2006 represents the last La Grande Dame vintage crafted by Jacques Péters, the predecessor of Veuve Clicquot’s current chef de cave Dominique Demarville. This warm vintage produced ample and generous champagnes. La Grande Dame, first produced in 1962, is the wine of elegance at Veuve Clicquot. Demarville describes it as ‘northern facing wine’ due to the high proportion of fruit from Verzy and Verzenay making up the core of the champagne. “But in this ripe year, we chose to use the highest ever proportion of Chardonnay from Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, 47 per cent,” he adds. They made no classic Clicquot vintages this year.
For the future La Grande Dame vintages, Demarville has visioned a distinctly more Pinot Noir dominant style, composing a larger stylistic difference between La Grande Dame and the Vintage cuvée. “La Grande Dame will remain completely unoaked, whereas for the Vintage, partial vinification in oak will enhance the spicy edge of the wine.” As a novelty, the 2006 La Grande Dame bottles will have a disgorgement date printed on them.
La Grande Dame 2006 91p (->94p)
The 2006 vintage in is ampleness and power fits to the Pinot-driven style of La Grande Dame. The nose has refined restraint to it, which successfully tames the big Pinot fruit to a classy ensemble. The typical toffee note is present alongside spice, nuts and hay. Upon release it (mid-2014 disgorgement) is positively free of any unwanted oxidative characters. The palate is plush and smooth yet muscular, built to last. There is a degree of oiliness on the palate that gets refreshed by the lemony zinginess of the acidity and firmed by the phenolic bite at the very end. A big La Grande Dame but not the most elegant one.
La Grande Dame Rosé 2006 94p (->96p)
This wine has loads of character to it. The Bouzy Clos Colin red wine part has a huge influence in the wine, almost hiding all resemblance to its white counterpart. Beautifully evolved style with wild, even animally characters to it. Spicy and gastronomic with beautiful succulence, screaming for a sturdy meat or poultry course to go with it. Velvet-smooth and caressing.