After Dom Pérignon’s refinements in Champagne production during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, there was still quite a bit of work to be done to perfect this Heavenly liquid.
After the Dom’s passing, unknown vintners continued tweaking the Champagne process, perfecting the blending of the grapes, using thicker glass for the bottles (to prevent explosions) and purposefully aging and bottling to create the best effervescence.
One problem remained, however: Champagne requires a second, in-bottle fermentation, when the flavors and bubbles are really refined. This part of the process leaves a sediment in the bottles, which, if disturbed, could make the Champagne cloudy and allow the loss of some of the effervescence.
Enter, Nicole Barbe Cicquot Ponsardin, who inherited the Champagne house of Clicquot, when her husband passed away in 1806. She is credited with the creation of a process called riddling–a method of removing sediment from Champagne bottles.
The widow renamed the house of Clicquot “Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin,” after herself (veuve means widow.) While we have many women vintners, these days, the Veuve Clicquot is certainly an important pioneer.
Need I suggest that we open a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to toast the widow???