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Champagnes Philipponnat

beautiful athletes coached masterfully!

We are in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, southeast of the Montagne de Reims, where Pierre Philipponnat
acquired the famous Clos des Goisses in 1935. However, the history of the House
dates back to 1522 when the King of France granted some lands in Aÿ to April de Philipponnat.


Nowadays, Charles Philipponnat, the descendant, has been the president of this prestigious House for 23 years. It owns 8 hectares in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, including 5.5 hectares occupied by the Clos des Goisses, and 20 hectares in Premier and Grand Cru spread over Aÿ, all certified HVE-VDC.

We join Charles at the foot of the Clos des Goisses under a beautiful, cloud-filled sky that accentuates the contrast of warm autumn colors. He invites us to climb to the top of the plots. We reach it through small, narrow stone stairs bordered by low walls. It feels like being in Burgundy with its climates. The 45% slope is felt in the calves. Charles talks about this meritorious viticulture, similar to mountain practices. Here, the workers receive a bonus! The chalky and limestone soils give the Pinot Noir a powerful, structured character, yet also a lot of freshness, thanks to the chalk's mineral nature. That's what Charles Philipponnat is looking for.

From the beginning, he has chosen a clear guideline: the primacy of Pinot Noir, temperature control, absence of malolactic fermentation and stirring, barrel vinification, long ageing, addition of reserve wines, and the solera principle. The result? Champagnes that express the intensity of fruit, power, freshness, and lightness. No heaviness, no fat, only muscle, taste, and brilliance. True athletes!

Antoine Juillard, Raimonds Tomsons, Charles Philipponnat et Pierre-Louis Martin.

After admiring the view of the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne, we return to continue the discussion, at the table, as it should be, to appreciate several cuvées, accompanied by dishes whose simplicity and authenticity perfectly match these terroir wines.

Raimonds appreciates the Brut Réserve Non Dosé, “it's a beautiful example of zero dosage. Maturity and time spent on lees are needed for this complexity”. The Léon 2014, a 100% Pinot Noir, soon to be launched on the market, delights Raimonds with its spicy notes. Another 100% Pinot Noir, Les Cintres 2012, excites him with “its purity and creaminess”. The freshness of the 1522 Extra Brut Grand Cru 2003 is still impressive. The Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut 2009 pairs perfectly with cheese, and we delight in the Reserve Millésimée 1979 with a fresh fruit crepe.

The House of Philipponnat will continue to shine on the tables of fine restaurants and among good wine merchants, sensitive to the power of pure and simple emotions. “After all, we're just putting wine in our bottles!” says Charles. It's so much more ... Attention to sommeliers who want to delight epicureans! 

Florence Corbalan



Raimonds Tomsons reviews

Le Léon 2014

Color: clear and star bright with a pale golden color. Very light coppery sheen, fine and energetic bubbles.

Nose: open and aromatic nose with beautiful purity of ripe yellow fruits like pear, uince and white-fleshed peach. After aeration, it shows yellow blossom hint of apricot marmalade and a savoury scent of wet chalk. Very fine creaminess underneath.

Palate: bone dry, with bright mouthwatering acidity and a cooler texture, bit more austere and saline showing clean crisp citrus, white-fleshed stone fruits. Very clean and precise, reflecting the character of the 2014 vintage. Fine texture and creamy bubble, light toast on the finish.

Comment: a fresh vintage reflecting the mineral character.

Pairing: perfectly supports fresh and raw seafood dishes, sashimi and oysters to underline that saline mineral character.

Les Cintres Extra Brut 2012

Color: star bright with a light golden color and light copper sheen. Bubbles are very small.

Nose: intense, bright and charming nose, with a pure stone fruit and apricot marmalade-like aromas, giving a slightly sweet scent. Hints of fresh butter, fine smoke and toast coming from the ageing. Generous nose but with impeccable purity.

Palate: generous and wealthy built with great intensity of fruit and flavour, supported by great freshness. Midpalate shows precision and tension with flesh and density surrounding complemented by hints of nuts, toast and butter on the after taste. Very fine and creamy bubbles adding a fine texture.

Comment: great for long term ageing.

Pairing: in combination with richer style cuisine like foie gras on a brioche toast, dry spice and apricot chutney.