|Goes well with||Aperitif (on its own), Beef, Cheeses, Cold Meats, Duck, Fish, Game, Pork, Roast Chicken, Roast Meats, Salmon, Seafood|
|Grape type||Chardonnay, Pinot Noir|
|Drinking style||Complex, elegant, concentrated|
In 1772, Philippe Clicquot-Muiron established the original enterprise which in time became the house of Veuve Clicquot. His son, François Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1798. Clicquot died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in French) in control of a company variously involved in banking, wool trading, and Champagne production. Under Madame Clicquot's guidance the firm focused entirely on the latter, to great success. During the Napoleonic Wars, Madame Clicquot made strides in establishing her wine in royal courts throughout Europe, notably that of Imperial Russia. By the time she died in 1866 Veuve Clicquot had become both a substantial Champagne house and a respected brand. Madame Clicquot is credited with a great breakthrough in champagne handling that made mass production of the wine possible. In the early 19th century, with the assistance of her cellar master, Antoine de Müller, Clicquot invented the riddling rack that made the crucial process of dégorgement both more efficient and economic. Clicquot's advance involved systematically collecting the spent yeast and sediments left from the wine's secondary fermentation in the bottle's neck by using a specialized rack. Composed much like a wooden desk with circular holes, the rack allowed a bottle of wine to be stuck sur point or upside down. Every day a cellar assistant would gently shake and twist (remuage) the bottle to encourage wine solids to settle to the bottom. When this was completed. the cork was carefully removed, the sediments ejected, and a small replacement dose of sweetened wine added. La Grande Dame 1998 has a pale gold color with jade glints. The wine is crystal clear, with unbelievably fine bubbles. At first, typical Chardonnay characteristics come to the nose, with the arrival of floral and mineral aromas. Then notes of citrus fruits, apricots, quince and sweet almond emerge, to reappear later in the mouth. Eventually, rare notes such as peaty malt, tobacco and delicate herbs, are gradually unveiled. This aromatic, impressively layered bouquet is confirmed in the mouth. On the palate, the wine is clear-cut and pure, perfectly balanced with a delightful silky smoothness. La Grande Dame 1998, with its lace-like construction, has a long, lively, and structured finish. This wine has unbelievable aging potential. The 1998 vintage of La Grande Dame, the quintessence of the Veuve Clicquot style, reaches a peak of refinement, without losing its legendary strength produced by a blend including nearly two-thirds of Pinot Noir.