Dominique Demarville, cellar master at Veuve Clicquot, was in London recently to launch the Veuve Clicquot Cave Privée Collection, a selection of rare older vintages, recently disgorged (at least in the main), from their deep cool cellars.
This coincides with the 200th anniversary of Madame Clicquot’s first vintage release and is intended to show off the winemaking credentials of the house as well as offer some wines that are ready to drink now. ‘During the maturation period,’ said Demarville, ‘each wine will reach a number of perfection peaks in terms of drinking potential. The Cave Privée Collection will allow us to offer limited quantities of our best vintages when they reach those peaks of perfection.’
The inaugural offering includes the outstanding 1990 and 1980 in a range of different formats, from bottle to jeroboam, plus three rare vintage rosés: 1989,1978 and 1975. The Cave Privée 1990, disgorged in October 2008 and aged in bottle, magnum and jeroboam, displayed three exquisite but very different wines. The jeroboam with a dosage of just 3g/l of sugar won particular plaudits for its elegant minerality and piercing acidity.
‘It’s at just the point at which I love Champagne,’ reckoned Serena Sutcliffe MW. ‘So harmonious, with a nose like a grand cru Chablis.’ By the end of the tasting, attended by quite a few on-trade, Demarville’s assertion that Champagne and Burgundy are not cousins but brothers and sisters seemed to chime with the general view. And with 800,000 bottles of old stock aged 10 years or older back in Reims, it’s an assertion that can be fully tested in the years to come.