To the eye, a pale gold-green color with brilliant reflections that are typical of the vintage. Effervescence is delicate and extremely steady.
On the nose, 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.
Although La Grande Dame is still a long way from its peak, this wine constitutes an apéritif of exception.
La Grande Dame 1995 is based on a blend of eight Grands Crus traditionally used for this wine. The blend is dominated by Pinot Noir grapes (62.5%), which come from Ay in the vallée De la Marne, and Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay and Bouzy in the Montage de Reims. The Chardonnay grapes, (37.5%) come from vineyard plots in Avize, Oger, and Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs.
Appetizers: Smoked, cured products, Shellfish (lobster, oysters), Fish (Saint Pierre, Sea bass).
Starters: Monkfish Scallops.
Dry cheese (Goat cheese): Crystallised citrus fruits.
Deep but youthfully unevolved aromas of toffee apple, lemon and mint. Penetrating, rich and thick, with a deep, yeasty, baked bread component. At once brisk and seamless but brooding more than expressive today. Finishes long, dry and backward. This may ultimately merit a score in the mid-90s.
— Stephen Tanzer
92/100 (November 2002)
The Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame 1995 Vintage is one of my favourite Champagnes, so underrated yet so fantastic. Smooth and vibrant at the peak of drinking time, pastry, apricot, pear, apple, mango, all these wonderful sensations with just enough bubbles to remind you that you are drinking Champagne! Slight floral and subtle spice aromas while remaining perfectly balanced and precise.
Having enjoyed several bottles over the years I have found that my favourite food pairing is Sushi Tempura Makis, and Sashimi of Tuna and Salmon. For dessert apple pie and vanilla ice cream is divine.
97+/100 (June 2016)