Holiday Feature

Holiday Bubbly

by Fred McMillin


Thomas Jefferson advised George Washington to eschew the Champagne sparkler. Perhaps the reason was that a woman and her team had not yet discovered how to remove the sediment without losing much of the sparkle. Her name was Nicole Ponsardin-Clicquot. Her secret was to invert the bottle of bubbly, let the cloudy sediment settle, and then just loosen the cork enough to blow out the solids, leaving a clear, sparkling wine. Meanwhile, young Francois Clicquot died suddenly, leaving the widow ("veuve" in French)to build the great champagne house of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. So nothing could be more fitting in the holiday season than a toast to the Veuve that created clear Champagne and whose sales dwarfed the competition for some time to come.

The Clicquot Champagnes

Name—Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

Location—Reims, France


The Wines—Clicquot La Grande Dame at $149 is as good as fizz can get. The last time my panel tasted it blind, La Dame won Best Wine of the Year! The minute bubbles last indefinitely and absolutely envelop one's tongue in foam. Beautiful. (If the budget won't handle La Dame, the very popular $49 Yellow Label Brut will not disappoint.)

Tasting Notes—The minute bubbles last indefinitely and absolutely envelop your tongue in foam. Beautiful.

U.S.A. Contact—Shaunna Spalten, (212) 888-7575, New York City.

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. He also writes a monthly column, On Wine.

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This page created December 2003 and modified 2009