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In Sweden, no Champagne is as well known as the “Gula Änkan,” the Yellow Widow. The house was founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot.

His son, François, married Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin, who took over the company at the age of twenty-seven when she found herself a widow. By her side was Comte Edouard Werlé and the firm’s chef de caves, Antoine Müller. Together with Müller she developed “remuage” using “pupitres.” One Heinrich Bohne then helped to take the Russian market by storm. Throughout the nineteenth century and right up to the 1970s, Clicquot was reckoned as one of the top four or five Champagne companies, a position they still are very close to obtain. At first the company merged with Canard-Duchêne, but today it is a part of the powerful Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) group.

The 284 hectares owned by Clicquot in twenty-two villages are enough for around three of the almost 18 million bottles produced each year. The most important crus for La Grande Dame and the vintage wine are Ambonnay, Bouzy, Avize, Cramant, Le Mesnil, Oger, and Verzenay.

Since 1962 modern vinification techniques and stainless-steel tanks have been used. If you find old, well-kept vintages they’ll be very like Bollinger and Krug. Despite the factory scale, the house has managed to keep its Pinot-based classic style, where dough, bread, and pepper are clear elements. Jacques Peters, who is brother to François Peters in Le Mesnil and an equally gifted winemaker, should get the credit for Clicquot’s quality today.

The talented new winemaker Dominique Demarville follows smothly in the same tracks. The rich and honeyed La Grande Dame is a wonderful champagne, but the powerfull and nutty vintage wine often gives best value for money. Cave Privée is probably the best bargain on the market. A classic house that is one of the greatest!

2004-1998-1996

1995-1993-1990

1989-1988-1985

1979-1978-1976

1975-1966-1962

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Les autres

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mv Veuve Clicquot ’Cuvée 1772 – 1972′ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | importör: MoëtHennesy Sweden 67PN 33CH | RJ 94(95)

TASTING NOTE ‘A jubileum cuvée de prestige with classical Clicquot tones and a bright yellow label. A base wine from the sixties and superb freshness plus house style smelling of New Year.’

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1995 Veuve Clicquot ’Millésime’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | importör: MoëtHennesy Sweden 67PN 33CH | RJ 89(92)

TASTING NOTE ‘A totally brilliant wine, already with tons of sublime charm and enormous potential. The fruit is rich and balanced with a fantastically creamy mousse. Enviable length and a classic nascent biscuity nuttiness.’

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1990 Veuve Clicquot ’Millésime’Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | importör: MoëtHennesy Sweden | 56PN 11PM 33CH | RJ 94(94)

TASTING NOTE ‘For a long time a stylish little thing. Today usually slightly overripe with light oxidative tension, Danish pastries (!) Immense richness and variety of duck liver aroma. But right now really well balanced and a really beautiful bottle.’

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1983 Veuve Clicquot ’Millésime’ Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | importör: MoëtHennesy Sweden | 62PN 5PM 33CH | RJ 92(92)

TASTING NOTE ‘Perhaps not really as perfect as Rare Vintage, but an opulent and very impressive wine in which the feeling of age is palpable, but in a luxuriant, essence-like manner. Crispily compact and quite tranquil.’

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1988 Veuve Clicquot ’Rare’  Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | importör: MoëtHennesy Sweden | 56PN 11PM 33CH | RJ 95(95)

TASTING NOTE ‘he bottles that have acquired even more yeast tones and been aged even more slowly in Clicquot’s cellar are if possible even more brilliant than the ordinary variety. One of my most drunk and most enjoyed gems from my own cellar. A wine to feel at home in! A kind of basic wine to use always as one’s point of departure, and one that I am going to cry floods over when I have emptied my cellar of it.’

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1976 Veuve Clicquot ’Millésime’ Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | importör: MoëtHennesy Sweden | 67PN 33CH | RJ 94(96)

TASTING NOTE ‘What a bright wine! Slightly deeper than the ’90! Freshly baked bread, gunpowder and flint! Comtes de Champagne-roasted! Great freshness!

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La Grande Dame

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2004 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | RJ 93(95)

 

TASTING NOTE ‘A leap straight from ’98! The same super-harmonious och easy-drinking style. Polished & beautifull. All thanks to an intensive fruit from Oger!’

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1998 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 64PN 36CH | RJ 94(95)

 

TASTING NOTE ‘A fantastic wine that enchants the bon viveur with its gorgeous panache of acacia, white chocolate and hazelnut essence, and its tropical passion fruit finish. Clicquot hesitated for a long time before I went in and convinced them that the wine was good enough to fly the cuvée de prestige flag. Its purity and straightforward charm are delightful.’

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1996 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 64PN 36CH RJ 94(96)

 

TASTING NOTE ‘A surprisingly tranquil, high-octane, elegant La Grande Dame that will probably develop into one of the greatest vintages of this wine ever made. The balance is extraordinary and the wine has a silky appearance, devoid of both sharp edges and an exaggeratedly chocolaty, muscular body. Hints of hazelnut and white chocolate are present, but for the moment handsome fruit and fine mineral notes from Oger and Le Mesnil dominate. A uniquely long aftertaste that should convince doubters that something big is happening here.’

