VEUVE CLICQUOT - Vintage Brut 1998Champagne
Made only in exceptional or vintage years, this wine is a blend of about twenty crus, all Grands and Premeir Crus, and all harvested in the same year.
The strength due to two thirds of black grapes is balanced by the finesse and elegance of the remaining third of chardonnay.
Vintage has a powerful, elegant fragrance. A firm, structured wine, which reveals substance and great finesse when tasted.
Veuve Clicquot Vintage made its appearance in 1810. The following year in 1811 a comet crossed the Champagne sky and this vintage became known as the 'Year of the Comet'.
Its structure and power make Veuve Clicquot Vintage an excellent companion for fish and seafood served with a sauce, or white meat and poultry.
The winter was extremely cold, with snow covering the Montagne de Reims area over a long period of time. This was followed by an unexpected thaw with moderate showers, and a few scattered frosts in the most sensitive areas. Spring was early and rainy and while May was particularly hot and dry. Flowering, which fortunately was not spoilt by rain at the end of J une, took place under excellent, nearly heat-wave, conditions. Early summer was a season of contrasts, with alternate showers and spells of hot weather encouraging rapid growth.
August was dry and sunny, and provided ideal temperatures for grape maturation. The first two weeks of September were cloudy and grey but gradually improved, providing perfect conditions for harvesting. The grapes were picked in dry weather and the berries were extremely healthy.
Vintage Reserve 1998 is made up of 58% Pinot Noir, 11% Pinot Meunier and 31% Chardonnay. The choice of grape classification is of vital importance. The blend includes 20 crus only, which are either Grand or Premier Crus, from the Montagne de Reims, Grande Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blanc areas.
Vintage Reserve 1998 has a deep golden yellow colour with subtle green accents. It has a brilliant aspect and effervescence is lively and long-lasting. The nose is intense and complex, opening with hints of yellow fruits (apricots, Mirabelle plums) combined with fresher notes of mint, lemon and grapefruit. Oxidising the wine brings aromas of dried fruits (hazelnuts, roasted almonds, figs) as well as exotic fruit to the fore.
In the mouth, the wine is generous and accompanied by a sensation of fullness and volume. The initial aromas perceived by the nose are even more pronounced on the palate. Fruity notes becomes richer (peaches on the vine) and the refreshing quality is transformed into mineral highlights. The array of flavours develops throughout the tasting, the sign of a remarkable vintage. Vintage Reserve 1998 is naturally inviting, with its smooth texture and long finish creating a gourmet indulgence.
Already remarkably well balanced, it is ideal as an elegant aperitif. It is also a wine for gourmets, and can be married with a variety of fish and shellfish, such as John Dory, monkfish and langoustine. It accompanies a chicken cooked with spring vegetables, or decorated with a few shavings of excellent Parmesan, to perfection.
This 1998 vintage will gradually develop tertiary notes to reach its peak in around fifteen years.