Barely needing any form of introduction, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is one of the most popular and well-known champagne houses anywhere. They’re probably known on the other side of the galaxy!
The Reims based house can be simply referred to as “Veuve” and people will know what you are talking about, despite Champagne having had many “Veuve’s” (it means Widow) over the years. No widow has been as prominent as Madame Clicquot, who changed a multi-dimensional business family into one purely focused on Champagne.
To further establish the house, Madame Clicquot (known as Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin) dealt with Prussian aristocracy to great effect and benefit. Legend goes that in order to get her plonk through a trade wall into Prussia she would provide border guards with Champagne, which they opened with their swords – and thus the time-honored technique of Sabrage was born.
A key innovation of Madame Clicquot was the development of the riddling rack; a must have item in any champagne house which allows for the gradual tilting and turning of champagne bottles to prepare the fermenting yeasts for removal prior to sealing and shipping.
The brand has a colossal following with many praising its consistency throughout the years, all the more remarkable considering its mind blowing 18 million bottle per year production rate. As a key brand in the LVMH portfolio, it is a sister to other big houses such as Moet et Chandon and Dom Perignon.
From: Reims, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: ~$65 a Bottle from most Liquor stores
Blend Ratio: Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier/Chardonnay (50/20/30) Nom
Aging: Around 3 Years
Sipped: December 2016
In The Glass:
Look: A pale golden hue, with a consistent vigorous bubble stream
Smell: VCP’s Yellow Label offers a very soft aroma of breads with light traces of fresh fruits.
Taste: VCP’s Yellow Label Brut is exactly that – Brut – which means it is dry, and unashamedly so. The instant it hits your tongue you are greeted with a reasonably well balanced dry line with prevalent characters of zesty citrus fruit such as lemons and grapefruit with a small mix of very young stone fruits mixed in. It does this with a low acidic burn.
It is interesting to note that when served at a crisp 7 degrees (Celsius) there is no depth in the flavor that enhances fruit characters but there is plenty of tang placed smack bang on the middle of the tongue.
This is one for the purely dry-wine lover. As it warms, more fruit flavors are released but overall it lacks interesting depth and complexity.
Notes: Yellow Label is said to be able to be aged an additional 3 years from disgorgement.
Party Potential: Due to its branding and popularity, VCP Yellow Label is a very common and trendy party drink (many a Champagne bowl I’ve filled has been predominantly yellow in colour). The only downside is the cost – at roughly $65 per bottle (AUD) it can be quite an expensive exercise if you want to host a large party of 40 or more people. If it’s a personal favourite by all means use it, but if you are value minded I would recommend plenty of other options. For the same reasons as above, bringing a bottle of Yellow Label anywhere is near de rigueur for special parties that are BYO – but you can impress more by bringing a lesser known house as it flaunts a little Champagne knowledge and makes others inquisitive.
As a Gift: VCP makes a standard present for anyone who consumes alcohol. It is great for people who’s knowledge of Champagnes are not that great. If you are constrained by a budget, look elsewhere for more flavourful, interesting champagnes of better quality.
At Home: VCP is typically quite a pricey drink, so I would likely avoid using it freely for homebody moments – but always keep one on hand for unexpected and extraordinary celebrations such as promotions, study results and surprise guests.
Matching: With its dry and linear drive, VCP Yellow Label is known for having a strong match with fresh seafood and white meat canapes and a number of salty cheeses. Try it other simple savory items such as popcorn and biscuits to help reset the palate in between sips.
Score & Verdict:
In-spite of the godly aura that many view them with, up close and personal this is a character that is regal, clean cut and single pathed as one can be. Does not smile when first introduced, but may open-up and show more character with time.
At $65 I feel it is reasonable value for the quality.
How did I drink it?
Celebrated the last working day of the year with a fresh bottle!
How did you drink it?
And how did you find it? Let me know!
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