Bodega: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

Bodega: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

La historia de la Veuve Clicquot, conocida en todo el mundo como la Veuve (la viuda), es la historia de Madame Clicquot.

Nicole Barbe Ponsardin nació en 1777, pocos años después de la fundación, en 1772, de la casa Clicquot en la Champagne. Esta singular mujer de 1,47 mts. de estatura, marcó su época. Conocida al fin de sus días como la Gran Dame de la Champagne, vivió casi hasta los noventa años y llegó a ser la primera mujer de negocios de los tiempos modernos.

En esa época la región de la Champagne se dedicaba mayormente a la producción textil, pero a principios del siglo XVIII algunos productores comenzaron a elaborar vino espumoso. La familia Clicquot comenzó con este negocio, como dijimos, en 1772. La casa Clicquot no fue la primera que produjo vinos espumosos pero sí es una de las más antiguas. Philippe Clicquot, el fundador, tuvo un hijo, Francois, quien se casó con Nicole Barbe Ponsardin en 1799. El casamiento se llevó a cabo en la bodega, a 20 metros bajo tierra, en las cavas. En realidad se casaron allí porque, con motivo de las guerras, las iglesias estaban cerradas.

Cinco años después, Francois contrae fiebre amarilla y muere, quedando Nicole viuda. Philippe Clicquot, muy apenado, quiso cerrar la bodega. Madame Clicquot, contra la opinión de toda la familia, insistió hasta que logró hacerse cargo de la Casa Clicquot. En aquellos tiempos, ninguna mujer se ocupaba de negocios, y mucho menos en el mundo del vino.

Pese a todo, en primer lugar amplió la superficie existente. Tuvo la habilidad de comprar viñedos excelentes. Los nueve viñedos originales que comprara la viuda están clasificados en la actualidad como de 100% de calidad.

Otro de sus grandes logros fue iniciar la exportación de los vinos de la Champagne. La cosa fue así: a causa del bloqueo inglés se habían agotado las existencias de champagne en toda Rusia; cuando el bloqueo fue levantado el viajante de la viuda llegó a la tierra de los zares con un barco cargado de Champagne, justo en el momento en el que el Zar celebraba el nacimiento de un hijo, el cual fue festejado con Veuve Clicquot. Lo apodaron Clicvske y de ahí en más fue el preferido en Rusia, donde tuvo una gran participación en el mercado hasta la revolución Bolchevique. Posteriormente, la exportación de la Veuve Clicquot se extendió a todos los mercados.

Cuando la viuda se hizo cargo de la bodega contaba tan sólo con 27 años. Quince años más tarde hizo poner etiquetas en las botellas (el champagne antes no llevaba etiquetas, fue un invento de ella).

Vender en esa época era muy difícil. El viajante de Veuve Clicquot se dio cuenta de que todas las casas de San Petersburgo eran amarillas. Por eso pidió que hicieran las etiquetas amarillas para honrarlos, incrementando notablemente las ventas. Hoy la etiqueta amarilla es una de las más distintivas en los escaparates del mundo.

Madame Clicquot no sólo compró los mejores viñedos y comenzó con la exportación, sino que también mejoró el método Champenoise. Antes de su época el champagne era turbio; así se servía. Madame Clicquot, molesta por ese aspecto que le daban los sedimentos, comenzó a experimentar hasta que descubrió que poniendo las botellas en pupitres, inclinadas e invertidas, girándolas 1/8 de vuelta cada día, se lograba acumular el sedimento en el gollete y luego era posible extraerlo al cambiar el corcho, de la manera que ya hemos explicado en otros artículos. Los pupitres y el movimiento giratorio con las botellas inclinadas también es invento de Madame Clicquot. Una vez extraído el corcho se procede al dosaje. Hasta ese momento todos los champagnes son secos. El agregado del licor de expedición sirve para reponer el líquido que se pierde al cambiar el corcho y además agregar una cantidad de azúcar para darle el dulzor que corresponda. El champagne Brut lleva unos 15 gramos de azúcar por litro y el Demi-sec unos 40 gramos. Originalmente todos los champagnes era Demi-sec, el Brut apareció a fines del siglo pasado por influencia de los ingleses, que fueron siempre grandes consumidores y querían tomar champagne con las comidas.

Comparto la nota de cata del yellow label brut, con su color amarillo pajizo con burbuja fina. Intenso y agradable en nariz, despliega notas de fruta (albaricoque, melocotón) y bollería (pasteles de vainilla). Sutiles recuerdos minerales. Bien equilibrado y agradable frescura en boca, con una estructura frutal notable. Final muy cremoso.

Para los amantes de los espumante,  Veuve Clicquot es hoy una de las marcas más reconocidas a nivel mundial. A pesar de su gran poder de guarda, es tiempo de descorchar!!

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