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Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin

In 1772, the banker and wool merchant Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded a wine trade called Clicquot. This was the origin of one of the first and most famous champagne houses. His son François Clicquot (+1805) married Nicole Barbe Ponsardin (1777-1866) in 1798, the wedding took place in style in a champagne cellar. Already in 1802 representatives were after Russia sent to boost exports. After the early death of her husband, the young widow took over the business and named him "Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin" (Veuve = widow). The perfectionist woman also inspected her cellars at night to watch over the development. She is often regarded as the first entrepreneur of modern times, you champagne was delivered to all European royal and princely courts. Her butler Antoine de Müller succeeded in the year 1815, the revolutionary invention of bottle-shaking, the so-called remuage by means of vibrators (Pupitres). According to legend, the Madame sacrificed one of her pieces of furniture for the first device in question. Until 1821, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin was the only company using this new method.

Nicole Barbe Ponsardin (1777-1866) around 1860 - all champagne formats

The Madame Clicquot-Ponsardin was also the inventor of the rosé champagne, until then only white was produced. The design of the still used yellow label for vintage champagne is also from her. In 1814 Madame had the cellars rounder because she feared plundering of the Cossacks and Prussians who occupied the city several times between March and May. On March 13, 1814, while the French troops liberated the city, slept Napoleon (1769-1821) in the house of the brother of Madame Clicquot. A few days later, 10,000 bottles of champagne were sent to Russia. At that time, the import of wine in bottles was still prohibited in Russia. It surprised the competition, no other house took this risk. But in July, champagne crossed the Russian border and the brand's success took its course as demand was overwhelming. After the death of the widow in 1866, the company was bought by Édouard Werlé and remained until sale to the group LVMH Owned by this family in 1987. The champagnes are mostly made up of the varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the own vineyards in the village Bouzy, The named in honor of the Madame Cuvée de Prestige in white and rosé is called "La Grande Dame".

In the vicinity of Åland, an archipelago at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia, which belongs to Finland, was discovered in July 2010 by divers at 50 meters depth, the wreck of a Swedish two-masted sailor. In the environment they found 162 bottles, 145 were later identified on the basis of bottle shapes and corks. A total of 79 were still closed and, as it turned out later, still edible. It was champagne from Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin. Heidsieck and (the no longer existing brand) Juglar, as well as four beer bottles underneath. In a Veuve-Clicquot was found that this dates from 1839 (in some sources other numbers). On the first dive, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot was taken upstairs, where the cork shot away with a loud bang. He had kept underwater for so long, because the pressure conditions at 50 meters depth with five bar approximately corresponded to the pressure in the bottles.

The divers were the first to try the historic drink. After analysis, they contained 140 g / l sugar (dry champagne today have ~ 15 g / l, sweet developed from 50 g / l). This corresponded to the taste of the time in France and Germany. The delivery should therefore not have been intended for Russia, where champagne was drunk even sweeter with up to 300 g / l. The sommelière Ella Grüssner Cromwell-Morgan remarked: The champagne had a bouquet of ripe fruit, golden raisins and a touch tobacco , Although he was so incredibly old, he tasted wonderfully fresh. The sweetness was perfectly integrated into the acidity.

From the find the champagne house Veuve-Clicquot was informed, arrived specialists corked the bottles again. Some bottles were bottled on 3 June 2011 in Mariehamn (capital of Åland) at a auction auctioned by the French auction house Artcurial. One achieved a price of $ 46,640 (€ 30,000), another $ 15,000 to $ 30,000. He is one of the most expensive wines in the world, as well as to the oldest wines, which (in this case after about 170 years) were not only enjoyable, but also very well-mouthed!

On the basis of this discovery, an interesting experiment was started by the champagne house. Under the project name "Cellar in the Sea" hundreds of different brands of champagne were bought at Åland Methuselah (6l = 8 bottles) and Magnum size (1,5l = 2 bottles) 40 meters below sea level sunk in a large wire cage (the depth guarantees freedom from algae and a uniform temperature of 4 ° Celsius). The same brands or bottles are also stored in a cellar in Reims for comparison purposes. Over 40 years, individual champagne bottles are brought up again and again and compared with those in Reims comparatively tasted. Veuve Clicquot wants to learn more about the ripening process of champagne.

Picture left: By Léon Cogniet - unknown, public domain, link
Picture right: From Photo by Wnissen , Public domain , Link

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