2004 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame

94
DEC
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Product ID
2004-veuve-clicquot-la-grande-dame

Wine Critic Reviews for 2004 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame

(Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame, Champagne, France, White) Subtle gold presages latent power, alchemy at work. Here we meet La Grande Dame at her most elegant, the wine’s architecture sturdy yet delicately ornate with almond and soft patisserie behind the citric and red berried fruit. Sixteen years on, the evolution is modest, even if the primary fruit has softened a little; the citric notes are less strident and the red fruits are now, albeit reluctantly, ceding to a subtle, gently savoury texture. Beautifully woven, it brings to mind a silky canopy stitched from the finest cloth, trademark power deftly integrated and etching a mysteriously delicate finish. (Drink between 2020-2030)

Decanter | 94 DEC
A very complex and powerful edition that really speaks of strong pinot noir fruits. The nose has dense darker citrus, lemon, chalk and fresh nutty complexity - the palate is assertive and unevolved. Really solid pinot drive here, gently toasty finish. Much more to come if cellared on cork.

James Suckling | 94 JS
This is a rich and creamy Champagne with a lively mousse, giving it a forward fruit character. Slowly the depth and concentration of the wine come through, with a white fruit flavor and hints of grapefruit and toasty yeast, which all promising good aging.

Wine Enthusiast | 94 WE
A fine and lacy mousse is draped over a firm frame of well-integrated acidity, belying the complexity of this elegant Champagne. A delicately woven tapestry of black currant, piecrust, chalk, spring blossom and lemon zest flavors ends with a lasting note of smoke-tinged minerality. Drink now through 2029.

Wine Spectator | 94 WS
(made from fruit grown in eight different grand crus, mostly Verzenay and Avize; lot 5122815): Vivid gold. Heady aromas of orange, white peach and smoky minerals, with a note of buttered toast adding depth. Densely packed citrus and pit fruit flavors show chewy texture and a bright mineral quality that adds vivacity. Rich but lively and precise, finishing very long, with notes of candied fig and toasty lees.

Vinous Media | 93 VM
(Veuve Clicquot “la Grande Dame” Brut) I do not taste the Veuve Clicquot lineup with any regularity, so I was pleased to cross paths with the 2004 Grande Dame at a tasting here in New York in December. I was struck by how leesy this release of Grande Dame is on both the nose and palate at the present time, as the bouquet is a mix of apple, orange peel, dusty minerality, plenty of yeastiness and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, young and racy, with a fine core, pinpoint bubbles, snappy acids and a long and well-balanced finish. There is not a whole lot of breed in evidence in this wine today, and though I have little doubt that it will improve with a bit more bottle age, it seems likely to be one of the lesser vintages of Grande Dame. Today, the yeast autolysis notes really get in the way of the wine a bit and I hope this dissipates as the wine ages. It is not bad by any means, but at this level, not bad is probably not really good enough! (Drink between 2013-2030)

John Gilman | 91 JG
As with the corresponding (and varietally identical) rose, Clicquot’s 2004 Brut La Grande Dame is vivacious and buoyant, with lemon and grapefruit set in entertaining counterpoint to almond paste and vanilla-tinged, tart-edged baked apple. Saline oyster liquor adds another, savory dimension in a lingering finish, while hints of chamomile and jasmine serve for aromatic allure. This delightful bottling might well achieve genuine profundity over the next two or three years.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91 RP
Firm and toasty, this is a powerful vintage of Grande Dame, still youthful in its tart nectarine flavors and potent acidity. It feels balled up in its broad leesiness, needing bottle age to lengthen out.

Wine & Spirits | 90 W&S

Wine Details on 2004 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame

More Information
Producer Veuve Clicquot
Region Champagne: The sharp, biting acidity, cutting through the richness; the explosive force that shatters the bubbles as they rise to the surface; the intense flavor and compelling, lively mouthfeel; these are all hallmarks of a good Champagne. Most wines are made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, but there are pure-Chardonnay variants and ones that blend only Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. As a result, most wines come with a feeling of familiarity, if not nostalgia. Each Champagne house has its own unique style, so different bottles of Champagne may not resemble each other outside of the core varietal strengths. The soil composition of the subregion is characterized by belemnite and chalk, which lets it absorb heat during the daytime and release it at night. This terroir helps create the feeling of airy, playful lightness of fine sparkling wine.

