It has always been a dream of mine to drink Champagne in Champagne, but to drink Veuve Clicqout at Veuve Cliqout, well I almost lost my mind!!! It was hands down the best experience we had in Champagne. From walking through the gardens touching and smelling all of the different herbs and flowers in their garden, to touring and walking through all of the limestone Crayeres, (like caves & some are even from Roman-Gallo time period) to having a tasting in one of the select sellers, it was a mind blowing experience for me.
But let’s begin at the beginning of the day. We had yet another lovely breakfast at our B&B Le Manoir des Charmes in Ay, (just for the record I am about 75lbs heavier than when I started this journey, but I have enjoyed every bite and every sip!) and we left for Reims to see the Grande Dame of Champagne, The Widow Clicqout. Here is a little history about Veuve Clicqout:
In 1772, Philippe Clicquot-Muiron established the original enterprise which eventually became the house of Veuve Clicquot. In 1775, it was credited to be the first Champagne house to produce rosé Champagne, using the method of adding red wine during production.
Philippe’s son, François Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1798 and died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in French) in control of a company variously involved in banking, wool trading, and Champagne production. She became the first woman to take over a Champagne house. Under Madame Clicquot’s guidance, the firm focused entirely on the last, to great success.
She also created the disgorging process, making decanting the Champagne no longer necessary. You can read even more about that and her HERE.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Madame Clicquot made strides in establishing her wine in royal courts throughout Europe, notably that of Imperial Russia, thus becoming the first Champagne house to ship Champagne through the blockade to Russia in 1811. During this time, she also gave Champagne to the Prussian guards enforcing the blockade and the soldiers opened the champagne with their swords, so started the technique of sabring Champagne. By the time she died in 1866 Veuve Clicquot had become both a substantial Champagne house and a respected brand. Easily recognised by its distinctive bright yellow labels, the wine holds a royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
She was fabulous and so is her Champagne. It was an amazing, amazing day that I will always remember!
At Veuve Clicqout!!!