The 170-year-old Veuve Clicquot expected to fetch a five-figure sum at auction next week can only be recommended for ‘historical interest, not pleasure,’ Champagne expert Tom Sevenson says….
Stevenson, who tasted the Veuve Clicquot along with wine journalists and Veuve Clicquot’s chef de cave Dominique Demarville, said it ‘reeked of horse manure’.
Stevenson […] said the palate was ‘distinctly sweet, with more orchard fruits than citrus, and a perfect balance of acidity…I was struck by [its] youthful simplicity.’
I expect there will be many people who will want a taste of history; I don't blame them, I certainly wanted to taste this wine and it is at least drinkable in the sense that it is not harmful. ‘However, potential bidders should be under no illusion as to what these Champagnes smell like.’
Empty glasses, Stevenson added, ‘continued to stink for a long while’.
Richard Juhlin of auctioneers Artcurial, in charge of the 8 June sale, said he preferred to call the smell ‘cheese’ or, more specifically, ‘brie de meaux’; in the auction catalogue he describes the aromas as ‘floral and citrus’.
Demarville agreed the aroma was strong and was certainly due to reduction. ‘We will work with the University of Reims to identify some of the specific aromas. The aroma for me is of wild animal mixed with milky and seared toffee, behind which we find chestnut, honey and polish.’
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