Celebrating in Champagne
In this wine video, Monique Soltani shows us what it’s like to celebrate in style in the Champagne region of France. For her award-winning channel Wine Oh TV, Monique Soltani heads to the Champagne region of France and gives us an inside look at two of the world’s most famous Champagne Houses.
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
If you are headed to Paris and want to wine taste and tour in Champagne but don’t have time a ton of time, I would suggest taking a day trip! The train ride to Reims was about an hour from Paris and really easy to navigate (even for this English only speaking tourista). First stop Reims, where we set out to find out the secret to making the yellow label such an international sensation! Veuve Clicquot was founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot-Muiron and played an important role in establishing champagne as a favored drink of haute bourgeoisie and nobility throughout Europe.
Our tour guide/historian told us a lot of fun and fascinating facts about Veuve Clicquot. The first being that the word “Veuve” in French actually means widow. So if you ever stroll into a wine bar and ask for a glass of Veuve you are actually ordering a widow in a wine glass, not exactly what you had in mind now is it? 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 and he died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in French) in charge. Madame Clicquot focused on the champagne production and lead the company to great success. I am sure you are wondering how it was possible for a woman to conduct business in those days? Well, a married woman wouldn’t be caught dead holding the purse strings but back then being a widow had it’s privileges. When it came to doing business a widow could run a company just like a man and it is said that many widow’s didn’t remarry for this very reason.
On our champagne tour we also learned that in July 2008 an unopened bottle of Veuve Clicquot was discovered inside a sideboard in Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland. The 1893 bottle was in mint condition, having been kept in the dark, and was the oldest bottle known to exist. We got to see it on display at the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and if you look closely at the wine video you will get a sneak peak of the priceless bottle of champagne yourself.
After our champagne tour we got to go inside the wine lab where we were guided through an extraordinary tasting. Veuve Clicquot is a classically dry Champagne made with a blend of two-thirds black grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) for body, and balanced with one-third Chardonnay for elegance. In the wine lab, we got play winemaker and got to taste each of the blending grapes independently and then make our very own blend of Veuve Clicquot. After that, we tasted the current release of Veuve Clicquot which was exquisite! Just when we thought our champagne tasting and tour couldn’t get any better, the cellar master came in and surprised us with a taste of the 1995 Veuve Clicquot giving us yet one more reason to celebrate our amazing day in Champagne, France.
If you would like to inquire about a Champagne wine tasting or tour at Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Click Here! Keep in mind, tours need to be arranged several months in advance!
Next stop Épernay, France aka the “Capital of champagne”! Now getting from Reims to Épernay did require us to get back on a train for about a 30 minute ride but it was totally worth it to see the famous L’Avenue de Champagne first hand! Perrier-Jouët pronounced “Perri-ay Jewet” (like ‘wet’), NO relation to Perrier mineral water, was founded by Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and his wife Adèle Jouët in 1811. The Champagne house produces both vintage and non-vintage cuvee, approximately 3,000,000 bottles annually, with its prestige label named Belle Epoque. One of the three bottles of the world’s oldest champagne was a bottle of 1825 Perrier-Jouët which was opened and tasted in 2009. We didn’t get to taste a bottle of 1825 Perrier-Jouët but we did get to sample four of their amazing champagnes and what was inside the bottle was even more exquisite than what is on the outside of the famous bottle.
Perrier Jouët is nearly as famous for its Art Nouveau-styled bottles as it is its champagne. Perrier Jouët’s”Cuvée Belle Epoque”, known in the United States as Fleur de Champagne, was launched in 1969 and has become the most important cuvée de prestige to appear after World War II. The bottle is adorned with enamel-painted anenomes originally created by Emile Gallé in 1900.
Earlier this year, Perrier-Jouët unveiled “Belle Epoque Florale Edition by Makoto Azuma” the first designed Limited Edition of Belle Epoque since Emile Gallé in 1902.We got to see examples of his famous art collection on display at the “Maison Belle Epoque” (guest house) in Epernay. When you watch the wine video you will get a sneak peak of the exclusive art collection from Tokyo-based floral artist Makoto Azuma, whose work has been exhibited at Colette and Fondation Cartier in Paris.
Floral Japanese Artist Makoto Azuma
“I wanted to make something extraordinary, taking inspiration from the sensation of champagne inside the mouth, and the delicate movement of the ivy and leaves with a special attention and tribute given to Emile Gallé’s anemones”.
If you would like to inquire about a Champagne wine tasting or tour at Perrier-Jouët Click Here! Keep in mind, tours need to be arranged several months in advance!