Since its foundation in 1772, The Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin House has remained to to its motto: “only one quality, the finest.”. It’s history carries the mark of an exceptional woman: Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, Madame Veuve Cliquot. This young widow 27 years old was left devastated by the untimely death of her husband, but courageously took up the helm of the family business. She was uncompromising on quality, and set off to conquer the world, transmitting her taste for excellence and innovation to her successors.
Taking over the business in 1805 made Madame Cliquot one of the first business woman of the era, however, it was in 1810 that she proved her innovative prowess by creating the first recorded vintage champagne in the era, then again in 1811 with the Comet Vintage. Defying the continental embargo that raged in Europe, she managed to ship her wine to Saint Petersberg, received with a triumphant welcome in Russia, she was praised by Pushkin, Checkhov and Gogol.
Continuing her champagne reign, in 1816 she invented the first riddling table, a process used to this day, to ensure a crystal clear wine. From this point forward the house grew from strength to strength, with Madame Cliquot becoming know to her peers as “La Grande Dame” of Champagne. In 1909 the house secured 482 crayeres (chalk cellars), former quarries, on the outskirts of Reims, extending its industrial heritage, a location now housing the visitors centre and production.
In an interesting side note, in 2010, a shipwreck was found off the coast Finland, at the mouth of the Baltic. When 145 perfectly preserved bottles of champagne were salvaged, 47 of them were in fact Veuve Cliquot champagne bottles. One of these champagnes, amongst the oldest in the world, was sold. The discovery found the bottles to be over 2 centuries old, showcasing the impeccable quality of the wines since the very origin of the house.
Veuve Cliquot labels include:
- Yellow Label
- Vintage 2004
- Vintage 2004 Rose
- Cave Privee
- La Grande Dame