White glove courtesy at Veuve Clicquot

White glove courtesy at Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Cliquot has over 400 still wines in reserve to use in the intricate composition of its flagship Yellow label champagne

Veuve Cliquot has over 400 still wines in reserve to use in the intricate composition of its flagship Yellow label champagne

In October 2011, I was invited to Champagne by Veuve Clicquot, along with 3 champagne-o-phile friends from Nantucket.  As I mentioned in my previous post, we did not waste a minute from the moment our chauffered car arrived…Day 1 was sightseeing and tastings with grower champagnes Pierre Peters and Rene Geoffroy;  Day 2 was a lavish luncheon at Veuve Clicquot & a tasting + dinner with Ruinart;  Day 3 was Piper-Heidsieck & lunch in Reims before our happy, bubbly-filled bellies departed for Beaune.

The VCP hospitality was most grande pour les dames!  Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of my 2+ week trip to France was our time spent with Dominique Demarville, Cellar Master of Veuve Clicquot.   It’s hard to say which was more interesting–the tasting of still wines with Dominique in the lab or the magnificent luncheon in our honor at Clicquot’s newly renovated Hotel du Marc.  We started with La Grande Dame 2004 and hors d’oeuvres in the study and, mon Dieu, it was “pinch me” at every course.  The wines, the food, the company, the sumptuous surroundings, the engaging conversation–it was an epic occasion.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…

A tasting of still wines including the 2011 vintage of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and numerous others, including a remarkably vibrant 1988 Cramant Grand Cru

A tasting of still wines including the 2011 vintage of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and numerous others, including a remarkably vibrant 1988 Cramant Grand Cru

Grafitti covered bottles of La Grand Dame

Grafitti covered bottles of La Grand Dame

Hôtel du Marc luncheon with Dominique Demarville

Hôtel du Marc luncheon with Dominique Demarville

VCP luncheon at Hotel du Marc

VCP luncheon at Hotel du Marc

Decanting (!) into Baccarat

Decanting (!) into Baccarat

1980!!

1980!!

Susan Handy, proprietor of The Chanticleer, Nantucket

Susan Handy, proprietor of The Chanticleer, Nantucket

Foosball at Veuve Clicquot

Foosball at Veuve Clicquot

Epic luncheon at Veuve Clicquot

Epic luncheon at Veuve Clicquot

La Grande Dame 2004 with Dominique Demarville

La Grande Dame 2004 with Dominique Demarville

Veuve Clicquot's Hotel du Marc

Veuve Clicquot's Hotel du Marc

Menu of an epic luncheon...

Menu of an epic luncheon...

Crayeres of Veuve Clicquot

Crayeres of Veuve Clicquot

Vintage champagne crates at Veuve Clicquot

Vintage champagne crates at Veuve Clicquot

Fun at Veuve Clicquot:)

Fun at Veuve Clicquot:)

Time for a cold bottle at Veuve Clicquot

Time for a cold bottle at Veuve Clicquot

Amazing graphics at Veuve Clicquot

Amazing graphics at Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Clicquot stairway of vintages

Veuve Clicquot stairway of vintages