Continuing the trend towards drier Champagnes with little to no dosage, Veuve Clicquot today released its first Extra Brut Extra Old cuveé in the U.K. Via Telegraph.co.uk, the Extra Brut Extra Old contains only 3 g/l sugar. It is also made entirely from vintage reserves: 1988, 1996, 2006, 2008 and 2010. This sets it apart from the flagship Yellow Label Champagne, which only contains 30-45% reserve wine.
According to Veuve Clicquot cellar master Dominique Demarville, the new Champagne needs less dosage because it has richer flavors from a longer, 6 year aging period. With 3 years on its lees and an additional 3 years in bottle, the Extra Brut Extra old has a greater depth of flavor and creamier mouthfeel.
The early word on Extra Brut Extra Old includes 95 points from Decanter, with tasting notes including intense aromas, peach, spiced lemon, and a soft, mellow texture with fine effervescence.
With global warming, we should expect more major Champagne houses to release low- to zero-dosage wines in the near future. Across the board, Champagne makers are seeing earlier harvests, with grapes often ripening more fully. This makes a higher dosage less necessary to counterbalance the acidity of the grapes. Others are favoring a lower dosage simply out of pride — less sugar allows a Champagne to more fully express its unique terroir, and the skill of a winemaker to truly shine through.
Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old appears to be retailing for £70 in the U.K. (approx. $89 in the U.S.). While it doesn’t yet appear to be available Stateside, we’ll be keeping a close eye out!