We have the Brits to thank – or to blame, depending on your palate – for the abundance of bone-dry bubbly in our Champagne flutes. In the 1800s, when the iconic maisons of Champagne were making their name in the world of wine, sweet bubbly was in vogue, from Russia to the Rhine. When the English aristocracy began demanding a drier style, “brut” Champagne took over and sweet wines were shown the door.

Now, with the recent launch of Veuve Clicquot RICH, this famed Champagne house in Reims is turning back the clock. “RICH is a tribute to the origins of Champagne,” says Laurent Boidevezi, the dapper international director of Veuve Clicquot. Global trends show our palates are moving back towards richer, more voluptuous Champagnes, says Boidevezi. Case in point? Moët & Chandon’s sweeter Nectar Impérial is the top-selling Champagne in SA.


Laurent Boidevezi
Laurent Boidevezi

While the two marques may appeal to different target markets, Veuve Clicquot’s new release is aimed at the same status-aware palates that find brut Champagne a step too dry. RICH is made from the same base wine used for Veuve Clicquot’s popular demi-sec Champagne, but with a more generous helping of dosage liqueur it offers a sweeter, more rounded, experience on the palate. 

“Sugar in Champagne is like spices in a recipe; used correctly it can bring out specific aromas,” says Veuve Clicquot cellar master Dominique Demarville, who also toned down the Chardonnay and gave RICH a higher proportion of Pinot Meunier to enhance the fresh, fruity character of the Pinot Noir-dominated Champagne. RICH is also “the first Champagne dedicated to mixology,” says Boidevezi. “The aim was to enhance the taste of Veuve Clicquot while playing with other ingredients.” 

Those ingredients can turn a simple glass of bubbly  into a colourful summer occasion on ice: add slices of bell pepper or cucumber for freshness, grapefruit and pineapple for fruity acidity, or pour it gently through Earl Grey tea for a floral hint of bergamot. “The idea is to give a more playful experience. Not to replace any Champagne occasion, but to create new occasions for lovers of Veuve Clicquot,” says Boidevezi, who adds that RICH is also about keeping the 243-yearold marque relevant with a younger audience. “We don’t want to forget the tradition, but it’s important to bring some innovation to the world of Champagne.” Veuve Clicquot RICH is available at 54 on Bath and Cocoon 
Lounge in Joburg. rich.veuve-clicquot.com

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