1990 Champagne Veuve Clicquot, Vintage Reserve, Brut
A forward cuvee that will last for another decade. Its richness is exquisite. This will be a relatively long-lived, intense Champagne. One caveat. More than any wine in the world, Champagne is exceptionally vulnerable to heat. Pierre Rovani has already tasted a cooked bottle of this wine. Readers need to be particularly careful when buying Champagne.
Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (October 1998)
This remains quite fresh with its cool nose of apple, citrus and exuberant yeast elements that continue onto the crisp, intense and energetic flavours that terminate in a saline-inflected, wonderfully complex and beautifully well-balanced finale. In contrast to some '90s today, this is still in terrific shape and should continue to hold, if not improve, for years to come. In a word, lovely.
Allen Meadows, burghound.com (October 2015)
Complex, fresh aromas of apple, vanilla, toast and brioche. Very intense, fresh flavours of spiced apple, lemon and clove; tight and taut, with solid acidity and uncanny clarity of flavour. Quite long and young on the aftertaste. Serious juice with good ageing potential.
Stephen Tanzer, Vinous.com (November 1998)
About this WINE
Philippe Clicquot-Muiron established Veuve Clicquot in 1772. However, it was Phillipe`s daughter-in-law, Nicole-Barbe Clicquot, who really laid the foundations of the modern company. She was one of the great innovators - it was she who invented remuage in the early 19th century. Now it is part of the LVMH group. The Non-Vintage Brut is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier. It has a nose of white fruits and freshly baked bread and is fresh and balanced on the palate. The vintage wines are similar in character but with more depth of fruit and more structure. La Grande Dame, first made in 1969, is a rich, smooth and finely textured Champagne that simply oozes class and breeding.
Brut denotes a dry style of Champagne (less than 15 grams per litre). Most Champagne is non-vintage, produced from a blend from different years. The non-vintage blend is always based predominately on wines made from the current harvest, enriched with aged wines (their proportion and age varies by brand) from earlier harvests, which impart an additional level of complexity to the end wine. Champagnes from a single vintage are labelled with the year reference and with the description Millésimé.
Non-vintage Champagnes can improve with short-term ageing (typically two to three years), while vintages can develop over much longer periods (five to 30 years). The most exquisite and often top-priced expression of a house’s style is referred to as Prestige Cuvée. Famous examples include Louis Roederer's Cristal, Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, and Pol Roger's Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
Recommended Producers : Krug, Billecart Salmon, Pol Roger, Bollinger, Salon, Gosset, Pierre Péters, Ruinart
Which grapes are included in the blend, and their proportion, is one of the key factors determining the style of most Champagnes. Three grapes are used - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
26% of vineyards in Champagne are planted with Chardonnay and it performs best on the Côtes des Blancs and on the chalk slopes south of Epernay. It is relatively simple to grow, although it buds early and thus is susceptible to spring frosts. It produces lighter, fresher wines than those from Burgundy and gives finesse, fruit and elegance to the final blend. It is the sole grape in Blancs de Blancs, which are some of the richest long-lived Champagnes produced.
Pinot Noir accounts for nearly 40% of the plantings in Champagne and lies at the heart of most blends - it gives Champagne its body, structure, strength and grip. It is planted across Champagne and particularly so in the southern Aube district.
The final component is Pinot Meunier and this constitutes nearly 35% of the plantings. Its durability and resistance to spring frosts make the Marne Valley, a notorious frost pocket, its natural home. It ripens well in poor years and produces a soft, fruity style of wine that is ideal for blending with the more assertive flavours of Pinot Noir. Producers allege that Pinot Meunier lacks ageing potential, but this does not deter Krug from including around 15% of it in their final blends.
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Great richness and finesse, with still potential for further bottle ageing thanks to the super intensity of fruit and firm acidity in this wine.
Adrian Brice, Fine Wine Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (March 2023)
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