Now that we’ve mixed 1 part design into the bowl, we’re going to move onto the second ingredient — let’s add one part ambiance. Just the second ingredient in the four-ingredient recipe, it was the most eye-opening component of my Veuve Clicquot experience last week. My choosing of “ambiance” as a vital ingredient in the overall recipe that is the Veuve Clicquot brand was predicated on the idea that a luxury Champagne brand must act the part — it must not conduct business in a vacuum. The incredible flavors that emerge from the bottle don’t appear out of thin air — they are created and caused by the process, by nature, by people. In this rather photo-heavy post, I hope I can at least skim the surface of the ambiance within and surrounding the Veuve Clicquot brand as I experienced it. After the jump are just some of the sights and circumstances that epitomize the yellow label.

For our first night in Paris, we were treated to lots of Champagne and amazing cuisine aboard this river boat. A perfect way to see the River Seine, the Eiffel Tower all lit up in blue… and how could I forget the Veuve Clicquot + Riva collaboration I told you about yesterday? If you strain hard enough, you can see the Cruise Collection flipped open in the center of the photo, below…


View from the back of the river boat, Eiffel Tower in the background…


Notre Dame Cathedral–the Paris version…

Just one of the many courses we ate in Reims to properly learn the character of the VC Champagnes (photo courtesy of Xavier Lavictoire)…



Verzy Mansion in Reims–aka Madame Clicquot’s Crib…



Looking out toward the Verzy Vinyard where some of VC’s most prestigious grapes were nearly ripe for the late September harvest…

They took us up in helicopters to check out hectres upon hectres of VC grapes. Here’s a bird’s eye view of Madame Clicquot's historic Boursault Castle. When she built it, she was the richest woman in all of Europe. Now, when something really special happens within the VC organization, they’ll throw a party there. Need I say more?


Chateau Les Crayéres in Reims: our humble abode for one memorable night…


When in Reims, we cruised around in this 1966 Bentley S3–it belongs to Edouard de Nazelle, the Veuve Clicquot Ambassador who is a direct descendant of one of Madame Clicquot’s business partners, and who (to the best of my memory) purchased the car from a famous French singer in the 1970′s. Suffice to say all eyes were on us in Reims that day…


Deep in the heart of the Notre Dame de Rheims Cathedral, where the French kings were knighted, these statues seemed to be on guard. The cathedral almost met its match during WWI, when it was shelled so badly that it took a hefty donation from John D. Rockefeller and years of renovation to be restored…



Within the Rheims Cathedral, there was plenty of beautiful stained glass — especially up on the 30 meter high walkway that historian Patrick Demouy led us to…

Deep underground in Reims, there are over 20 kilometers (I’m pretty sure it’s 23) of tunnels comprising the Veuve Clicquot cellars. With newly implemented artistic lighting by Franck Franjou and various homages to VC’s heritage throughout — including these casks displaying the names of VC’s most excellent vineyards — it was the single most impressive (read: eclectic) place I visited on the trip (a perfect 52 F. down there)…


The staircase of the Veuve Clicquot vintage years rose from the cellars back up to ground level from the cool, humid depths …

In the VC archives, there are ledgers and other correspondence dating back to the late 1700′s — thanks to painstaking record keeping practices, the VC archives were some of the only ones in the Champagne region to survive WWI…