No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Iconic Photo: Photo 24

Veuve Cliquot Champagne cap
featuring the image of Madame Cliquot

image found on flickr by claude...

Widowed at the age of 27, in the year 1805, Madame (Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin) Veuve Cliquot took over her husband's wine business. She had a strong skill with wine, and turned out too to be a talented business woman. Under her direction the wine company developed an early form of champagne, thus revolutionizing the wine industry, and bringing joy to the hearts of innumerable future generations (read here: me and a number of my dear friends).

Prior to Madame Cliquot's intervention, champagne was a very sweet, cloudy, and large bubbled wine drink with a lot of yeast sediment remaining in the bottle. Madame Cliquot developed a technique of putting the wine bottles upside down during the second fermentation so that the yeast sediment would gather and settle into the bottle neck. Then, after adequate time, the neck of the bottle would be near-frozen so that theyeast and surrounding wine would turn into a plug that could be simply removed upon opening the bottle. A touch of wine to replace what was removed would be added, and voila! a less sweet, less cloudy, no sediment, smaller bubbled version of the drink was made.

Her invention changed the face of the wine industry, and her bold business dealings took over a region. Madame Cliquot was impressively successful at a time when women were rarely seen at such a level of independence and wealth. The champagne company Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin still bears her name.

(For those of you that don't know: Veuve means "Widow" in French. So the name "Veuve Cliquot" is literally Widow Cliquot. Her maiden name, however, was Ponsardin.)

To read more about Madame Cliquot, and wonderfully too about champagne:

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