The house of Philipponnat has a long history in Champagne. It also has the most coveted single vineyard in the region, the Clos des Goisses, from which they produce a vintage prestige cuvee. Once again under family management, Philipponnat produces excellent, distinctive wines that are continually evolving.
13 Rue de Pont, Mareuil-sur-Ay. +33 3 26 56 93 00
The Philipponnat wines are fresh yet full, intense and layered. The base year, dosage and disgorgement date are all listed on the labels.
Philipponnat Royale Reserve Brut
Pinot Noir dominant (typically around 65%), blended with Chardonnay (30%) and Meunier (5%), mainly from Grand and Premier Cru vineyards. The reserve wines are aged in solera and account for 20-30% of the blend. Aged on the lees for 3 years. The dosage is 8g/L.
Philipponnat Royale Reserve Non Dose
Approximately 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier, mainly from Grand and Premier Cru vineyards. Only the first pressing is used. The wine goes through partial malolactic fermentation. The reserve wines are aged in solera and account for 20-30% of the blend. The wine is aged for 3-4 years and has zero dosage.
Philipponnat Royale Reserve Rose
Around 70% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier from mainly Grand and Premier Cru vineyards. This wine is similar to the Royale Reserve Brut with the addition of 7-8% of still red wine, made from Pinot Noir grapes from Mareuil-sur-Ay and Riceys. Partial malolactic fermentation. Some of the wine is matured in casks for complexity. The wine is aged for 3 years and has dosage of 9g/L.
Philipponnat Blanc de Noirs Vintage
100% Pinot Noir from exclusively Grand and Premier Cru vineyards in the Montagne de Reims and Mareuil-sur-Ay. In 2012, Philipponnat announced that it would stop producing its Reserve Millesime vintage cuvee (blended from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) in favour of this Blanc de Noirs vintage wine. Only the first pressing is used. Partial malolactic fermentation occurs. Vinification takes place in a mix of vats and wooden barrels, with partial malolactic only for the wines vinified in vat. Aged for 5-7 years for maximum complexity. Low dosage of around 4g/L.
Philipponnat Blanc de Blancs, Grand Blanc
100% Chardonnay exclusively from Grand and Premier Cru vineyards, including some fruit from the Clos des Goisses. Only the first pressing is used. Partially fermented in oak barrels. Fractional malolactic fermentation. Aged on the fine lees for a minimum of 5-7 years, with a low dosage of 4-5g/L.
Philipponnat Sublime Reserve Vintage
100% Chardonnay from Grand and Premier Cru vineyards. A Blanc de Blancs designed to be served with haute cuisine. Fermented in vats and in oak barrels, with fractional malolactic fermentation for the portion vinified in vats. This wine ages on the fine lees for 6-8 years. This is a sec style with a dosage of 30g/L.
Philipponnat Reserve Millesimee
Approximately 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. A vintage wine fermented partially in oak barrels with only fractional malolactic fermentation. Aged on the fine lees for at least 6 years and with a low dosage of 4-5g/L. This wine is no longer produced, and with the 2008 release the house has moved to a Blanc de Noir vintage cuvee.
Philipponnat Cuvee 1522
Approximately 70% Pinot Noir from the Le Leon vineyard in Ay, and 30% Chardonnay from Le Mesnil. This wine celebrates the date the Philipponnat family settled in the village of Ay. A vintage champagne, the grapes come from the house’s best vineyards. Partially fermented in barrel, this wine ages for 6-8 years and has a dosage of 4g/L.
Philipponnat Cuvee 1522 Rose
First made in 2000, this rose is similar to the Cuvee 1522, with the addition of around 8% of still red wine from Pinot Noir grown in Mareuil-sur-Ay. The Pinot Noir still wine gives the cuvee a soft fruitiness and touch of spice that is not found in the classic version. Around 50% vinified in oak barrels. Aged for 6-8 years, the dosage is 4g/L.
