If you Google “Veuve Clicquot” you’ll find shopping links for this brand of fine French champagne.
But the Veuve Clicquot was an actual person, a woman, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, who led an international company through a terribly chaotic period in French history.
In an arranged marriage that united two wine-producing families, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin married Francois Cliquot. When he died in 1805, she persuaded her father-in-law to allow her to run the family winery. (Veuve means widow.) She was only twenty-seven.
Along the way she invented a process of riddling, removing sediment to produce a crystal-clear champagne. Bottles are racked at an angle and turned daily so that sediment flows into the necks and can be removed in the next stage of processing.
The Veuve Clicquot’s story and her champagne provided inspiration for my work in progress, a story I’m writing for the Bluestocking Belles collection coming in autumn 2023. Stay tuned–I’ll blog more about this at a later date!
Meanwhile, do link to the short article about Barbe-Nicole. Her life was focused but fascinating!
Images are from Wikimedia Commons. The illustration of riddling is courtesy of the Lordprice Collection via Creative Commons.