This is how they describe it: “Born of a tradition of excellence and the weight of time, the prestigious Grande Dame is the ultimate expression of the Veuve Clicquot style. Ethereal, free and original, the Grande Dame teases aficionados with its rarity, making an appearance only when nature offers a concordance of perfect conditions. This work of art has given command performances for the most demanding connoisseurs in the form of exceptional Brut vintages in 1995, 1996 and 1998, and Rosé vintages in 1995 and 1998. After an extremely rude winter, followed by a very dry spring and summer, the 1996 harvest conditions were excellent. Never in the memory of Champagne had such a balance of maturity and freshness been seen before. The 1996 vintage is, without a doubt, one of the most vibrant, near-perfect expressions of La Grande Dame.The basic blend is made up of 2/3 of Pinot Noir and 1/3 of Chardonnay, sourced exclusively from eight of the Grands Crus purchased by Madame Clicquot respectively Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay, Bouzy and Aÿ for the Pinot Noir and Avize, le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger for the Chardonnay. La Grande Dame 1996 has a golden robe highlighted with pale green. The wine is crystal clear with a tiny, light bubbles. The first nose is rich and intense with a bouquet of fresh fruit and nuts. Aerating the wine unveils notes of toasted brioche and minerals. The impressive aromatic complexity is confirmed in the mouth. The balance of strength and elegance is perfect. The mouth is generous and silky. La Grande Dame 1996 offers an explosive finish, seemingly unending. When aerated, the wine continues to develop, unveiling all its nobility: a remarkable presage for the future.”
Clear bright medium+ lemon color wine with some golden hues, small bubbles with long persistence. Clean on the nose with medium+ intensity aromas suggesting fresh dough, biscuit, toast, yeast, grapefruit, minerality, wet stones, orange, lime, peach, apricot, lees, green apple, brioche, bread, honeysuckle, nectarine and pear. A still developing nose. Dry on the palate with high acidity, medium alcohol, medium+ body, pronounced flavor intensity displaying fresh dough, biscuit, toast, yeast, grapefruit, orange, lime, peach, apricot, lees, green apple, brioche, bread, honeysuckle, nectarine and pear. This wine balances a well-defined, expressive fruit with a lively acidity and with a delicate mousse that gives an outstanding sensory experience. Long finish. Outstanding quality wine with structure, balance between fruit and acidity, great concentration and complexity, long length and typical of an amazing champagne. Great to drink now but it can be kept for another 20 years. A gift to have.