This Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Champagne Brut 1996 review may be the most delightful product review I’ve done in some time, if ever. On second-thought, it is the best product review I will have ever done.
As many of you know Veuve Clicquot is the champagne of champagnes. Some of you may disagree with that, but let’s give credit where credit is due.For starters, after all, Madam Clicquot and her cellar master were the ones to invent remuage or riddling, and the riddling rack. This revolutionary process is still used by champagne houses down to this day. Remuage led to handling champagne in such a way so as to make mass production possible.
When inquiring of the House of Veuve Clicquot what they thought about the 1996 vintage I was told “Never in living memory could people remember such a balance between maturity and freshness.” And I have to wholeheartedly agree. Never before have I ever had a better champagne than when we popped our bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Champagne Brut 1996 in celebration of our newborn. I thought about whether such a joyous occasion could have had any influence on the champagne’s appeal to me. And no, while the occasion was a long time coming for the both of us, the champagne was just that good!
Let’s get to its characteristics. Its color was a beautiful golden-green. The green tinting was especially appealing, so much so, that I couldn’t get over observing the color. I kept trying to put my finger on what green I was seeing, since I enjoy and take pride in colors and knowing colors, and the closest I could come up with to this day was a light olive drab or a light lawn green, even a yellow green.
The bubbles were very fine and tiny, and were the kind of bubbles that, while showing their effervescence, took their sweet time coming to the surface as if saying “we’re such special bubbles we can take our time and so should you with this special bottle of Veuve Clicquot.” And that’s just what we did, too, even pulling out the ole’ metal spoon into the top-of-the-bottle trick to savor the remaining champagne of the night till the next morning.
Like many, I’m not one much for nosing as I can’t always pinpoint what exactly I’m smelling. However the better, more experienced lover of champagne, and mother of the celebrated newborn, helped me to isolate that, indeed, I was smelling citrus fruits, while she further pared-down the scent she was detecting as hinting of peaches.
On to the palate, and my favorite part. Again, simply, the best champagne I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. I kept telling the lil’ lady from the first sip to the spoken memory a couple of weeks later, and over my shoulder into the background as I pen this review that it was the best champagne I’d ever tasted. I was speechless upon first taste. Nor did I want to detract from relishing its perfect taste by trying to describe such a heavenly sensation. I believe I kept mumbling some kind of good-sounding sounds, unable to put words to it. It was certainly delicate as the tiny bubbles hinted to me earlier. Yet, it was perfectly and silkily full of flavor as I continued picking up the sparkling, citrusy surprise my tongue just had been treated to upon first sip, prior.
The finish was even more perfect than the start, which made it that much more enjoyable and evident by the new round of ooh’s and ah’s emanating from our souls. Too, the finish went on and on, seeming to bless our palates by sticking around as if to say “enjoy, enjoy, and enjoy it some more!” I can’t say that I’ve ever had a champagne or wine for that matter finish for so long. It surely made for our taking our time with each passing glass. While I continued to be amazed at how long the finish was, which more than likely contributed to my not noting any discernible difference in taste at the finish, the lil’ lady’s more deft nose and palate picked up some mild spices and woodiness. To this day I don’t recall what, if at all, she specified as to what spices or woodiness she picked up. And you know what? Neither can she, since by that time we were well beyond putting our noses up about it and were simply enjoying what we already realized at that point-we were drinking the best bottle of champagne we’d ever had. You might say it was a double blessing-the finest champagne we ever had on such an occasion as the celebration of our newborn! Providential? Perhaps.
Should you ever have the opportunity to acquire or partake of a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin’s La Grande Dame Champagne Brut 1996 I can’t find the word to describe how much I would recommend doing so. This vintage champagne was so good I finally understand what the expression “sip it like it’s expensive champagne” or “aged like a fine wine” really means. It was a drinking experience where I found the perfect balance in life in drinking the fruit of the vine.
Perhaps you know of what I speak-although unless you’ve had this vintage I doubt it. It’s when you enjoy the wine so much that you can’t wait to take another sip, even mouthful. Yet, you love it so much that you want to savor it for as long as you can. With this vintage, rather than that becoming a dilemma or paradoxical situation, you delightfully enjoy it for the balance of the evening-not too hurried, not too slow. It’s when you find that perfect balance both in what you’re tasting inside your mouth and outside your mouth in life itself. Get a bottle of Veuve Clicquot’s La Grande Dame ’96 and save it for that very special occasion in your life. It very possibly could be the best bottle of champagne you’ll ever taste this side of paradise.