In 1799, at the age of 21, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin married Francois Clicquot, the son of a Reims
wool merchant and vintner. After his untimely death in 1805, she was left, at 27, with a five year old daughter and became known as the Veuve Clicquot.
Barbe-Nicole set about expanding
her small, local champagne business into the internationally-regarded
drink and brand
it is now. She did this by revolutionizing Champagne production, developing the ‘method Champenoise’
as it is known today, and with her chef de caves Antoin Mueller, created the riddling rack.
Hers was the first Champagne at the Czar’s court in Russia, after Napoleon’s blockade fell in 1811, cementing its place in history. The subject of the excellent book The Widow Clicquot
, Barbe-Nicole later became known as La Grande Dame
(YouTube, and you may want to turn down the sound) is known as ‘Yellow Label,’
due to it’s distinctive yellow-orange label, but this was not always so
. Barbe-Nicole is also famous for her advice
to a great-granddaughter:
The world is in perpetual motion and we must invent the things of tomorrow. One must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. Act with audacity.
In 2010, a shipwreck was found in the Baltic, with still-sealed bottles of ’The Widow’ inside. Previously on Metafilter
Veuve Clicquot is a subsidiary of LVMH, which owns a few other Champagne houses.
Previously on MetaFilter: The Night They Invented Champagne
Finally, you can impress and scare your friends by opening a bottle of champagne with a sword, known as ‘sabreage.’ Previously on MetaFilter, from 2009
, and 2001