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Valentine’s Day and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

 In a week, it will be time for Valentine’s Day. It’s actually one of my favorite days of the year, as it affords me the opportunity to let my loved ones know how I feel about them, and it’s also a great excuse to drink champagne.

The perfect beverage for Valentine’s Day is champagne. It is literally a bottled celebration. I refer to my favorite champagne simply as Yellow Label, but it is more commonly known as Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. It is comprised of mostly pinot noir, and includes a smattering of pinot meunier and chardonnay. It is referred to as a brut non-vintage champagne, and is, therefore, the most reasonably priced champagne in the Veuve Clicquot lineup. It is widely available in grocery stores around the country, and typically retails for about $40, but what a way to spend $40! Every bottle of Yellow Label signals a party, with its steady and strong flow of perfectly round bubbles, its unforgettable nose displaying seductive notes of baking bread and fresh green apples, and its luminescent straw color.

The Veuve (French for widow) in Veuve Clicquot represents Madame Clicquot, a widow who ran Veuve Clicquot with ample business acumen and an iron fist. She led her champagne house to world-renowned notoriety, and, though she died in the late 1800s, her imprimatur of quality reigns to this day. It’s hard to conceive of a champagne house more successful and consistent than Veuve Clicquot.

I’m also quite partial to the Grande Dame Veuve Clicquot, a vintage champagne that is priced higher and is more difficult to find than Yellow Label. It is breathtaking in its beauty, strength, and bouquet. The perfect marriage of minerality, floral notes (especially star jasmine), fruit notes, and yeastiness combine to make this a truly enjoyable and sexy champagne.

If you want a color-coordinated Valentine’s Day, you’d be well served to buy the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé. This champagne house was the first to produce a champagne rosé in 1775, and to this day, they do it the best. This is also a non-vintage champagne and is, therefore, more affordable than the Grande Dame. It comes in a lovely pink bottle and goes perfectly with that bouquet of red roses. I like to give unpredictable Valentine’s Day gifts and so pair the Ponsardin Rosé with a pink African Violet instead of the more common bouquet of red roses, but both work just as well.

It’s easy to pair champagne with food; it tends to go with just about anything. I don’t mean to undermine champagne’s gorgeousness, but it really does pair as well with Thai or Mexican food as it does with caviar. If you want to bring a bottle to dinner with your sweetheart, there’s no need to be intimidated by a potential food and wine pairing fiasco. I’ve yet to find a food that doesn’t go well with champagne. Yet, there are some foods that pair so perfectly with bubbly that they almost seem meant for one another. I would add oysters on ice, caviar, or freshly picked raspberries to that list.

However you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, try to make some time for at least one glass of Veuve. It’s a beverage that was made for lovers.

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