Philipponnat Clos des Goisses – an update

Some of you may remember that late last year I tasted through the range from Champagne Philipponnat with Charles Philipponnat. I was hugely impressed and enjoyed it very much, but sadly their top wine, the Clos des Goisses, was out of condition.

Well, yesterday I was able to try it again and to renew my acquaintance with this great single vineyard chamapagne.

I could tell you all about the vineyard, but let’s hear from Charles himself

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 1999

The pinnacle of the Philipponnat range, this is a single vineyard wine from the 5.5 hectare Clos des Goisses in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ (click here to see a map), which Pierre Philipponnat purchased in 1935.

The vineyard is very steep and faces due South giving excellent exposure, allowing for very ripe grapes to be produced. So favourable are the conditions that they can make a vintage wine from this vineyard in every harvest.

According to the back label the blend was 65% Pinot Noir together with 35% Chardonnay, although other sources say 70% and 30%.

30% is barrel fermented for complexity.

Dosage is just 4.5 grams per litre.

Disgorged in March 2007.

My tasting note:

Pale gold with lemon tints, very bright (even in bad light).

The nose was yeasty and flakey pastry and brioche-like with notes of ozone and an intense minerality.

The palate was above all elegant and poised with a tight mineral structure and a feel of finesse to it. The wine was currently quite tight with just a delicate richness promising what will come with some more bottle age, right now it is about the minerality and a certain salty twang together with a little touch of oak spice just shimmering in the background.

The palate was very dry, the dosage is low, with a lovely rich textured mouth-feel showing how ripe the fruit was from this superb site and excellent year. This texture follows through on to the long, long finish together with buttery and nutty flourishes.

I really liked this champagne, it is complex and interesting and fine with the character of a great wine rather than a sparkling wine – I felt that it really needed to accompany a meal in order to really show its worth and I kept getting visions of grilled dover sole while I was trying it – 95 points.

More information is available on the Champagne Philipponnat website.

Stockist information is available from Champagne Philipponnat’s UK agent: Les Caves de Pyrene

Philipponnat – a fine Champagne house

Charles Philipponnat was in town the other day and I could not resist the opportunity to try some of his Champagnes.

The Philipponnat family have been growing grapes and making wines in Champagne since 1522. They were originally based in in Aÿ, but Auguste and Pierre Philipponnat moved to nearby Mareuil-sur-Aÿ in 1910, where the Philipponnat Champagne house is still based in the beautiful Château de Mareuil.

Philipponnat has long been a favourite producer of mine, indeed I used to sell their Champagnes when I was a wine merchant, but most of the time I seldom get the chance to try them.

I was delighted therefore that Charles presented a range of six of his cuvées – the bulk of his range. This gave me true insight into the Philipponnat style and demonstrated what elegant and un-showy wines they are. Continue reading