Veuve Clicquot Vintage Réserve 1996
VINTAGE RESERVE 1996 THE VINTAGE The winter of 1996 is very cold, temperatures reach –15°C without however damaging the vines. The spring is dry and sunny, budding starts between 20th and 24th April depending on the grape varieties. May is dull and cool and some spring frosts damage the Champagne vineyards. The Veuve Clicquot vineyards are spared: thanks to their location on the slopes, they are not too sensitive to this type of frosts. July is very dry and the second fortnight almost leads to a drought situation for the vineyards. Some salutary rains in late August bring back optimum conditions for the growth of the vine. The harvest starts on September 16th for the early villages. Harvest conditions are excellent: dry and hot weather. Never in living memory has such a great balance been reached in Champagne between maturity (10° GL) and acidity (10 g/L in H2SO4). The very dry weather conditions have naturally concentrated the components of the grape. The first tastings are very promising and are the signs of long-keeping wines. THE CUVÉE The Vintage Reserve 1996 is composed of 59% of pinot noir, 8% of pinot meunier (i.e. two thirds of black grapes), and 33% of chardonnay. The choice of the origin of the grapes is of prime importance: only 20 Crus, exclusively Grands and Premiers Crus, are used in the blending of this cuvée. They are located in the Montagne de Reims, the Grande Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. THE TASTING The Vintage Reserve 1996 shows a beautiful deep gold color, with slight green hues. The sparkle is lively and persistent. The nose is expressive and complex. The first impression is of citrus, yellow fruit (peach, apricot, mirabelle plum) together with subtle dry fruit aromas (hazelnut, almond) and spices (cinnamon, vanilla, honey). In the mouth, it is very full and well structured, and for its age, still dominated by freshness, truly representative of the 96 vintage. Richness and intensity are wonderfully associated. The remarkable balance means that this champagne will keep for a exceptional length of time. The lingering impression of volume and power definitely place this vintage 1996 in the true Veuve Clicquot style. In its youth, a great aperitif wine, and in a few years it will be a wonderful champagne on your table, where it will be the perfect match for seawater fish (Bass, Turbot, John Dory). This vintage 1996 will probably be listed along with the mythical Clicquot vintages, for which only a long aging will bring out the numerous aspects of this wine. As for its famous predecessors, age will have become a virtue.
I usually was not too crazy about La Grande Dame : too tasty, too woody, but this bottle of La Grande Dame 1996, drank more than 10 years after the harvest makes its point. Smooth, delicate, flowery with lightness but taste, it's a perfect aperitif to be enjoyed with good company. Nevertheless, I recommend trying to use sommelier Champagne glasses, to let this great champagne reveal to the senses all its promises...
Some yeast, soft and well aged. Excellent balance. Delicately floral with an extended finish. Absolutely delicious. Tasted at the New York Wine Experience
wonderfully crisp, clear, and dry. deep yet penetrating taste and finish, it's flavor has matured well and softened in its fruitiness, leaving a more nutty and grassy hint to it. excellent champagne.
This is the best Champagne I've had. You'll get quickly to the nutty/pear taste and a very deep and rich finish. I go back and forth between the 96 and the slightly less expensive 98. I prefer the 96 because it's just heavier and provides more of a Champagne experience.
Grande in every sense of the word
although it could be coca-cola inside for all we know
Food Pairings for Veuve Clicquot Vintage Réserve
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