Saturday, 19 October 2013

Veuve Clicquot, Grande Dame 2004

Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame 2004 was a present from a friend returning from Moscow, and what a present it was! Firstly, the presentation is very slick - although perhaps a touch gimmicky. The box has a tag which, when pulled, turns the inside case around to reveal the bottle. Very faux James Bond, but great fun!

Grande Dame is a "super cuvee" and is a premium expression of Veuve Clicquot's house style. As such, I was expecting richness and opulence with full fruit and a biscuitty mousse. I had recently tried Bollinger Grande Annee 2004 which I expected to contrast heavily (given the differing house styles) and so I noted some of those impressions while I tasted.

I felt that by drinking it in late 2013 we were perhaps risking a touch of infanticide, as this champagne will last for a good decade more at least. Still, good company and good wine go together, so we popped the cork.

Colour: Pale gold

Nose: Crisp, zesty lemon. There's grape with an almost grappa-like intensity. Lemon is very clear.

Palate: Sweet lemon, apricot and peach. As expected, it is on the richer side of the champagne chart and extremely strong and powerful - but not overly flamboyant. There's a slight sense of power being held in check by finesse. There's a really round and fruity style - a sharp contrast to the citrus (esp mandarin) I found in Bollinger Grande Annee 2004 but not far from the richer Bollinger Grande Annee 1997, which had had more time to develop. Peach and nectarine come to the fore in time and the Grande Dame evolves into a sweet, rich toasted brioche. Almost like a Sauternes...

Lovely mousse with no harshness or bitterness. Very fine bubbles.

Finish: Extremely long. It develops in clear stages with red apple coming through and becoming almost caramelised. Lemon brings up the rear to clear the palate and prepare for more. This goes on and on!

Conclusion: I couldn't think of many better ways to spend an evening that to have a bottle of this with good company. This grand Lady demands attention and is lavish in her rewards. Immense power and focused intensity with great poise and elegance. Worth the money? Yes!

Points: 94-95. Exceptional.

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