RICHARD ON PHILIPPONNAT
The family has been at Mareuil since 1522 and this domain was established in 1910 by Pierre Philipponnat. In 1935 he bought the jewel in the company’s crown, the 5.5-hectare vineyard, Clos des Goisses. In 1987 Philipponnat became part of the Marie-Brizard group, and at present the domain is included in Bruno Paillard’s block. They purchase 75 per cent of the grapes from very highly ranked vineyards (97 per cent, on average), with the remaining quarter coming from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. Nowadays the firm is run with a purposeful hand by the friendly and unassuming Charles Philipponnat. He manages the excellent grapes in a praiseworthy manner. The wines share his charm and personality. All of them are intensely fruity, with a characteristically youthful tone of gooseberry in the nose. Only the first pressing is used by Philipponnat, since they have Abel Lepitre as their second label. 50% of the vintage wines are fermented in oak nowadays.
CLOS de GOISSSES
Clos des Goisses is consistently one of the world’s foremost wines. They still use a small number of oak barrels, even if certain vintages, like the ’89, are completely vinified in steel tanks. This champagne is a real slow starter that should preferably be decanted if it is going to be drunk before its twentieth birthday. The unique slope beside the canal at Mareuil-sur-Aÿ is planted with 70 per cent Pinot Noir and 30 per cent Chardonnay. I recently held a complete vertical tasting of this personal wine. The champagnes were amongst the most ravishing I have tasted. Most impressive was an invaluable magnum from 1955. The 2000 is one of the milestones of the vintage. In certain years a rare – though not very exciting – still red variety is made from the batch. Even rarer, and definitely more exciting, are the 200 bottles of still Chardonnay that Philipponnat makes every year for their own use. In my opinion it is Champagne’s foremost still white wine. The four stars are all totally thanks to Clos des Goisses.
Karl Ljung, landed earlier during the day after have been in Lyon vitnessing the Boucuse d’Or 2013. Swedish chef Adam Dalhgren did well on 6th palce. Allthoug he probably wanted more, after 6 months of focus and world class preparations.
In the tasting all the bottles were decanted.
Aperitif – PHILIPPONNAT ‘NON DOSÉ ROYALE RÉSERVE’
45PN 25PM 30CH
TASTINGNOTE ‘A paradoxical wine in which the pear-scented fruitiness is insanely intensive, like a Billecart Brut in the 80s. At the same time the finish is dry and completely unexpected with its aromatically sweet profile. I am a bit split, but I am sure that many will think that the balance is significantly better than I experience it as being.’
plate no1 – Bleak roe, blini, lemoncrème
2005 PHILIPPONNAT ‘GRAND BLANC’
TASTINGNOTE ‘Bold, buttery and generous house style in a very public style. Hardly something I will invest in and put down in my own cellar. But nice drinking now.’
plate no2 -cheese fondue, winter truffles
2004 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CUVÉE 1522’
TASTINGNOTE ‘The wine itself is very good. The taste is full of honey and mint caramel. Rich and luxurious.’
2000 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CUVÉE 1522’
TASTINGNOTE ‘A satisfying champagne of the old-fashionedly lovely kind, with a touch of barrel tone. An aroma of liquorice, sauna wood, dark chocolate and vegetables. Full-bodied and beautifully apple-dry with a fine mineral tone. Reminiscent of Jacquesson in style. Aÿ from the Leon location along with Cramant and Mesnil and 50% oak barrels.’
plate no3 – terrine of foie gras, figs, brioche
2003 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CLOS des GOISSES’
TASTINGNOTE ‘One of the greatest Champagnes of the vintage. A real giant. Rich exotic character that fits the vineyard well. Reminds a lot about the hot 2000.’
plate no4 – Risotto, svamp
2002 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CLOS des GOISSES’
TASTINGNOTE ‘Misleadingly soft and inviting with lavish sweet fruit and creaminess. Beneath the surface is a walnut note and deep chocolaty indulgence and tobacco seriousness.’
2001 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CLOS des GOISSES’
TASTINGNOTE ‘Probably best champagne of the vintage with a nutty deep and clear green terroir. A wine that shows how unique this habitat really is. Will survive the competition this year. 2013 fully ripe with a buttery, nutty and toffee ripeness like a great white Burgundy from 1992.’
plate no5 – PIggvar, saffran, curry, alger
2000 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CLOS des GOISSES’
TASTINGNOTE ‘I remember so well when I had a wonderful experience among the vines in the middle of the slope this year. Dark color and much more masculine than ’99 strangely. Concentrated and a little old-fashioned. Impressive power.’
1999 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CLOS des GOISSES’
TASTINGNOTE ‘An unusually mellow, toffee-filled, polished style right from the start, thanks to the mellow, sweet charm of this vintage. Slightly smoky and nutty with light citrus and lime blossom tones. Full-bodied, compact and promisingly long, and very pleasurable drinking at once.
plate no6 – Kalv-entrécôte pochrad i kyckling buljong (utan stekyta), Puylinser
1998 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CLOS des GOISSES’
TASTINGNOTE ‘An unusually straightforward and charming Goisses that seduces with its perfect harmony and layers of intensive, sleekly mellow almond aroma in both bouquet and flavour. This is of course its strongest feature, but toasting, walnut essence, floweriness and impressive elegance are also already there from the start. Reminds one to some degree of the 86 at the same age. Now in a difficult phase.’
1996 PHILIPPONNAT ‘CLOS des GOISSES’
TASTINGNOTE ‘50% foudre nowadays. Very old bollinger barrels: the scent of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and dark chocolate. Still clean and vibrant freshness. So young and structured. While still soft and tangy. Majestic length and elasticity. Dry and a little tough today, but a big Goisses for those that are around when it reaches its peak! Already more creamy and inviting although some bottles smell of hyacinth and are in imbalance.’
This dinner tasting really shows that Clos des Goisses is a shy Champagne for starters, but with time it’s showing the whole spectra of a truly great terroir.