The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

The Widow Clicquot The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It The Widow Clicquot is the New York Times bestselling business biography of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire became a legend in her tumultuous times and showed the world how to

  • Title: The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It
  • Author: Tilar J. Mazzeo
  • ISBN: 9780061288562
  • Page: 496
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Widow Clicquot is the New York Times bestselling business biography of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, became a legend in her tumultuous times, and showed the world how to live with style Tilar J Mazzeo brings to life the woman behind the label, Barbe Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, in this utterly intoxicating book that is as much a fascinating joThe Widow Clicquot is the New York Times bestselling business biography of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, became a legend in her tumultuous times, and showed the world how to live with style Tilar J Mazzeo brings to life the woman behind the label, Barbe Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, in this utterly intoxicating book that is as much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered and fascinating woman.

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      Posted by:Tilar J. Mazzeo
      Published :2020-04-09T04:22:42+00:00

    About "Tilar J. Mazzeo"

    1. Tilar J. Mazzeo

      Tilar J Mazzeo is a cultural historian, biographer, and passionate student of wine and food culture She divides her time among the California wine country, New York City, and Maine, where she is a professor of English at Colby College from the author s website


    1. Luvly bubbly!"Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!", Dom Perignon, the cellar master of the ancient hillside abbey in the village of Hautvillers in the 1660s allegedly called out when his still wine developed unwanted bubbles. For many years he tried to find the source of his wine going 'bad'. Wine makers in the seventeenth century had a less charitable phrase for it. They called the bubbly vintage 'Devil's wine'. Nobody in France wanted fizzy wines. Yeux de crapaud. Frogs eyes, it was called. [...]

    2. I had no idea champagne was this fascinating. I enjoyed the history and development of this remarkable ebullient indulgence, than I did her story.

    3. Thin. Based largely on speculation, this book would have made a much better historical novel than biography. Little actual information is known about Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, so Mazzeo filled in based upon the known history of France (and the rest of Europe) in the 1800s. The details about the history of the wine industry made up most of the solid information and were interesting, but the book was supposed to be about more than that--Ponsardin and the rise of Veuve Clicquot. Additionally, for com [...]

    4. At the face of it, this seems like a good long biography. Until you realize that you've never seen more 'perhaps'es, 'likely's, 'surely's, 'must have's, and on and on, in one place in your life. More that 90% of this book is the author imagining the widow Clicquot's life from little tiny details she gleaned from here and there. 3+ "perhaps" per page is a conservative estimate, not including all the other fluffy imagination words. And yet Mazzeo still tries to present this as nonfictional biograp [...]

    5. Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin was born in Reims, France, in 1777. She was plain, yet her merchant father married her to the wealthy young Francois Clicquot, a man of her class. With ample support, Francois and his wife took over his family's languishing wine business. They hired a brilliant salesman, Louis Bohne, who persuaded Russians that they should buy Clicquot. Still the couple struggled, set back by wars (which got in the way of commerce) and weather (which was alternately too hot for stored wine [...]

    6. Interesting premise but the author's writing style was distracting, writing in the first person in odd places. It reminded me of episodes of Saved by the Bell in which Zach would turn to the camera as though no one else was there. The story could have been told better in the hands of another.

    7. Fascinating history of Clicquot Ponsardin champagne house and the Veuve (Widow) Clicquot. Unfortunately, very little of the Widow's letters, diary, etc. survived and so the author had to use a tremendous amount of indirect information to construct the personal history of Barbe Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot. She did a great job with the limited resources available. And the history of the rise of Champagne is fascinating.

    8. One must enjoy observing the reaction of a Frenchman while reading out loud: "In fact, the idea that Dom Pérignon invented champagne was always just imaginative marketing. It was a brilliant but misleading pitch. () Most wine experts now believe that the British were converting their barrels of imported wine from the region around Reims - wine with a natural tendency to fizz easily - into sparkling champagne by the 1670s, a full decade before the wine was first produced in France." Amazing stor [...]

    9. After Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin and François Clicquot are married, they begin trying to enlarge and enhance the Clicquot family's sparkling wine business, until then a small sideline income for the family. Francois is determined to open up exports to Russia and beyond, and after his untimely death Barbe-Nicole carries on his work. Over a period of years and despite many setbacks, she succeeds in creating the Champagne empire we know today as Veuve Clicquot.While this is a fascinating book in theor [...]

