuve Clicquot is credited with major breakthroughs, including the first known vintage Champagne in 1810, inventing the riddling-table process to clarify Champagne in 1816, and producing the first known blended rosé Champagne in 1818 by blending still red and white Champagne. Additionally, it is said to be the first house to use a minimalist white front label in 1850 – eventually leading to its famous yellow label, which was officially trademarked in 1877.
Purchased in 1986 by Louis Vuitton (now part of the LVMH group, formed in 1987), Veuve Clicquot is renowned for championing the qualities of Pinot Noir grapes, particularly in their vintage cuvées, such as this year’s eagerly anticipated La Grande Dame Prestige Cuvée 2008.
The 2008 vintage is a blend of 92% Pinot Noir – with grapes sourced from Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy and Verzenay – and 8% Chardonnay from Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger. It is the first Grande Dame expression to be overseen by chef de cave Dominique Demarville, who joined the house in 2009 but is to be replaced by Didier Mariotti as the company’s new cellar master and wine director in January 2020.
The past few years have seen two new releases from Veuve, including the launch of Rich in 2015 – a blanc and a rosé Champagne collection – created in collaboration with professional mixologists to offer a higher-dosage wine to the market perfect for mixing into cocktails. There is also the house’s first ultra-dry Champagne, the non- vintage Extra Brut Extra Old cuvée, which has a low-sugar dosage and is double-aged and blended exclusively from the house’s famous collection of reserve wines, in particular the 1988, 1996, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages.
Sparkling Wine Producer is sponsored by Vinimpo, an entrepreneurial wine agency house that acts as the UK office for individual family-owned producers from across Europe.