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses
A vintage wine, composed of 65-70% Pinot Noir and 30-35% Chardonnay from the top-quality monopole Clos de Goisses in Mareuil-sur-Ay. In the family since 1935, this walled vineyard is unique in Champagne due to its precipitous south-facing slopes. The wine does not go through malolactic fermentation and ages mostly in casks, in the cellar for up to eleven years. In sunny years it is a very powerful wine. The dosage is a very low 4g/L. It is also available in a non-dose version.
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Juste Rose
First produced in 1999, this is similar to the Clos des Goisses with the addition of a small amount of still Pinot Noir. The wine ages in the cellar for up to eleven years and has a dosage of 4g/L.
Philipponnat ‘Les Cintres’
First produced from the 2006 vintage, with 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Future plans are for a 100% Pinot Noir version, but it is not planned to release it every year. The name ‘Les Cintres’ translates as ‘the arches’. This wine comes from a small section of parcels in the very heart of the Clos des Goisses, by an old stone arch. It is extremely limited in quantity (2,065 bottles for the 2006). Dosage of 4g/L.
Philipponnat ‘Le Leon’
100% Grand Cru Pinot Noir. A single-plot Blanc de Noirs vintage wine with grapes from the house’s ‘Le Leon’ vineyard in Ay. The high proportion of chalk soil gives distinctively spicy notes to the expression of Pinot Noir. Around 45% vinified in oak barrels. Aged for a minimum of 7 years. Dosage of 4g/L.
100% Premier Cru Pinot Noir. A single-village Blanc de Noirs vintage wine. The fruit comes from several estate-owned plots in Mareuil-sur-Ay including Valofroy, Les Cotes, Montin, Carriere d’Athis and Croix Blanche. Around 50% vinified in oak barrels. Aged for a minimum of 7 years. Dosage of 4g/L.
The Philipponnat family has deep roots in Mareuil-sur-Ay where they have been growing vines since 1522. It was Pierre Philipponnat who established the house in 1910, and in 1935 he purchased the piece of land that is prized above all others in the region – a walled vineyard of 5.5 hectares of pure chalk soil, the Clos des Goisses. The word ‘goisse’ comes from the old Champagne dialect and refers to a very steep slope. The vineyard is situated on a 45 degree south-facing slope, which means the vines benefit from ideal ripening conditions.
In the 1970s, the house fell out of family control, and in 1987 it was purchased by the drinks company, Marie-Brizzard. A decade later, it was sold again, this time to Bruno Paillard and the Lanson-BCC group who still own it today. In 1999, Charles Philipponnat was asked to run the house, a role he happily accepted, and since the appointment he has continued to improve the quality of the wines. Since 2006, Charles has been assisted by chef de cave Thierry Garnier.
They own 17 hectares of vineyards, and cultivate another 2 under a long-term arrangement. 11 hectares are located in Mareuil-sur-Ay, including the piece de resistance, the Clos des Goisses. The others are in the villages of Ay, Avenay Val d’Or and Mutigny.
The vineyards are farmed using the principles of ‘lutte raisonnee’, the French term for the philosophy of using natural treatments wherever possible to look after the vines and vineyards, and only using chemicals in the most extreme situations.
For years the wines were fermented in stainless steel tanks or old, large wooden ‘foudres’, but this changed in the 2000 vintage when 40-50% of the Clos de Goisses cuvee was vinified in 228-litre oak barrels. Barrel fermentation has been introduced for other wines as well, and is gradually increasing across the range. They have found that the tannins from the wood of the barrels bring stability to the wine, and help prevent oxidation. Most of the barrels used are second- or third-fill, but a small proportion of barrels are new. These new barrels are made specifically to avoid giving any toasty flavours to the wine, as the staves are soaked in water prior to toasting.
Partial malolactic fermentation takes place in most of the wines, depending on the vintage, with the exception of the Clos des Goisses which never goes through malo. Dosage is generally on the low side, typically around 5-8g/L.