Size & Type
Disgorged in June 2020 with eight grams per liter dosage, the latest release of Philipponnat’s NV Brut Royale Réserve is based on the 2016 vintage, with 27% reserve wines. Offering up aromas of peach, pear and plum mingled with apple blossom and sweet pastry, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and expressive, with a pillowy mousse and a generous core of fruit, underpinned by bright acids.
Available on back-order
65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier. First press juice of mainly Grand and Premier Crus grapes from the heart of the Champagne wine-growing area. 20 to 30% of reserve wines are aged in wooden barrels using the solera system to incorporate older wines without losing freshness.
Vinified using traditional methods to avoid premature oxidation. Partial malolactic fermentation and reserve wines aged in casks to allow the aromas to develop complexity. Moderate dosage (8 g/litre) to maintain a balance between freshness, fruitiness and vinosity without masking the wine’s character and purity.
Aged on the lees in the House’s cellars at a constant temperature of 12°C for three years, far longer than the legal minimum requirement of 15 months.
Philipponnat is one of the last houses to be run by a member of its founding family. And Charles Philipponnat is a true Champenois, descended from winemakers, cellarmasters and growers dating back nearly 600 years.
Champagne is in Charles’ blood, which helps to explain Philipponnat’s recent resurgence. Twenty years ago, the house was known largely for one wine: the iconic Clos des Goisses, which in the 1930s became the region’s first important single-vineyard Champagne.
But under Charles, Philipponnat has created a whole portfolio of great wines. These range from two of Champagne’s finest non-vintage bruts—Royale Réserve and Reserve Rosé—to an expanding number of exceptional Champagnes de terroir. And, of course, the offerings culminate in the towering Clos des Goisses. These make for a portfolio that is, as Peter Liem has written, “one of the finest in Champagne.”
Charles was born to make Champagne. His family grew grapes here as early as 1522, and his father René was chef de caves at Moët from 1949 to 1977—responsible for 1961 Dom Pérignon among other legends.
“This has been one of my favorite Champagne sources for many years.”
Since taking over in 1999, Charles has returned Philipponnat to its last Golden Age, 1913-1962, when Louis Boland was chef de caves. Boland’s wines were the essence of Pinot Noir from the house’s vineyards in the Montagne de Reims. Charles’ Champagnes also fully exploit these prized vineyards, and the resulting wines revel in their Pinot-infused glory.
For this offer these words are relevant for the 2009 ‘La Rémissonne’ and the 2008 ‘Les Cintres’ made from parcels, Lieux Dits, within the Clos des Goisses.
I made sparkling wine in Australia and Champagne in France. The first time you put 100,000 bottles away for their second fermentation is an experience of elation and trepidation in one. Until that second fermentation is finished you live on the knife’s edge of having stuffed up years of work or created that sparkle we all love!
Then comes the next set of decision: How do I store these bottles? How long do I wait before riddling them? How long will I leave them in contact with the lees (dead yeast from the second ferment)?
Philopponnat’s L.V. range is certainly pushing the envelope. With wines on lees for decades. Producers like Provost prefer absolute minimum time on lees believing the expression of the terroir will be diminished by time on lees. Personally I call what’s in the glass. Some of the most profound experience I’ve had involved Late Disgorged wines.
The pic below left shows champagne Sur Lie with maximum area of lees to wine contact. The pic on the right shows wines that have been shifted to being Sur Pointe (on point) for extend maturation. This shifts the lees into the neck of the bottle reducing the surface area of lees exposed to the wine and slowing the development of autolysis characters from the break down of yeast.
The environment in the bottle with all oxygen consumed by the yeast, 6.5 bar of pressure from a wine saturated with CO2, and, the reductive nature of the yeast lees, keeps the wine fresh. As time passes the wines harmonise, offering more depth of the mid-palate and build additional layers of complexity, the become seamless.
I’ve been lucky enough to bottle several vintages of sparkling wine, I still have magnums from the 1999 vintage on lease, and, uncovered a forget stash of bottles from 1998 just a week ago.
I love hand riddling these and disgorging them to drink immediately without dosage or resealing. The present such incredible freshness and pleasure!
Philipponnat’s 20 hectares of vines, situated at the heart of the Champagne wine-growing area in Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Avenay, are classified Premier and Grand Cru. Philipponat works to preserve these precious and fragile, centuries-old terroirs, by using natural methods to work the soil, hoeing by hand and ploughing with horses. THe Hous has found the best possible way to renew its traditions while perpetuating the best they have to offer. Emphasis is pout on conservation and meeting challenges to unceasingly improve the quality of the wines.
Clos des Goisses is a parcel of 11 Lieux Dits. Gois or Goisse meaning very steep gives us the first clue to the site. Yes it is very steep running at 45º. Facing due south the pure chalk slope receives sun for the full day. The warmth of the Clos des Goisses typically offers higher potential alcohol for the fruit, and, powerfull intense wines.
Philipponnat, has vineyards in Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Avenay.
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For an in-depth history of the vineyard and its wines, along with a summary of the wine growing and winemaking, please see the link below.
Disgorged in June 2020 with eight grams per liter dosage, the latest release of Philipponnat's NV Brut Royale Réserve is based on the 2016 vintage, with 27% reserve wines. Offering up aromas of peach, pear and plum mingled with apple blossom and sweet pastry, it's medium to full-bodied, fleshy and expressive, with a pillowy mousse and a generous core of fruit, underpinned by bright acids.
Where in the world does the magic happen?
Champagne Philipponnat, Rue du Pont, Mareuil-sur-Ay, France