These wines were originally marketed towards royalty, and you can feel a hint of that elusive blue-blood elegance and confidence while drinking one. A good Champagne carries you away like a hurricane carries small debris, and you can feel the powerful life force in each bubble even. The characteristic Champagne "pop" has become a staple at parties and celebrations around the globe - when you hear it, good times are right around the corner.
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Champagne: Nothing like a refreshing, vivacious glass of fine Champagne during a hot summer afternoon. Typically combining Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, each Champagne house has a distinct style. Whether you want to sample a single varietal (such as the 100% Chardonnay blanc de blancs) or a tasteful blend, no region can compete with Champagne.
Varietal Champagne Blend: The Champagne blend is one of the most distinctive styles of winemaking in the world. This illustrious blend of grape varietals hails from northeastern France, in the winegrowing region of Champagne. The magical combination of varietals perfectly marry to the terroir, climate and topography of the region, creating a sexy, seductive and fascinating sparkling wine that is synonymous with success and celebration.

The primary grape varietals cultivated in Champagne and most used for blending are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In fact, there are seven permitted grape varieties in the Champagne AOC (controlled designation of origin) though the other four are so rarely used they are often forgotten (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc Petit Meslier and Arbane). The three grape varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier account for about 99% of the region’s plantings. Chardonnay is planted to 10,117 hectares, Pinot Meunier is planted to 10,521 hectares while the most widely planted, Pinot Noir, covers around 12,950 hectares.

Chardonnay brings crisp and refreshing nuances to the effervescent wine blend. When used as a single-variety offering, the wines are named Blanc de Blancs, and account for only around 3% of all Champagne bottlings. Pinot Noir is the staple in Champagne blends and interestingly, is planted in more hectares in Champagne than its ancestral home of Burgundy. It is one of just two allowable red grapes in the region. Pinot Noir brings body and mouth-filling structural texture to the blend. When used as a single-variety its creation is called Blanc de Noirs (white wine made from black-skinned grapes). Pinot Meunier, the other red grape permitted in Champagne brings red berry flavors and balances the overall blend. Though historically a blending grape, 100% Pinot Meunier Champagne wines are becoming increasingly popular.

Champagne has privileged environmental influences that give the wines produced here specific, unique characteristics that are often imitated but never duplicated. Its northern location, rugged climate, distinctive soil type and hillside vineyards makes Champagne terroir the only one of its kind. The first distinguishing factor is that Champagne enjoys a dual climate influenced by oceanic currents and continental winds. The oceanic currents help to keep the temperatures cooler, while the continental influence brings precipitation which are both essential for quality grape production.

Terroir is the second major component to the success of the grapes of Champagne to grow and prosper. It is composed mostly limestone (75%) chalk and marl with a limestone subsoil. The fissured medium provides good drainage, promoting the health and development of the vines. Each soil type is important to the stages of development. The chalk in Champagne consists of granules of calcite formed from fragile marine shells and micro-organisms. This highly porous compound assists in water movement into the root system. The limestone, being less porous allows the right amount of water to be collected while restricting erosion. Marl is just as important and contains highly rich minerals which allows the growth of berries with intense flavors.

The third distinguishing factor is the gift of Champagne’s natural landscape where the rugged and hilly terrain greatly assists in water drainage and root growth. The average gradient is around 12% with some of the slopes reaching grades as steep as 59%. The higher elevations receive greater sunlight than lower elevations at the same latitude. This feature alone creates diverse micro-climates within the region allowing grapes grown in different locations and at different Champagne houses to have unique characteristics.

The varietals of Champagne, the terroir of the region along with the oceanic and continental climatic influences come together to create one of earth’s most breathtaking wine styles. From the many styles and offerings, Brut (dry, raw or unrefined) to rose, vintage to non-vintage, Champagne blends offer to the world a euphoric, effervescent experience that cannot be matched.

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