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Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1996

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La Grande Dame 1996 is a pale gold-green color with brilliant reflections that are typical of the vintage. Effervescence is delicate and extremely steady. On the nose this wine is exceptionally elegant. Dominant floral notes (mint and white flowers) mingle with hints of fresh fruit (citrus fruits, fresh almonds). As it undergoes aeration, riper notes of vanilla and nougat come to the fore, giving a pleasant roundness to the wine. At this stage a typical Chardonnay characteristic, crisp elegance, clearly prevails over aromatic strength. In the mouth, the Pinot Noir reveals its true personality. Fruity notes (white peaches, grapefruit and bergamot) dominate an energetic attack on the palate, which is prolonged by the structure and roundedness of the wine. The balance, a combination of freshness and vigour, is ideal. With a finish that is extremely persistent and clean, mineral notes add force to this noble wine.
Category Sparkling Wine
Country France
Region Champagne
Appellation Bouzy
Brand Veuve Clicquot
Alcohol/vol 12.5%
  • st95

International Wine CellarDeep, highly complex aromas of citrus skin, nutmeg, porcini mushroom, toasted almond and clove. Rich, dry and impressively deep; superconcentrated and oily. A chewy, spicy Champagne that seemed to grow fresher as it opened in the glass. Really explosive on the aftertaste, finishing with a clinging quality and powerful spicy, nutty flavors. A major mouthful of Champagne, at its best at the dinner table. Displays the combination of high ripeness and high acidity of this vintage at its best. This thick, rich, very powerful wine is still a bit youthfully disorganized and will be even better for a few years of additional aging. One of the standouts of my recent tastings.

Stephen Tanzer, November 2004
  • wa95

Wine AdvocateTightly-packed with notes of citrus oil, orange rind, white peach, honeysuckle, and brioche, the medium to full-bodied 1996 La Grande Dame Brut should age well for 15-20 years. Crisp, fresh, and backward, it is another brilliant example from the exquisite 1996 vintage.

Robert Parker, December 2005
  • ws91

Wine SpectatorFloral, citrus, berry and whole-grain bread notes permeate this intense, well-toned Champagne. It's pleasantly grainy in texture on the long, satisfying finish. Drink now through 2008.

  • we91

Wine EnthusiastIn five years, this rating may look conservative, as this wine seems to have the building blocks upon which to age well. Right now, it's tight and citrusy, with some riper pear notes and a creamy midpalate. Expect this to develop richer toast and nut nuances, and for the grapefruity finish to soften and become more harmonious.

Joe Czerwinski, December 1, 2004