The Veuve Clicquot winery – how it all began
Clicquot was founded in Reims in 1772. The brand became "Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin" after the owner's young widow took over the management in 1805. We have her, or rather her employees, to thank for the riddling table, a device indispensable for champagne production – of which a few ancient examples can still be found in the impressive chalk cellars of the house in Reims. The widow was also the first to bottle vintage champagne, in 1811 – a development that can also be credited to her. The early death of her husband led the young woman to surpass herself: she took over the family business on her own. Just 27 years old at the time, she valued quality above all else – and accordingly she made no compromises when it came to Veuve Clicquot. Little by little she conquered connoisseurs' hearts with her champagnes. All her successors over the years, as well as the winemakers at Veuve Clicquot, valued her attitude – and this is how the quality and success of the Veuve Clicquot winery has been maintained to this day.
Veuve Clicquot is the second-largest champagne house in Champagne after Moët & Chandon, with over 500 hectares of its own vineyards – but these don't yield enough grapes to meet its needs, so like all champagne houses, Veuve Clicquot also buys in base wines and grapes from the best Champagne vineyards.
What makes Veuve Clicquot champagne so special?
Champagnes from the Veuve Clicquot vineyard cultivate a strong, fruity and juicy style. The blends are dominated by red varieties (Pinot noir
, Pinot Meunier). Champagne is blended by the Veuve Clicquot winemakers using white base wines from these two red varieties and white Chardonnay.
The brand's most important cuvée is "Brut Carte Jaune", with the characteristic orange-yellow label. Non-vintage "Brut" is also available as a full-bodied pink. Bottles of both pink and brut are labelled with the vintage year. The brand's top cuvée – the cellar-aged "Grande Dame", named in homage to the founder – is as luxurious as it is excellent.
The symbols of the Veuve Clicquot winery In 1798 Philippe Clicquot, the founder of the house, chose an anchor – a symbol of hope in Christianity – as the design for its embossed cork. This was at a time when it was the embossed design of the cork, not the label, that was the trademark of both the bottle and the brand. When the widow Clicquot took over the champagne house, she kept the symbol.
Veuve Clicquot appears to have been under a lucky star from the very beginning, and in 1811 something extraordinary happened: a comet was seen over the Champagne region. Many winemakers saw this as an unmistakable sign of an outstanding wine harvest. Madame Clicquot used the grapes from this harvest to produce a wine that made her and her winery famous beyond France – the "Vin de la Comète". From then on, the reputation of the Veuve Clicquot winery preceded its products far and wide. The comet symbol persists, watching over the estate to this day.
The colour yellow also has an important part to play in Veuve Clicquot's labels. It became customary to label champagne bottles in the 1860s. Veuve Clicquot first began to put a yellow label on its Cuvée Dry, and before long customers and representatives insisted on bottles with the "Yellow Label".