    10. I love historical novels and this one was good for me because we were in Champagne last summer. I wish I had read this before we went because I would have tried to find the places written about here. It is the story of a very industrious, bright and determined woman to continue and prosper in the wine making business her husband left her with. Needless to say, this was not a time of women owned businesses! She was very young when she was widowed. In the process of making a go of the business, sh [...]

    11. I think the best way to describe what this book is about is to use a quote from a letter Madame Clicquot wrote to her great grand daughter "I am going to tell you a secret you more than anyone resemble me. you who have such audacity. It is a precious quality that has been very useful to me in the course of my long life to dare things before others I am called today the grand lady Champagne! Look around you, this chateau, these unfaltering hills, I can be bolder than you realise. The world is i [...]

    12. If you've ever looked at the bright yellow label and wondered if there really was a Veuve Clicquot rather than a marketing creation, the answer is oui--Barb-Nicole, bourgeois survivor of the French Revolution, bankrupt widow and winemaking genius was not just a real person, but a revolutionizer of 19th century industry. While managing vineyards and negotiating the every changing political allegiances of France, she also invented labels and international name recognition, a secret method for stor [...]

    13. Wow! What a little-known, hardly realized story of a woman who almost singlehandedly launched an international luxury brand. Unfortunately, since not much is known of the Widow Clicquot's intimate life details, Mazzeo incorporates a lot of speculation making this story at times seem more like a novel. But she grounds any speculation in reality and gives good reasoning for the conclusions she makes. Aside from learning about Barbe-Nicole, this is also a great overall history of champagne. I learn [...]

    14. I actually doublly enjoyed this book because I drank Clicquot along with the book! Learning about the Widow Clicquot and the challenges she and France faces with Napoleon and the ups and downs of the crops was amazing. Barne-Nicole Clicuot is the ultimate model of a successful woman! Clicquot surged the champagne market to depths higher and mightier than you can imagine. Russia to America she created a luxury product that bubbles today!!! A must read if in to French history and/or culinary type [...]

    15. If you've ever enjoyed a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne, or seen it in a wine shop, you may have noticed the distinctive yellow coloring on the label. Tilar J. Mazzeo has incorporated that shade into the cover of her fascinating, narrative non-fiction book THE WIDOW CLICQUOT: THE STORY OF A CHAMPAGNE EMPIRE AND THE WOMAN WHO RULED IT. For those of us who aren't French-fluent, "veuve" is French for "widow". Throughout, the author pulls out the few facts that are available about the woman who [...]

    16. Widow Clicquot--The Story of a Champagne Empire and The Woman Who Ruled ItTilar J. MazzeoI read Mazzeo's other book, The Hotel at Place Vendome: Life,Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris and couldn't put it down. It was more compelling than this story of one woman who held on to the champagne business for decades. Let's face it. Grapes don't have much personality but rooms can talk--a slip across a bed tells a story with 2 glasses of champagne nearby.The Widow Clicquot, known as Barbe- [...]

    17. I give this a 3.5 stars. This is the story of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, who grew the small family winery into the international giant of Viuve Clicquot after her husband died in 1804. This is the story of: a) a woman pioneer in international business who ended up as ‘a robber baron’ herself in the 1880s; b) the discovery, development and fine-tuning of champagne as a celebrated wine for celebrations; and c) cultural (and slight political) history of Europe from the Jacobins through Napoleon Bon [...]

    18. Once I got past the large amount of speculation on the personal details, and focused on the parts of the story that were grounded in fact, I found this an interesting biography of someone I'm not sure I had ever heard of. Since I'm not a frequent drinker of champagne, the name Clicquot had no specific meaning to me. The parts I found most interesting were around her managing a business in a time when women were very nearly forbidden to do such a thing, but also how she failed to provide the same [...]

    19. This book really provided a great insight into a woman who is still considered one of the greatest business and entrepreneurs of all time. To understand the challenges and passion and also a Lot of history background as well.

