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Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin

In 1772 the banker and wool trader Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded a wine trade under the name Clicquot. This was the origin of one of the first and most famous champagne houses. Son François Clicquot (+1805) married Nicole Barbe Ponsardin (1777-1866) in 1798, the wedding took place in a champagne cellar in style. Representatives were already added in 1802 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 wine cellars at night to watch over the development. She is often seen as the first entrepreneur of modern times, her champagne was delivered to all European rulers and princely courts. Her cellar master Antoine de Müller succeeded around 1815 in the revolutionary invention of bottle shaking, the so-called remuage using vibrating consoles (Pupitres). According to legend, the madame sacrificed one of her pieces of furniture for the first device in this regard. Until 1821, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin was the only company to use this new process.

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

The Madame Clicquot-Ponsardin was also the inventor of the rose champagne, until then only whiter was produced. She also designed the yellow label for vintage champagne that is still used today. In 1814, Madame had the cellars walled up, fearing looting by the Cossacks and the Prussians, which occupied the city several times between March and May. On March 13, 1814, while the French troops liberated the city, stayed overnight Napoleon (1769-1821) in the house of Madame Clicquot's brother. A few days later, 10,000 bottles of champagne were sent to Russia. At that time, the importation of bottled wine was still prohibited in Russia. This surprised the competition, no other house took this risk. But in July the champagne crossed the Russian border and the success of the brand began because the demand was overwhelming. After the widow's death in 1866, the company was bought by Édouard Werlé and remained until the group was sold LVMH Owned by this family in 1987. Most of the champagne consists of the varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the local vineyards Bouzy, Named in honor of the Madame Cuvée de Prestige in white and rosé means "La Grande Dame".

Near Åland, an archipelago at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia, which belongs to Finland, divers discovered the wreck of a Swedish two-masted glider in 50 meters in July 2010. They found 162 bottles in the area, 145 could later be identified on the basis of the bottle shape and cork. 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. A Veuve-Clicquot was found to date from 1839 (different numbers in some sources). During the first dive, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot was taken up, where the cork shot off with a loud bang. He had kept underwater for so long because the pressure conditions at a depth of 50 meters with five bars corresponded roughly to the pressure in the bottles.

The divers were the first to try the historical drink. According to analyzes, they contained 140 g / l sugar (dry champagnes have ~ 15 g / l today, sweet ones from 50 g / l). This corresponded to the taste of that time in France and Germany. The delivery should not have been destined for Russia, where champagne was drunk much sweeter at up to 300 g / l. The sommelière Ella Grüssner Cromwell-Morgan remarked: The champagne had a bouquet of ripe fruit, golden raisins and a hint tobacco , Although it was so incredibly old, it tasted wonderfully fresh. The sweetness was perfectly integrated into the acid.

The Veuve-Clicquot champagne house was informed of the find, and specialists arrived corked the bottles again. Some bottles were sold on June 3, 2011 in Mariehamn (capital of Åland) auction auctioned by the French auction house Artcurial. One fetched $ 46,640 (€ 30,000), the other $ 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 edible, but also tasted very good!

Because of this find, the Champagne House started an interesting experiment. Under the project name "Cellar in the Sea" hundreds of different champagne brands of the company were created in Åland Methuselah (6l = 8 bottles) and Magnum size (1.5l = 2 bottles) sunk in a large wire cage 40 meters below sea level (the depth guarantees freedom from algae and a constant temperature of 4 ° Celsius). The same brands or bottles are also stored in a cellar in Reims for comparison purposes. Over the course of 40 years, individual champagne bottles have been brought up again and again and tasted in comparison with those in Reims. Veuve Clicquot wants to learn more about the ripening process of champagne.

Left: By Léon Cogniet - unknown, public domain, link
Right picture: From Photo by Wnow , public domain , link

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