Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier French Champagnes, Reims France
A Champagne House is ultimately judged on the quality of non-Vintage Brut. It is in the making of such a wine that the fine art of Champagne is revealed and where Veuve Clicquot excels. An assemblage of fruit from as many as sixty different Crus, Yellow Label reflects stately vineyards and consistency of style from year to year. The predominance of Pinot Noir provides the structure that is so typically Clicquot, while a touch of Pinot Meunier rounds out the blend. Chardonnay adds the elegance and finesse essential in a perfectly balanced wine.
It is the pursuit of excellence, a devotion to the art of Methode Traditionelle and the exceptional quality of fruit which are the fundamentals. Traditionally Pinot Noir dominates the cepage followed by Chardonnay and a fifth of Pinot Meunier, depending on the conditions of vintage. The Cellar Master has to achieve the total consistency of taste, which makes Brut Yellow Label so immediately recognisable, so utterly reliable in terms of quality, palate and bouquet. He will draw on priceless reserve wines, sometimes as much as 40% to ensure the continuity of style. Each of these older wines, perhaps nine years old, is kept separately to preserve the unique qualities of the vineyard and vintage.
Yellow Label looks beautiful, golden yellow with a foaming necklace of tiny bubbles. Next it is so pleasing to the nose, initially reminiscent of white fruits and raisin, then of vanilla and later of brioche. Note the fine balance between the distinct fruit characters of the three varietals and the toasty aromas from ageing in the bottle. The first sip delivers all the freshness and forcefulness of Yellow Label with a symphony of fruit tastes close behind. Here is a true member of the powerful Brut family, well structured, admirably vinous. The lingering bouquet seems to echo, each fruit and every spice note is distinct. Yellow Label manages to reconcile two opposing factors, forcefulness and finesse, and to hold them in perfect balance.