 La Grande Dame tasting150418_0191-2

1995 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | RJ 93(93)

TASTING NOTE’ It’s difficult making a wine more enjoyable than this at the young age of six years. This wine stood out extremely clearly during a prestigious tasting with all the great houses’ most recent cuvées de prestige, in Paris in December 2001. There’s an unbeatable concentration and roundness that in young years sweeps the board with its competitors. The wine is packed with sweets and warm, exclusive richness. The viscosity and the fat, buttery style is so delicious that it’s impossible to intellectualize away the greatness of this wine. Let yourself be swept away!’

 La Grande Dame tasting150418_0193-2

1993 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | RJ 90(90)

TASTING NOTE ‘Sensational and luxuriant. What a rigorous grape selection Clicquot must have made: achieving such pressure in a Pinot-dominated ’93 is truly impressive. Fine notes of brioche and chocolate creams.’

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1990 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 61PN 39CH | RJ 93(95)

TASTING NOTE ‘The ’90s give a very soft and sweet impression. Experience shows that these wines, despite their immediate charm, have good potential. The strong scent of newly baked saffron bread is almost like a parody. There is also a fantastic attack and a rich, accelerating taste of exotic fruits, vanilla, and lemon chiffon pie. Honestly, I have missed the chocolate-flavored Champagne that went into the curvy bottle that was available until 1985. Peters and his eight-man-strong team have really put the pieces together. It’s a wonderful wine!’

1989 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | RJ 92(92)

TASTING NOTE ‘Developed chocolate notes and deep honey notes. Slightly richer than the ’88, but as good as the saffron scented & exotic ’90. Filled of generous fruit that is fully developed now. I raise my finger though for th sharp an not yet integrated acidity.’

 

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1988 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | RJ 95(95)

TASTING NOTE ‘The new bottle has also meant a change in style. The Champagne is now even more toasted and feels lighter, less majestic, but with a honeyed aftertaste. The wine is showing beautifully now, but appears to be completely mature already.’

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1985 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | BJ 95(95)

TASTING NOTE RJ never tasted. ‘Digestive bisquits! An emotionally beautiful wine! Ultra-rich vintage with notes of cep mushroom & honey.’

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1979 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | RJ 97(97)

TASTING NOTE ‘This rich, Pinot-dominated Champagne is a classic. At the age of eight, appley and fresh, elegant and long. At ten it had developed Bollinger-like richness and weight. Flowing with chocolate, honey, nuts, cheese, Champagne cellar and huge fruit of mature red apples. Very consistent through the years. A real diamond!’

 La Grande Dame tasting150418_0206-2

1978 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH | RJ 95(95)

TASTING NOTE ‘Clicquot succeeded in making an effusively rich, honey-scented, chocolate-laden La Grande Dame, even for this rather weak year. Probably the most ample Champagne I’ve come across from 1978.’

 La Grande Dame tasting150418_0205-2

1976 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH| RJ 95(95)

TASTING NOTE ‘Many years went by before I ran into this fantastic wine. This grandiose Champagne is still very fresh, light, and lively, with a colossal fruity richness and sweet concentration. You don’t have to be Einstein to notice the similarities to the lovely ’79, with its notes of exotic fruit, juicy red apples, honey, and white chocolate. The ’76 is less nutty and actually even more chracterized by French bakery and dark chocolate in the nose. In conclusion, you may describe the difference thus: the ’79 has more finesse and the ’76 is even more concentrated.’

 La Grande Dame tasting150418_0226-2

1975 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH| RJ 97(97)

TASTING NOTE ‘The wine of this vintage! Dark, but brilliant and full of vigor. What dimensions! The nose is of an entire bakery full of pastries: dark and light chocolate and nougat are all easily definable tones. Bigger, softer, fruitier, and longer than the famous 1975 Bollinger R. D.. Nougat de Montellimar!’

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1966 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH| RJ 93(93)

TASTING NOTE ‘Surprisingly fresh mousse. Slightly lighter than expected with a really dry finish. Nice note of coffee, apricots & nougat balanced with beautifully fine-tuned acidity.’

 La Grande Dame tasting150418_0230-2

1962 Veuve Clicquot ’La Grande Dame’ | Reims | Champagne | Frankrikeimportör: MoëtHennesy Sweden AB | 62PN 38CH| RJ 96(96)

 

TASTING NOTE ‘The first, and today very rare vintage of Clicquot’s prestige Champagne. Originally it was made as a strictly limited one-time thing. The first commercial vintage didn’t appear until 1969. My bottle was purchased in Italy and had been stored a tad too warmly. Despite the unkind treatment and the rushed development, this is still a fantastic Champagne. Barely discernible mousse in this amber-colored drink. The scent is mature, like a ’53, with notes of mint chocolate, resin, treacle, and butterscotch. A colleague of mine thought the scent reminded him of his old boathouse on days when the summer sun bakes its sides. I know exactly what he means. The wood scent is even in the taste, backed up by a decidedly sweet chocolate tone. Incredibly fat, with unlimited layers of taste.’

 

Some words of our La Grande Dame tasting  from our dear friend Martyn Zemavicius @ Clos & Cru in London.

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