The Tennessean’s managing partner, Nick Cazana, with Kristin Grove.
It would be hard to imagine a more appropriate spot in Knoxville than The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel to stage a tasting of Veuve Clicquot, everybody’s (it seems) favorite champagne.
The hotel, not even a year old, used the event to introduce guests to three different locations in the venue: the beautiful Drawing Room bar, the elegant Board Room and the curiosity-piquing Governor’s Suite, the stunning hotel room that rents for $3,000 per night.
“My purpose is to make memories,” stated Edmund Amoye, market manager for Tennessee and Kentucky for Veuve’s parent company, Moët Hennessy USA. And that, he did. Guests tasted five different bottles of Veuve Clicquot, learned a little of the legendary brand’s history and soaked in the elegance of The Tennessean.
A couple of things we learned:
- “Veuve” rhymes with “love.” Many of us thought it rhymed with “move.” “I won’t correct you if you pronounce it the other way,” Amoye chuckled. “But the correct pronunciation rhymes with ‘love.'”
- Don’t drink champagne out of a flute. Drink it from a regular wine glass. Why? An important part of enjoying champagne — or any wine — is the aroma. And you can’t fit your nose into a champagne flute!
Here’s a bottle of Veuve Clicquot’s famous “Yellow Label.” It is non-vintage, meaning it contains grapes from several years’ harvests — not just those from a particular year.
Here’s some good news. As part of the partnership that made this event possible, The Tennessean was given a Perlage system, which will allow The Drawing Room to keep an open bottle of champagne fresh for up to two weeks and, therefore, to offer Veuve Clicquot by the glass.
In 1772, Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded in Reims, France, the establishment that would eventually become the house of Veuve Clicquot. His son, Francois Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1798, but he died just six years later. Barbe-Nicole, then just 27, convinced her father-in-law, who had intended to shut down the whole operation, to let her run it. And Veuve Clicquot — “veuve” means “widow” in French — eventually became hugely successful and renowned. Veuve Clicquot made the first rose champagne. And Madame Clicquot is credited with inventing “riddling,” the process by which champagne is clarified.
Anyway, you’ve probably seen Veuve Clicquot’s famous “Yellow Label” (it looks orange to me, but it universally is referred to as yellow) in popular culture. It is featured in several movies including “Casablanca” and “Babette’s Feast”; it was mentioned in “Downton Abbey”; and fictional secret agent James Bond drank it in three of the novels Ian Fleming wrote about him.
The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel & Residences at sunset. There are 12 private condominiums on the top two floors. (Photo by Pam Rhoades.)
The restful Drawing Room before guests arrived for the tasting event.
Yep. The “Yellow Label” was poured. Here’s a hint we learned. Want more bubbles in your champagne? Put little scratches (etching) in the bottom of your wine glass. That makes more bubbles!
Claire Koellhoffer bringing the goods!
From left, Shawn Poynter, Dale Mackey and David Williams enjoying the first glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label in The Drawing Room.
Jo Davis and Rocky Ryan.
Cindy and Scott Briggs enjoying some sustenance.
Lots of interesting snacks for pairing with the bubbly.
Smoked trout canapes.
You can’t go wrong with shrimp cocktail!
Susan and Bob Hawthorne with Edmund Amoye, market manager of Veuve’s parent company, Moët Hennessey.
Soon, it was time to move across the hall to the Board Room, which is available for rent.
Standing, from left, Shawn Poynter, David Williams and Dale Mackey. Seated, from left, Carrie Russell, Andrea McDowell and Renee Sprouse.
Our first taste here was the Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec, which is slightly sweet. I loved it.
Then came rose, first invented in 1818 by Madame Clicquot who simply added some red wine to her Yellow Label. Isn’t it pretty?
Here’s its bottle.
Kyle Hagerty, left, manager of The Drawing Room, and Edmund Amoye. (Photo by Pam Rhoades.)
Tamara Warner, left, with Allyn Purvis Schwartz. (Photo by Pam Rhoades.)
John Turley, who lives part-time in one of the residences at The Tennessean, with Shaun Fulco of Moxley Carmichael.
Next stop: the Governor’s Suite. I think David Williams is excited about this!
Nick Cazana welcomes guests to the Governor’s Suite.
It’s very impressive, as Dale Mackey will attest.
Chris Britton brings out our next tasting.
It was Veuve Clicquot 2008, a year the harvest was said to have been exceptional. I have to say, as much as I like regular Yellow Label, this one made me forget it!
Scott Bird of Moxley Carmichael enjoying both the Veuve and the Governor’s Suite.
Pam Rhoades, Moxley Carmichael’s digital storyteller, doing her job. Disclosure: The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel is a client of Moxley Carmichael.
Stacey Williams, left, and Julie Mannino. (Photo by Pam Rhoades.)
Edmund Amoye tells us about our final bottle, La Grande Dame 2006, named for the widow Clicquot herself.
It costs between $150 and $200 per bottle. It’s delicious.
Chris Britton had set up his station in the lovely dining room of the Governor’s Suite.
Nick, left, and Justin Cazana. (Nick said it took him a while to select his tie for the evening. He was looking for one that matched the color of Yellow Label!)
Kyle Hagerty says goodbye to guests, from left, Renee Sprouse, Carrie Russell and Andrea McDowell. (Photo by Pam Rhoades.)