    20. I read this book as inspiration prior to a holiday champagne-tasting party. It's not bad as an accessible starter book on the history of champagne making in that region, but ultimately the perspective is too narrow to provide a full picture of the transition that was happening in the history of wine during that time. I am now reading Making Sense of Wine by Matt Kramer and so far it's filling in some of the blanks that this book left behind.

    21. The sound of a cork popping from a bottle of sparkling wine is one of my favorite sounds in the world. It means it's time to celebrate, even if that celebration is as small as coming home from a long day at work and cooking something lovely for dinner.The Widow Clicquot deserves her own celebration for being such a total badass. She went against the cultural norms of her time and took extreme risks to ensure her business succeeded and that the world recognized and loved her champagnes. Her succe [...]

    22. The subject (the life of the widow Clicquot, famous Champagne entepreuneur) is interesting and the english quite easy to understand even for a non native speaker. In particular, the part regarding the hard times widow Clicquot faces during the Napoleonic Empire catches the reader attention and makes him genuinely wonder how she is going to resolve the situation. Unkuckily there is one fatal flaw in this book: it is a matter of fact that not much has remained to the present to understand the priv [...]

    23. This book was fairly well written and flowed nicely for most of the book. There were a few strange parts where it seemed as if the author or the editor lost her train of thought and let the narrative get away.I thought the story was a very interesting juxtaposition of the history of France, the history of Champagne, and the history of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot. The three pieces were woven together nicely and the context and interplay of time period really drove the story.The trickiest part of the bo [...]

    24. I must say that this book was well researched, and generally quite an easy read for non-fiction. The story of the Widow Clicquot is a fascinating one; as a woman, one could only truly wield power as a widow in the early 1800's, and Barb-Nicole Cliquot did just that as she built one of the greatest Champagne houses in the world. In addition, she was a pioneer in the champagne-making process, and a risk taker in an era when risks were often disastrous. The only problem is - - -why, oh why, do non- [...]

    25. Unfortunately, I have to report that I merely "read" this book, because I gave up halfway through.I think I would have been more engaged in the story of the Widow Clicquot if the book had been written as historical fiction. Instead, it's written as a biography. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of facts known about Mrs. Clicquot--barely any of her correspondence was kept, for example--so the author resorts to phrases like "she may have. . ." or comparing her life to what other women in time peri [...]

    26. I stumbled across this book looking for a cocktail recipe book and had to buy it. Champagne is my beverage of choice and Veuve Cliquot is high on my list of favorites. I'm ashamed to admit I had no idea "Veuve" meant widow and the champagne house and the champagne itself is named after an extraordinary woman. Not much archival material remains despite all of the Widow Cliquot's accomplishments so there is a lot of speculation but I still found it a fascinating history of champagne, France and Th [...]

    27. After reading other reviews I would be curious to go back and reread parts of the book. There were complaints about the amount the author used Perhaps and speculated about what Veuve Clicquot might have thought. Since it was explained at the outset that no diaries and little other source material exists to understand what Veuve Clicquot was thinking, it didn't bother me at the time.I was fascinated by what a brilliant businesswoman she was and how many things she invented/created, from improved [...]

    28. Fascinating biography of the woman behind the iconic yellow-labelled champagne. As much a story of the development of champagne itself and the fledgling industry as it is about the woman herself, it highlights the paucity of documentation of women's lives at that time. At times I felt the narrative suffered from walking a fine line between being an academic work and a more populist read, but overall I was very interested in the book, and learnt so much from it. We conducted our book club discuss [...]

    29. In the interest of my upcoming European trip where I will be taking a tour in the Champagne, this book sounded like the perfect way to brush up on some history of the area. This book is very interesting & well written. I enjoyed learning about the widow Clicquot & about the history of sparkling wine in general. I found the subject matter fascinating & would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to learn some little known history about this great woman.

    30. I love historical fiction and champagne, so I thought this book would be awesome for me. Not so much. It wasn't all that long, but it still took some work to make it to the end. In the author's defense, there apparently is not much information about her subject, but the way she kept saying "perhaps Barbe-Nicole " just drove me nuts. How do other authors in this genre keep from doing that? I'll have to pay more attention in the next one I read.

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